Children at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School prepare for a schoolwide bake sale in 2022. Hausner is one of three Palo Alto schools offering tuition discounts to their staff and to employees at Jewish nonprofits. (Photo/Courtesy Hausner)
Children at Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School prepare for a schoolwide bake sale in 2022. Hausner is one of three Palo Alto schools offering tuition discounts to their staff and to employees at Jewish nonprofits. (Photo/Courtesy Hausner)

3 Palo Alto Jewish schools to offer tuition discounts to staff

Three Silicon Valley Jewish schools in Palo Alto have announced they are offering generous tuition discounts to school employees and local Jewish nonprofits as a way to make a Jewish education more accessible.

Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School, Kehillah Jewish High School and the early childhood education program at the Oshman Family JCC are collaborating to offer their full-time staff members a 40% discount on tuition at any of the three schools. They will also offer a 30% discount to full-time employees of local Jewish nonprofits.

The employee tuition discount program is a first for the schools and will begin in August 2024.

“We want to create an opportunity to support and encourage folks who are working in these institutions to send their kids to get a quality Jewish education,” said Rabbi Daniel Lehmann, head of school at Hausner. 

The JCC offers programs for children 18 months through 5 years, Hausner offers transitional kindergarten through eighth grade, and Kehillah is a 9-12 high school. 

“It’s really motivated by the desire to expand opportunities for Jewish education among Jewish communal professionals,” said Lehmann. He said another goal is to expand the sense of connectedness across the three Jewish schools as students grow.

According to Prizmah: Center for Jewish Day Schools, a network for Jewish day schools and yeshivas across North America, there are about three dozen schools across the U.S. and Canada that offer similar tuition discounts. Full-time Jewish communal professionals are often low-income earners. Nationwide, 37% of educators at Jewish day schools and 89% in early childhood education earn under $50,000.   

The average private-school tuition in California, according to Private School Review, is $16,719. Early childhood education at OFJCC costs around $29,000 per year for children 2 and older; K-8 tuition at Hausner ranges from $37,300 to $40,600, and at Kehillah full tuition is $57,475, placing it among the top 20 most expensive schools in the state, according to Private School Review.

“I think a lot of families don’t consider schools like Kehillah because of the sticker price,” said Dave Weiner, director of admissions and enrollment management. “We want it to be accessible for kids who may not be from families with the highest incomes in Silicon Valley.”

A 40% discount could mean a tuition break of as much as $23,000 per year, depending on the school’s full price.

Although the number of families seeking the discount won’t be known until the application period closes, OFJCC Chief People Officer Sally Porush says the three schools are prepared to offer the tuition break to all full-time employees who apply; the JCC has about 250. The cost will be factored into each organization’s operating budget.

“Unfortunately, many people working in nonprofits can’t necessarily afford the tuition at a private school,” said Porush. “We are so fortunate here to have a strong Jewish community and a strong community of Jewish communal workers, and the chance for employees’ families to have the opportunity to take their kids through private Jewish educational facilities. This will really enable people to provide that for their children.”

The employee tuition discount covers only the academic school year, not camps or extracurriculars, and does not guarantee admission. Applications for the upcoming school year at Hausner and Kehillah are open through the end of the month and for the OFJCC preschool through March.

Lea Loeb
(Photo/Aaron Levy-Wolins)
Lea Loeb

Lea Loeb is engagement reporter at J. She previously served as editorial assistant.