Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership convened a meeting for yeshivos and day schools in the Five Towns and Far Rockaway to discuss practical ways to save money by cutting energy and utility spending. The meeting, which took place at Yeshiva Ketana of Long Island, is one in a series of workshops on school affordability designed by the institute in cooperation with the YU Center for the Jewish Future.Sixteen yeshivos and day schools in the Five Towns and Far Rockaway heard presentations from Long Island Power Authority, National Grid, and other energy consultants on incentives for energy efficiency, renewable energy, and rate classification and analysis. “Based on market research, we estimate the potential savings for the local schools in the area of energy and utilities to be near $750,000, and even more depending on investment,” said Eli Shapiro, regional coordinator of the YU National School Affordability Team.
Participants also learned about a grant opportunity where up to three Long Island schools will receive in-depth consultations involving detailed financial analysis, operational reviews, and scenario modeling by experienced YU consultants to help identify affordability enhancement strategies.
The feedback from school administrators was extremely positive, with many planning to follow through on the savings opportunities presented to them. “The program was an impressive demonstration and provides schools with the practical information and guidance they need in this time of economic crisis,” said Rabbi Elimelech Gottlieb of UJA-Federation of New York.
“Perhaps more impressive than the potential savings is the fact that nearly every yeshiva and day school in the Five Towns and Rockaways is working together toward the same goal. This sort of cooperation is something that is rarely seen with such a diverse group of people,” Mr. Shapiro noted.
The institute’s work on school affordability focuses on developing research-based methods and programs to ensure the long-term viability and vitality of day schools and yeshivas in Jewish communities around the nation. “In keeping with the idea of ‘act local, think global,’ Yeshiva University is currently working on identifying other communities around the United States and Canada [in which] to offer these types of programs,” said Dr. Scott J. Goldberg, director of the institute, who is spearheading this effort. “Our experiences on Long Island and in other communities are informing our recommendations for schools and communities nationally,” added Goldberg. “We need to ensure that providing our children with a quality Jewish education remains a priority for our community.”
Rabbi Shalom Siegfried, director of development at Yeshiva Ketana, expressed great appreciation for YU’s efforts. “This affordability effort is a lifesaver for the schools, particularly in these challenging economic times,” he said. “I can’t thank them enough for their leadership on this critical issue.”
In recognition of the significance of this event, representatives from the offices of Governor David A. Paterson and Senator Charles Schumer, as well as the AviChai Foundation and UJA-Federation of New York attended the gathering.