A Historic First Arbitration Board Backed by Beth Din Will Aid Hebrew Day School Teachers in Job Dis
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A Historic First Arbitration Board Backed by Beth Din Will Aid Hebrew Day School Teachers in Job Dis

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For the first time in the history of the Hebrew day school movement, an arbitration board, backed by a rabbinical court (Beth Din) will be available to day school teachers in disputes over salaries and working conditions during the new school year, an official of Torah Umesorah, the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools, disclosed today.

Rabbi Bernard Goldenberg, director of organization for Torah Umesorah, told the JTA that the arbitration board proposal had been approved by the National Conference of Yeshiva Principals a Torah Umesorah affiliate, and by the Rabbinical Administrative Board of Torah Umesorah. He said the arbitration board will be headed by Rabbi Simon Schwab of New York, a prominent Orthodox scholar. The board will meet in the offices of Torah Umesorah.

Rabbi Goldenberg said the arbitration board, comprised of school principals, rabbis and lay leaders, will seek to arbitrate disputes between school boards and teachers over issues of tenure, security, salaries and similar problems.


When such a dispute is brought to the arbitration board, Rabbi Goldenberg said, the parties will be advised to settle it between themselves. If that procedure fails, the teacher can bring he matter back to the board for arbitration. Though the arbitration ruling is not binding on the school board, a refusal by the board will result in a hearing and a ruling by the board’s Beth Din, which will carry “tremendous moral pressure,” Rabbi Goldenberg said.

In addition, he added. Torah Umesorah will have the additional weapon of refusing to provide teachers to an obdurate school board. Rabbi Goldenberg disclosed formation of the arbitration board during a review of the financial situation of the day school movement on the eve of the start of the new school year, which he said had worsened severely under the impact of inflationary pressures on all costs of the schools.


Reviewing the problems facing the Hebrew day schools in the New York metropolitan area, Rabbi Goldenberg said that annual tuition rates for the 1974-75 year had jumped 10 to 15 percent, bringing the range of tuition to $700 to $800. Out side of New York, he said, the increase was higher, with the average annual tuition fee ranging between 3800 and $1000.

He explained that the increase was higher outside of New York, due in part to the smaller proportionate enrollment in day schools, with a consequent greater cost per pupil. In New York, he said, about half of the 100,000 children getting a Jewish education are enrolled in day schools.

Rabbi Goldenberg said the increased financial burden imposed by spiraling inflationary raises were being borne largely by parents and teachers. He said except for a few localities, aid from Jewish Federations fell far short of the needs of the day schools and that in the Greater New York metropolitan area. Federation aid was a “pittance.” He said that, for the immediate future, the services of the new arbitration board, while available to day schools outside the New York metropolitan area, will not be offered to afternoon Jewish schools.

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