Back to School: New center a clearinghouse for day school affordability models

Two national Jewish organizations have joined forces to establish the Jewish Day School Affordability Knowledge Center — a clearinghouse devoted to researching, analyzing and circulating knowledge and noteworthy practices about existing tuition-affordability programs and methodologies. The center is a joint effort of the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) and Orthodox Union (OU).

“Communities and day schools seek innovative and effective ways to address tuition affordability. The Jewish Day School Affordability Knowledge Center reflects PEJE’s belief that knowledge and resources reside in practices at the local level,” said PEJE executive director Amy Katz.

The new center, based in PEJE’s Boston offices, will serve as a repository for a comprehensive body of information about Jewish day school affordability initiatives, so communities nationwide can have access to information and replicable models.

The center director is Charles Cohen, a strategic planner with experience building relationships between and among day schools, synagogues and central education agencies. Cohen recently served as planning manager for Jewish continuity at the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh, where he worked with local day schools on the “Free Tuition for Transfer Students” program.

Nathan J. Diament, the OU’s executive director of public policy, said tackling the issue of Jewish day school affordability is “a top priority for the Jewish day school community, and thus for the Orthodox Union.”

“While we are working to address the issue in a variety of ways, there has been no ‘central address’ for collecting, analyzing and disseminating information.” The center, he said, should “fill this critical gap.”