Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Toronto, Canada - Two Jewish Schools Owe $1 Million in Back Rent

Published on: March 2, 2009 08:28 AM
By: The Star
Change text size Text Size  
Bookmark and Share

Toronto, Canada - Two Orthodox Jewish schools that rent Toronto school board property owe back rent of nearly $1 million between them.

John Campbell, chair of the Toronto District School Board, said they reached a deal about 10 years ago under which the two groups would pay off the backlog when they bought the buildings.

But twice, he said, the groups have had “cash flow problems” and were unable to complete the purchase.

During that time, Sheila Cary-Meagher, school trustee for Beaches-East York, watched the figures rise. She said “private little schools” tend to be unreliable tenants.
“Three-quarters of a million bucks in back rent. How crazy is that?” she asked.

The unpaid rent highlights the awkward situation faced by the Toronto board, which seeks to gain profit from its properties without evicting private organizations serving those communities.
Both organizations are Orthodox Jewish day schools for boys.

Yeshiva Yesodei Hatorah, which rents out Glen Rush Public School near Bathurst St. and Lawrence Ave. W., owes $701,700 in back rent to the board. Yeshiva Bnei Tzion of Bobov owes $251,190 on Champlain Public School, near Bathurst and Wilson Ave.

Campbell said the board prefers not to evict tenants when they are providing a service to a community, but did not rule out evicting non-paying organizations.

Advertisement:

“Although we’re prepared to be compassionate and fair with our tenants, that does not mean they should feel they are in a position to take advantage of us.”

A man at Yeshiva Bnei Tzion, who refused to give his name but identified himself as the director, said the organization has always had trouble making rent. Donors are hesitant to cover operating expenses because they see them as unglamorous, he said. Donors, he added, like plaques.

When asked how an organization that cannot pay its own rent can afford to buy the building that houses it as well as cover more than $250,000 in back rent, he replied: “It’s hard to meet the rent but it’s not hard to buy a building. ... All donors love giving money to bricks and mortar.”

Rabbi Asher Bornstein at Yeshiva Yesodei Hatorah was hesitant to speak in detail about the deal. “There has been a lot of negotiations going on for years ... it’s almost over,” he said.

Campbell conceded these two properties are failing to make money when they should, and that property values have decreased almost 15 percent since the original deal. He said interest lost on the payments is inconsequential.

Under the agreement, the two tenants’ rent arrears would be added to the actual cost of the buildings in the eventual sale. Campbell, said the schools have given assurances they would be able to fundraise to purchase the buildings outright in the future.

The schools would have to raise money to cover rent they were unable to afford previously and to pay for the buildings’ actual costs, which the board would not release, in the middle of an international financial crisis and recession.


More of today's headlines

Review of the show by www.jewishmusicreport.com  New York - From the moment you walk up to Madison Square Garden you see that it’s a whole different level then... Paris - The Rabbinical Center of Europe's Rabbinical Authority will host a conference of more than 300 European rabbis in Paris on Monday, amid growing concern over the...

 

Total16

Read Comments (16)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Mar 02, 2009 at 08:14 AM Anonymous Says:

Bobov in toronto has been plagued with money tzaros for many years. They do amazing work, though!!

2

 Mar 02, 2009 at 08:18 AM Anonymous Says:

When yiddeshe organizations stiff the taxpayers for money they are obligated to pay, it only reinforces the negative stereotypes that already exist. They should rasise the tuition or impose a special one time charge on the parents to pay off their debt to the school district. It would be better for these students to enroll in other schools and consolidate the facilities. The same problem here in the U.S. Every rebbe and group of parents wants to be rosh yeshiva or some group of parents have a broigas with other parents and start their own school. We cannot afford this any more, whether it be Toronto, Brooklyn or Lakewood. There should be mandatory consolidation coordinated by the yiddeshe community councils or vaad harrabonim. Those who don't agree, should be cut off from further funding from the community and left to sink or swim on their own. Enough money wasted on beauacracy. Even the Catholic Church is closing down about 20 percent of its parochial schools.

3

 Mar 02, 2009 at 08:23 AM Anonymous Says:

have grandchildren there it is a great place to be affiliated with. yom tov in bobov in toronto is just tam gan eiden

4

 Mar 02, 2009 at 08:37 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

have grandchildren there it is a great place to be affiliated with. yom tov in bobov in toronto is just tam gan eiden

If its such a "gan eiden" than make a contribution to pay the rent...why should Toronto taxpayers foot the bill for your naches.

