Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa Jewish Community School’s high school to close


Due to declining enrolment and rising costs, the Ottawa Jewish Community School’s high school is being phased out.

Aaron Smith, president of the OJCS board of directors, says the private high school is not financiall­y viable because not enough families are choosing to send their kids to Grades 9 through 12.

In an email exchange, Smith confirmed the school will not be accepting students for Grades 9 and 10 this fall, but the school will ensure existing Grade 10 and 11 students are able to finish their high school studies.

“Enrolment in the high school has suffered for many years,” Smith said. “While a small group of exceptiona­lly committed parents have made the decision to send their children to the high school, the number is too small to be sustainabl­e.”

This high school year has 24 students enrolled and next year the projected number was 20 students.

The Ottawa Jewish Community School (OJCS), at 31 Nadolny Sachs Private in the city’s west end, consists of Hillel elementary and Yitzhak Rabin high school in the same building. While high school enrolment has suffered, Smith said the elementary school is stable and will continue running. It currently has 192 students enrolled from senior kindergart­en through to Grade 8.

Smith says the organizati­on is dealing with a long-term financial issue and the school requires a minimum of $250,000 annually for the deficit alone. For every incoming Grade 9 class, he says it requires an “additional million dollars plus” to see them through to graduation.

It comes down to the fact that the high school is losing too much money.

According to the OJCS website, tuition at the private school ranges from $8,280 to $14,405, depending on the grade and the number of children from one family who attend the school.

Supplement­ary programs for high school age students will be explored with consultati­on from the community.

“I’m heartbroke­n for the students that this is the direction we have to take,” said Smith. “It comes down to the fact that the high school is losing too much money, and it is putting our entire OJCS school at risk.”

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