In response to Steven Burg’s opinion piece, “Don’t Make Summer Programs ‘Luxury Items’” (March 4), please don’t contribute to making yeshiva day school into a luxury we can no longer afford.
Scholarships to yeshiva day schools are paid for largely by increasing the tuition for full-paying parents, to the tune of several thousand dollars per student. Since this contribution to the scholarship fund is involuntary, it is made with after-tax money, like the rest of the tuition payments.
Many of us who are uncomfortable asking for charity must make sacrifices to be able to afford tuition, which is now nearing $18,000 all-in for first grade and $30,000 for high school. If people want to donate money to fund scholarships for summer programs, that is their choice. But by allowing scholarship recipients to spend the money they get in tuition reduction on various summer programs, some of which cost as much as $8,000, schools would be effectively forcing us to fund those programs, even if we cannot afford to send our own children.
Finally, suggesting that if high school students don’t go on expensive summer programs, they will be at home doing unthinkable things on the Internet is simply nonsense and a scare tactic. What about getting a job or volunteering in the summer? Let’s hope that for $30,000, our yeshiva high schools can allow our children to “connect to Jewish texts and traditions in an experiential, exciting way,” and parents who can’t afford both day school and summer programs can teach their children an important financial lesson that will be invaluable later in life.