Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Educating Donation Free?

As noted here, on Orthonomics, and on Baltimore Jewish yesterday, one of the major problems that is and will continue to face the Jewish community is that the schools rely too heavily on donations to stay afloat. The obvious suggestion everyone has made is to decrease this reliance and make schools less vulnerable to market downturns which impact donations. The real question, however, is if this is actually possible.

It seems we don't really know. Yes, many schools have much wasteful spending and are poor at budgeting, and that must be fixed first. Tuition standards need to be established and kept to. Much can and must be done to make it as economically viable as possible... but once that is all done, if there still is an inability to cover costs, what can be done?

The real question is: Is it truly economically viable - in any Orthodox community - to support and maintain a school within its own budget? Does anyone know of a school whose revenues outside of donations exceed its expenses? If so, let's see it! If not... what must the approach be? Store away the donations in good years to make up the gap in other years, like the Yosef/Pharaoh analogy a commenter said yesterday? Is that realistic? What changes are possible within the frum community to make it possible to keep a school afloat on its own?