Saving Schools Millions

Harry Bloom

Institute for University-School Partnership Spearheads New Efficiency Effort Among Jewish Day Schools

In response to a crisis of affordability sweeping through the day school world, a new effort to have schools practice greater efficiency has resulted in savings of tens of millions of dollars for nearly 40 Jewish day schools across the nation.

Harry Bloom

Harry Bloom is leading the benchmarking effort among Jewish day schools.

But while the new “benchmarking” process spearheaded by Yeshiva University’s Institute for University-School Partnership is expected to free up funds for scholarships, don’t expect to see dramatic drops in tuition itself.

Rather, the “foundational” goal of benchmarking, according to Harry Bloom, the YU School Partnership’s director of planning and performance improvement, is not tuition reduction per se, but “making schools sustainable while delivering quality education” and making day schools “accessible to the entire Jewish community, including to the middle income families who often are hard pressed and not always well served by current financial aid processes.”

While common in the corporate world, benchmarking — a process in which institutions measure their performance against that of their peers, in order to identify cost-saving and revenue-enhancing opportunities — is a new arrival in the Jewish day school world, whose myriad financial challenges include a “tuition crisis.”

Eight Bergen County schools have gone through a round of benchmarking under the guidance of YU, and according to Samuel Moed, chairman of Jewish Education for Generations in Northern New Jersey, the process has already saved a combined $2.5 million.

Currently working with 30 additional schools (Orthodox, Conservative and pluralistic) in Philadelphia, Baltimore, Chicago and Cleveland, the YU School Partnership and the Avi Chai Foundation, the project’s lead funder, hope ultimately to bring benchmarking to at least 200 day schools in 30 communities, including ones in New York City and its suburbs.

Bloom estimates that benchmarking and the strategic planning that follows is on track to achieve combined savings of at least $22.5 million — approximately 10 percent of operating budgets — over three years in the five communities in which it is being implemented so far. Read full article at The New York Jewish Week

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