Needs and Responses

Day Schools

Needs

Operating Online, Rather Than in Person

  • Challenges of transitioning from on-site to online learning: the need for equipment/technology infrastructure/IT support for teachers and students, particularly low-income students; new training for teachers
  • Not all programs/services can be offered online. Quality of service negatively impacted.

Personnel Issues

  • Some schools already have had to lay off staff.
  • Many teachers/staff distracted by child-care needs.
  • Potential for health issues to make teachers/staff unavailable or in need of sick days.

Special Needs of Small and Already Vulnerable Day Schools

As the Jewish Federation of North America (JFNA) notes in a March 25 document on Business Continuity Issues for Major Jewish Communal Networks, “the roughly 300 schools in the Prizmah network (non-Haredi schools) divide into three roughly equal segments – large, intermediate, and small schools. The large schools that have significant resources and access to donors who are very connected to the schools are likely to weather the storm. Most at risk are small schools in small Jewish communities that have few cash reserves and excess capacity. The middle pool of schools will vary in their ability to manage…. It is worth noting that there are a significant number of small day schools that have been teetering before this crisis and will likely fail during the current situation. There are between 15-25 schools (5-8% of their network) that Prizmah has identified as being in more significant distress.”

Expected Declines in Enrollment and Tuition Revenues

  • In the Short Term: According to JFNA, “In the immediate term, because schools are so deep into their year, they have most of their tuition revenue collected. But there are some families on payment plans and this income is at risk.” In addition, some families may request refunds for ancillary fees that won’t be delivered, such as for meals and after-school programs. And there is a further risk, likely to surface after Passover, if not before,  that families will ask for refunds on tuition due to a reduced educational offering online.
  • In the Coming Year:  According to JFNA, “Their bigger challenges come in projecting how much enrollment they may lose and also how much greater a scholarship burden may come from families that remain….Prizmah is estimating an enrollment drop of at least 5 percent in its network, experienced unevenly – less in Modern Orthodox day schools; more in non-Orthodox schools, paralleling recent trends. Taking the total net tuition across the network and factoring for both lost enrollment and lower net tuition payments by parents (as economic challenges spur more families to apply for financial aid), Prizmah estimates about $230M in additional funding needs driven by enrollment and scholarship factors.”

Expected Decline in Fundraising Revenues

  • Many day schools depend on revenue from spring fundraisers, which are being cancelled.
  • The fundraising field is becoming more competitive as immediate coronavirus human service needs take priority, and the economic downturn means less philanthropic money is available.
  • JFNA reports that fundraising typically represents 14 percent of a school’s revenue.

For more on the challenges facing Jewish day schools, see Prizmah’s March 25 webinar: “Financial and Legal Issues Facing Day Schools in Light of COVID-19”

Responses

JFNA suggests that day schools “may be decent candidates for business continuity loans to help them weather the short-term situation as a new program year may provide sources of repayment through tuition and fundraising revenues, and they may have access to unique donor relationships that can ultimately help with repayment.”

Some federations are offering emergency funding to Jewish day schools in their communities to pay for remote learning needs.

On April 20, the Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) launched the more than $80 million Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund (JCRIF), supported by a seven foundations, including the Aviv Foundation, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Foundation, the Jim Joseph Foundation, Maimonides Fund, the Paul E. Singer Foundation, and the Wilf Family Foundation, which will operate in coordination with the JFNA. The invite-only program will be divided in two, with a loan program based at the Nonprofit Finance Fund, providing payroll and basic operational assistance for non-profits in the coming months. JCRF’s focus is to maintain the infrastructure of Jewish life that advances Jewish education, engagement and leadership.

Resources

Tech-Savvy Faith-Based Groups Thrive in Pandemic, Widening a Fundraising Digital Divide

Description - News Article

Source - Inside Philanthropy
June 26

Day Schools and Covid-19 (Part 3)

Day Schools and Covid-19 (Part 3)

Source - JFN webinar
June 22

Amid the Pandemic, Jewish Day Schools Survive (And Even Thrive)

Description - Article

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
June 21

A ‘Super Fund’ Aims to Keep Jewish Nonprofit World From Sinking

Description - News article

Source - New York Jewish Week
June 2

Coronavirus Aid for Jewish Day Schools Caught up in DeVos Debate

Description - News article

Source - The Forward
June 1

Leading Our Jewish Day Schools in the Shadows of Covid-19: An Unprecedented Leadership Challenge

Description - Op-Ed

Source - eJewish Philanthropy
May 27

Day School and Covid-19, Part 2

Day School and Covid-19, Part 2

Source - JFN webinar
May 19

Pandemic Pressures Mount on Jewish Day Schools

Description - News Article

Source - New York Jewish Week
May 13

Introducing the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund

Introducing the Jewish Community Response and Impact Fund

Source - JFN webinar
May 11

The Biggest Jewish Coronavirus Relief Fund Will Soon Start Giving Out Loans

Description - News article

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 12

Jewish Day Schools Get Creative as They Eye Uncertain Financial Future

Description - Article (sponsored by Prizmah)

Source - Jewish Telegraphic Agency
May 7

$9 Million in Emergency Funding for Jewish Life Projects

Source - UJA-Federation of New York
April 23

Day Schools and COVID-19

Day Schools and COVID-19

Source - JFN Webinar
April 6

Day School Resources During COVID-19

Description - Resource page

Source - Prizmah

Jewish Education Resource Page

Description - Curated resources

Source - Jewish Education Project

Frequently Asked Financial Questions (for Day Schools) in the Time of COVID-19

Description - FAQ

Source - Prizmah

Unpacked for Educators

Description - Online Jewish learning sessions

Source - Open Dor

Remote Learning Resources Page

Description - Curated resources

Source - Center for Israel Education

Protocols for Safeguarding Children and Teens in Online Communications

Source - Aleinu

Coronavirus and the Jewish Community: Responses from the Field (First in an Ongoing Series)

Coronavirus and the Jewish Community: Responses from the Field (First in an Ongoing Series)

Description - JFN Webinar
March 18

Nonprofit Funding Proposals

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