5

 Mar 02, 2009 at 09:06 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

When yiddeshe organizations stiff the taxpayers for money they are obligated to pay, it only reinforces the negative stereotypes that already exist. They should rasise the tuition or impose a special one time charge on the parents to pay off their debt to the school district. It would be better for these students to enroll in other schools and consolidate the facilities. The same problem here in the U.S. Every rebbe and group of parents wants to be rosh yeshiva or some group of parents have a broigas with other parents and start their own school. We cannot afford this any more, whether it be Toronto, Brooklyn or Lakewood. There should be mandatory consolidation coordinated by the yiddeshe community councils or vaad harrabonim. Those who don't agree, should be cut off from further funding from the community and left to sink or swim on their own. Enough money wasted on beauacracy. Even the Catholic Church is closing down about 20 percent of its parochial schools.

I agree with you on principle. But it happens to be unlike BP and Lakewood where there are many little schools, that these are 2 very large schools that both fill a need! Having one huge school with thousands of students is not the answer!

6

 Mar 02, 2009 at 10:19 AM Toronto Alumni Says:

A little on the educational system in Canada... They fund public AND CATHOLIC schools, but not any other religious schools... not textbooks, not food, not buses.. For years I took TTC bus to and from school with my siblings... my parents paying the fares for years with no government reimbursement. They receive NO funding so thats where the argument starts... that is definitely not separation of church and state.. if they are funding catholic schools...the yeshivos are trying to use their debt as an arbitrayal tool.

7

 Mar 02, 2009 at 11:51 AM Anonymous Says:

The Toronto/Gaza Star. Makes the NY Times look like a Radical Right Wing newspaper.

8

 Mar 02, 2009 at 11:42 AM Dave Says:

Reply to #6  
Toronto Alumni Says:

A little on the educational system in Canada... They fund public AND CATHOLIC schools, but not any other religious schools... not textbooks, not food, not buses.. For years I took TTC bus to and from school with my siblings... my parents paying the fares for years with no government reimbursement. They receive NO funding so thats where the argument starts... that is definitely not separation of church and state.. if they are funding catholic schools...the yeshivos are trying to use their debt as an arbitrayal tool.

It actually varies depending on the province in Canada.

But yes, in Toronto, there are publically funded secular schools, and publically funded Catholic schools, but no others. This has been litigated in Canda, but the Canadian Courts have held that as it is specifically enshrined in the Canadian Constitution, it is not illegal.

9

 Mar 02, 2009 at 12:23 PM From T.O. Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

When yiddeshe organizations stiff the taxpayers for money they are obligated to pay, it only reinforces the negative stereotypes that already exist. They should rasise the tuition or impose a special one time charge on the parents to pay off their debt to the school district. It would be better for these students to enroll in other schools and consolidate the facilities. The same problem here in the U.S. Every rebbe and group of parents wants to be rosh yeshiva or some group of parents have a broigas with other parents and start their own school. We cannot afford this any more, whether it be Toronto, Brooklyn or Lakewood. There should be mandatory consolidation coordinated by the yiddeshe community councils or vaad harrabonim. Those who don't agree, should be cut off from further funding from the community and left to sink or swim on their own. Enough money wasted on beauacracy. Even the Catholic Church is closing down about 20 percent of its parochial schools.

You make some valid points but you are unaware of the Toronto school scene. While there probably are some schools in Toronto that would save money by merging, these are not those schools. The growing Bobov community wants its own cheder, while Yesodei has been around for 40+ years and has its own derech halimud. Unlike many schools in the New York area, none of the schools in Toronto are privately owned and run operations. They all depend on tuitions and the largesse of their supporters to break even.
The UJA federation of Toronto also supports many of the Jewish schools from community money raised annually, but schools under that umbrella have to follow certain criteria to qualify for community funding. Neither Bobov nor Yesodei follows such criteria, so there is no community funding to cut them off from.
These schools relied for many years on the contributions of a few well off families. As the schools grew in size and the economy has now shrunk, some of these families are unable to come up with ready cash that is necessary to keep the schools running. As the schools also cater to the "frummer" section of Toronto Orthodoxy, many of the parent body are themselves mechanchim or kollel people who can barely afford any tuition. These schools are among those that have difficulty paying salaries as well.
There is no clear moral to the story, except for one thing. Toronto has been known for years as a place for mosdos of other cities, in Eretz Yisrael, Europe and the U.S., to come to collect funds. We have B"H some very generous people. However, it is time fot our gevirim to stop sending our local money out of town and increase support for our own mosdos hatorah, even if it won't give them a kavod boost. Tell the yeshivas in Lakewood, Chicago, New York and elsewhere to collect from their own communities. Our local mechanchim can't feed their children with plaques. It is a disgrace, and now, a public chilul Hashem.

