Need Day School Transparency


In the article “Day Schools Save Millions in New Efficiency Effort” (Jan. 13), the author highlights how new “benchmarking” efforts have “resulted in substantial savings of tens of millions of dollars for nearly 40 Jewish day schools across the nation,” hardly an insignificant sum, even in the context of academic finances.

Moreover, the director of the initiative is quoted as estimating that the current benchmarking effort is on track to save schools a staggering 10 percent of their operating budget over a three-year period among schools where the program is being implemented.

Yet after millions of dollars have likely been exhausted executing these efforts and corresponding millions saved by schools heeding the recommendations, financially strapped parents will fail to witness any relief in tuition sticker shock. The above savings will purportedly be utilized to increase the size of the scholarship fund as well as for “educational improvements.”

In an era of blatant corporate malfeasance where the public demands transparency and tangible bottom-line results, why do we consistently settle for less amongst the hallowed walls of our yeshivas? Would we be similarly content in our professional posts if we were fed such vague and obscure implementation? Similarly, throughout the recession when endowments were down, why did we not question the decision of most schools to raise tuition when in prior years, schools witnessed an increase in the endowment due to an expanding economy and stock market gains?

A common societal refrain is that “ignorance is bliss.” I think most would agree that this would be a notable exception to the rule.