Jewish high school in Vaughan set to close

Stu­dents at Ta­nen­baumCHAT north cam­pus are not giv­ing up with­out a fight

Richmond Hill Post - - News - by Court­ney Green­berg

We ac­tu­ally re­ally feel over­all it’s a pos­i­tive de­ci­sion.”

A pe­ti­tion started by a stu­dent has gar­nered hun­dreds of sig­na­tures in an ef­fort to save a pri­vate Jewish high school in Vaughan. But the Ta­nen­baumCHAT Kimel Fam­ily Ed­u­ca­tion Cen­tre (TCK), lo­cated at 9600 Bathurst St., is still set to close on June 23 due to low en­rol­ment.

On March 6, the school’s board of di­rec­tors an­nounced to stu­dents, staff and par­ents that, as a re­sult of the clo­sure, the north cam­pus would be merg­ing with TCK’s Wal­len­berg south cam­pus in North York.

“The ef­fect of low en­rol­ment is twofold. Num­ber one is a fi­nan­cial ef­fect: that is just you don’t have the rev­enue, you can’t sup­port it. Num­ber two is the vi­a­bil­ity of the pro­gram,” said pres­i­dent of the school’s board of di­rec­tors Ray Ru­bin.

Stu­dents and teach­ers said they felt the de­ci­sion was made too hastily and with­out their con­sid­er­a­tion.

“Un­til [the an­nounce­ment], no­body even knew who was on the board, so it shows they didn’t com­mu­ni­cate with the school at all,” said Grade 11 stu­dent Mai Be­na­haron.

“I live right next to [TCK], so it’s go­ing to be a re­ally big com­mute get­ting down there [to the other cam­pus],” added Be­na­haron.

This year, 386 stu­dents from Grades 9 to 12 who live north of Stee­les Av­enue were en­rolled at TCK. More than a hun­dred of those stu­dents are set to grad­u­ate in June. For the fol­low­ing school year, around 315 TCK stu­dents who live north of Stee­les Av­enue are ex­pected to be en­rolled at the Wal­len­berg cam­pus.

The tu­ition will drop from the cur­rent $27,300 to $18,000 in 20172018 af­ter two ma­jor do­na­tions were made to the school.

“We ac­tu­ally feel over­all it’s a pos­i­tive de­ci­sion,” said Ru­bin, adding that the plan to have the com­mu­nity buy down the cost of a Jewish day school is an “in­no­va­tive way to make Jewish ed­u­ca­tion more ac­ces­si­ble.”

How­ever, Be­na­haron’s mother, Michelle, said, de­spite the lower tu­ition next year, fam­i­lies like hers have been mak­ing sac­ri­fices to give their chil­dren a Jewish ed­u­ca­tion.

“The fact that [the school] moved south and fi­nally some­body sub­si­dized it a lit­tle bit, locked the tu­ition for five years … where were you 10 years ago?”

Ru­bin said the de­ci­sion to close the school is fi­nal de­spite stu­dents’ ef­forts of start­ing a pe­ti­tion try­ing to save TCK’s north cam­pus.

Grade 11 stu­dent Mai Be­na­haron in front of Ta­nen­baumCHAT north cam­pus

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