‘Unprecedented’ day school program

‘Unprecedented’ day school program

In “Day schools struggle to balance needs of families, budget shortfalls” (May 7), there was a brief mention, toward the end, of a program offered by Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ’s Day School Initiative. As vice chair of the Day School Advisory Council, I would like to ensure that the readers of NJJN understand the magnitude and impact of this unprecedented program.

As stated in the article, our federation “swung into action and raised emergency funding in the course of a few weeks to provide some speedy relief through a series of one-time grants to families with outstanding tuition bills. It distributed a total of $272,000 to 177 families who attend the local day schools, with each family receiving a grant of up to $2,000 to cover gaps in tuition.” (The numbers are currently more than $275,000 to 180 families.)

What the article failed to highlight is that our federation has worked tirelessly over the past few years to develop a uniquely strong and productive partnership with the four day schools in our community, and to create a collaborative environment among the schools themselves. With this strong foundation, federation professionals and lay leaders, in tandem with day school leadership, immediately anticipated the critical needs of the schools and their families and quickly crafted a program that would help to alleviate families’ financial stress.

This program was never imagined as a panacea, solving all the problems caused by the Covid-19 crisis, but it has sent a lifeline and taken the edge off the financial burden of families. As one family wrote in a thank you to the Day School Initiative, “We chose our neighborhood based on the amazing schools and incredible Jewish community. Since we moved to Greater MetroWest we were fortunate to be able pay full tuition for our children to attend Jewish Day School. As many others, we were unexpectedly impacted by salary loss due to Covid-19. We put many payments on hold as we weather this situation and feel such relief to know that part of our tuition payment has been covered. This grant has helped us financially, but also reaffirms our commitment to our community going forward. We feel privileged to live here, in a community that truly values our Jewish future.”

I am so proud to be part of an organization that cares so deeply about our community and about Jewish day school education. And I’m proud to be part of the Greater MetroWest Jewish community, where members support on another through both good and challenging times.

Steven Levy
Vice chair, Day School Advisory Council

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