Families who enroll their children in the early childhood program at Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Monmouth County won’t have to pay a cent in tuition for the first three months of the 2013-14 school year. There won’t even be an enrollment fee.
The 90-day tuition holiday begins in September and applies to both new and returning students in the nursery school, pre-K, and kindergarten classes; the deadline for signing up is Tuesday, April 30.
“We believe that the cost of a Jewish school education should never be an excuse for not getting a Jewish school education,” said head of school Yoti Yarhi. “At Solomon Schechter, we are always going to give as much as we can to help people who want to be a part of our community.”
Parents of children currently attending SSDS were the first to be informed of the offer, and, Yarhi reported, “They are very happy about the news.” Ordinarily, tuition costs between $7,800 and $9,600 for a year of early childhood education at the Marlboro school.
SSDS is promoting the offer through word of mouth as well as an aggressive campaign that includes e-mail, social media, and print advertising.
Yarhi declined to give an estimate of how many students may take advantage of the free tuition plan since there are still “weeks to go before the deadline is reached.”
She described the principal goal behind the offer as giving “the gift of a Solomon Schechter education” to as many children as possible. “While early childhood attendance may be expected to rise, this is not just about filling seats,” she said.
The Schechter school currently serves about 200 students ranging from toddlers to eighth grade. Approximately 50 are being accommodated in the new Early Childhood Wing, which was officially dedicated late last year.
Now in its 34th year, SSDS serves children from nursery school to eighth grade, emphasizing what Yarhi called “academic excellence and enrichment in both general and Judaic studies.”
The curriculum features science, math, technology, and writing alongside an integrated curriculum for Hebrew language, Jewish traditions, and Israeli culture. Yarhi said she is particularly proud of the “highly successful” Kindergarten Dual-Language Immersion Program, as well as a new Mommy & Me offering, for adults with babies from six to 24 months old.
In October the school unveiled its plan to add a four-year high school, to be housed in a new wing adjacent to the existing facility.
The project calls for a full-size gymnasium/auditorium, a full-service kitchen and cafeteria, plus new locker rooms and bathrooms. There will also be a 4,000-square-foot sanctuary with seating for 200 and 50 extra parking spaces. SSDS co-treasurer Joe Macnow estimated the total cost at between $7 million and $9 million.