Budget changes

Board of Directors approves financial decisions for the next school year

This past January, the CESJDS Board of Directors and administration approved budget reallocations and tuition increases across all divisions for the 2023-2024 school year.

While in the past, tuition has increased between 2-3% every year, the coming year will have an increase of 3.5-6.5% depending on the division of the school. Additionally, after an evaluation of the school’s needs, multiple faculty positions have been eliminated as the budget will be allocated to support the projected enrollment.

Each year, the school’s Budget and Finance Committee, headed by Treasurer of the Board of Directors Justin Epner, crafts the budget. The committee is composed of board members and other volunteers, most of whom have experience in finance. The committee proposes the budget in the January of the prior school year, and, after much discussion, the budget receives approval from the Board of Directors.

According to Epner, the budget evolves each year. Money is always reallocated, but some years, the changes are more noticeable than others.

“Every year there are areas where there’s increased spending and areas where there is decreased spending,” Epner said. “That’s the nature of having a school community where certain grades are bigger and certain grades are smaller.”

This year, there have been faculty position eliminations to adjust to the needs of the student body. Head of School Rabbi Mitch Malkus did not comment on which or how many roles have been eliminated for privacy purposes.

Another significant part of the upcoming financial changes is the tuition increase. According to Malkus, the tuition increase for the coming year can be mostly attributed to inflation. Recently, inflation in the U.S. has been astronomically high with 7% in 2021 and 6.5% in 2020. With more costly programming and staff, the school must increase tuition.

Outgoing Director of Enrollment and Tuition Assistance Orna Siegel said that although the tuition has increased, the tuition assistance program received a proportionate amount of budgeting this year to maintain accessibility.

“The real goal and mission of the school, to serve as many students as possible, has really lived out in our budget,” Siegel said. “It’s a lot of money, particularly when you have more than one child. So we have the tuition assistance program to try and serve as many families as possible and try to make the education available to them.”

Epner and Siegel said the quality of education is associated with price, and people must keep this in mind when considering the school’s tuition increases. Richard Stern, parent of sophomore Aviva Stern, understands this sentiment when looking at the tuition increase at the school.

“Of course we wish [the tuition of the school] was lower, but we understand what the school requires…however, I could imagine that for other families it could be very difficult,” Stern said.

With every budget adjustment or increase in tuition, JDS puts thought into the final decision, according to Epner. When making choices, the Board of Directors, volunteers and administration all strive to promote the values of the school.

“JDS offers a world-class educational product. Offering a world-class product is always going to be very expensive,” Epner said. “So what we all try to do is to make sure that the maximum number of people can benefit from that product because it’s a really excellent product.”