Tackling Tuition in Arizona

Written by Editor on . Posted in Letters to Editor

I saw your article about tuition in Baltimore in eJewish Philanthropy [Kol HaBirah’s article “Tackling Tuition: The Case of Baltimore” was republished by eJewish Philanthropy on August 11, 2017]. I want to alert you to Phoenix, Arizona, where I live. Arizona is the one state in the country where the day school tuition crisis can be considered “solved.” We have a very large number of tax credit scholarship opportunities as well as Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, and families here pay less than one-third of what they would pay in any other city. I am an administrator at Torah Day School of Phoenix, and this year we gave refunds to over 10 families, who received tax credit scholarship dollars way in excess of the published tuition.

Unfortunately, Phoenix does not have a high proportion of its Jewish children enrolled in day school; in that way it is a  very under-developed community. There are about 750 children enrolled across seven days schools - it is not nearly enough. In that way, solving the tuition crisis has not had a substantial impact on enrollment. In the orthodox schools, we suffer from competition with larger communities- even though our schools are much, much cheaper, families will move to bigger, more developed communities and leave Phoenix behind. In the non-orthodox world, the school suffer from competition with charter schools, which are free (as opposed to just being cheaper).

 Gaby Friedman

Phoenix, Arizona