By Kollel Guy
During these difficult economic times, yeshivos and schools are feeling the pain of having no money and are doing everything they can to raise sorely needed funds. In other words, that translates to them being tougher on tuition collection.
But nothing can excuse the behavior of one Bais Yaakov administrator. In the course of discussing tuition for one family whose father learns full time in kollel, the negotiations were getting intense. The administrator told the father, “It’s time for you to leave kollel, get a job, and pay tuition just like anyone else.”
Although the administrator is under an unbearable burden of managing the budget, we have to examine carefully what he said. He legitimately feels that all parents should do their utmost to pay for their share in their child’s tuition. However, a school’s success is largely dependent on the makeup of the parents who choose to send to that school. Kollel families generally are of a higher caliber and raise the overall standard of the school.
Schools need fathers who learn in kollel just as they need families who are well off. The wealthy families, who could afford to send their children just about anywhere, will send to the school they perceive as being the best. “Best schools” are not created in a vacuum. They requires good teachers and attentive yet unintrusive management, but the most meaningful element is dependent on the makeup of the families who send their children to that school. Kollel families tend to have higher standards of chinuch, don’t allow their children to do things the schools don’t want them to do (going to ball games, watch TV, use internet, etc.).
Another huge plus that kollel families offer is that they don’t cause jealousy with the other kids by going to fancy hotels for Pesach and midwinter vacations to Florida.
Kollel families may not be able to pay the tuition he wants, but he still needs to appreciate the value that they add to his school.