10

 Mar 02, 2009 at 02:48 PM Shikker Says:

Whenever a Rebbe comes to Toronto, every one has gelt to shell out. Millions upon millions of dollars leave the city every year and the schools don't have 2 cents to rub together. "DAAS TORAH" says to keep the money in town, but people only listen to "DAAS TORAH" when it makes a big tumult like the concert.

12

 Mar 02, 2009 at 06:42 PM T.O Chaver Says:

Reply to #10  
Shikker Says:

Whenever a Rebbe comes to Toronto, every one has gelt to shell out. Millions upon millions of dollars leave the city every year and the schools don't have 2 cents to rub together. "DAAS TORAH" says to keep the money in town, but people only listen to "DAAS TORAH" when it makes a big tumult like the concert.

I agree. I see many meshulachim a week . I would prefer that the money stay in town . Shkoach to Rabbi Bornstein for all his work.

13

 Mar 02, 2009 at 07:14 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #10  
Shikker Says:

Whenever a Rebbe comes to Toronto, every one has gelt to shell out. Millions upon millions of dollars leave the city every year and the schools don't have 2 cents to rub together. "DAAS TORAH" says to keep the money in town, but people only listen to "DAAS TORAH" when it makes a big tumult like the concert.

even then they dont listen to daas Torah, they just make fun of it.

14

 Mar 02, 2009 at 09:40 PM Two Wrongs Says:

Reply to #6  
Toronto Alumni Says:

A little on the educational system in Canada... They fund public AND CATHOLIC schools, but not any other religious schools... not textbooks, not food, not buses.. For years I took TTC bus to and from school with my siblings... my parents paying the fares for years with no government reimbursement. They receive NO funding so thats where the argument starts... that is definitely not separation of church and state.. if they are funding catholic schools...the yeshivos are trying to use their debt as an arbitrayal tool.

So the government is stiffing the Jewish community by providing funding for the Catholics and not us. Therefore we steal from them?
Two wrongs will not make a right. In fact, it will just set us further back in the battle to be treated equally, when people can point to us and say 'They are crooks, why should we fund them?'
Blaming the newspaper that reported the story seems ridiculous as well, as no one seems to be denying or even doubting the veracity of the report!
Indeed, the answer may be for Toronto gevirim to stop supporting the rest of the world when they are part of a community that is earning such a horrible reputation in their own government circles with such staggering debt loads.

15

 Mar 03, 2009 at 07:36 AM Tax-paying frum person Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

have grandchildren there it is a great place to be affiliated with. yom tov in bobov in toronto is just tam gan eiden

Nice, very nice. But while we are here and not actually in Gan Eden, we still have to pay rent.

16

 Mar 03, 2009 at 03:18 PM Milhouse Says:

Reply to #14  
Two Wrongs Says:

So the government is stiffing the Jewish community by providing funding for the Catholics and not us. Therefore we steal from them?
Two wrongs will not make a right. In fact, it will just set us further back in the battle to be treated equally, when people can point to us and say 'They are crooks, why should we fund them?'
Blaming the newspaper that reported the story seems ridiculous as well, as no one seems to be denying or even doubting the veracity of the report!
Indeed, the answer may be for Toronto gevirim to stop supporting the rest of the world when they are part of a community that is earning such a horrible reputation in their own government circles with such staggering debt loads.

It's not stealing, it's getting our own back. Why should we pay taxes to fund other people's schools?

17

 Mar 03, 2009 at 04:13 PM Anonymous Says:

reply to 15 all he saying they are nice and ehliche people so they deserve a little bit benifit of doubt and not always believe the media. they have poor track record reporting facts

18

Sign-in to post a comment

Scroll Up
Advertisements:

Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!