Currently, day schools operate 180 school days for approximately 8-10 hours per day per year. Ben Porat Yosef of Paramus, NJ, proposes that a greater benefit exists for the community at large, were day schools to offer additional programs in their buildings during non-school hours. Income from such programming would help offset schools’ costs and enable them to offset the rising cost of tuition.
BPY created a low-cost day camp alternative that operates on the school’s campus two months per year, when school is not in session. Without any formal marketing initiatives, the camp has grown from initial enrollment of 32 campers for the summer of 2009 to 165 campers in the summer of 2011.
Recently, the school booked and hosted brit milah and bar mitzvah celebrations, as well as a community-wide OU parenting program. The building is equipped with an indoor and outdoor play area, a gym, toys, a party room and sports equipment; with some new, upgraded equipment such as the climbing wall and bounce houses, BPY could become a birthday party central. They also plan to market to event planners.
Keeping day school costs flat and/or reducing expenses for running a day school can be offset by maximizing building usage. BPY’s findings indicate that establishing these ongoing programs generates an increase in awareness of the availability of its facility; upgrading equipment and materials, and producing foot traffic would create ongoing revenue to help meet the expenses associated with running a high quality day school – without needing to increase tuition.
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