Kesser Torah College, the other local Lubavitch school, has sought emergency funding in case of an influx of students, and the NSW Board of Studies (BOS) is investigating if the college is meeting the requirements for registration as a school.
The AJN can also reveal this week that an independent report, which reviewed Yeshiva College’s bank account statements, cheque stubs and other documentation, determined that some of the $467,500 given to the school as part of the Building the Education Revolution (BER) was not used for the correct purpose.
If the NSW and federal governments stop funds, it would cost the school more than $1 million a year and it would struggle to operate.
In a statement this week to The AJN, Yeshiva College spiritual dean Rabbi Pinchus Feldman said his legal team do not believe the school misused government funding and was confident the matter would be resolved.
Meanwhile, parents said they were outraged when they woke up last Wednesday morning to an email that stated students could not return to school last Thursday because the school didn’t have sufficient teachers to resume classes.
One parent told The AJN there is no excuse for telling parents a day before term starts. “Given 24 hours notice completely disregards the parents and for a school that’s so concerned about Jewish studies, to have kids waste time doing nothing is a disgrace,” the parent said.
The email included the phone numbers of the college’s teachers for private lessons, but warned parents to “call individual teachers regarding their fees”.
“Paying teachers directly is a joke and in no way addresses the concerns of parents. The school needs to be responsible and care about the kids. This suggests it’s out of control.”
Accounting for the delay in reopening, Rabbi Feldman said that because the syllabus has a great deal of Jewish content, with a number of staff members away, it was not possible to easily find teachers for term four.
Classes did resume this week on Tuesday, but some parents had already decided that they needed to find a new school for their children.
More than a dozen students have applied to enrol at Kesser Torah College and it has sought emergency government funding in case Yeshiva College, Bondi, does not continue to operate and the school is faced with an influx of students.
Yeshiva Centre dean and spiritual leader Rabbi Pinchus Feldman released the following response to the AJN article:
The teachers at Yeshiva College are rare and highly specialised individuals.
In addition, many have family overseas.
As a result, during breaks they often visit relatives and on this occasion, many of them unfortunately came back late.
Replacing them is very challenging.
Then, there are the curricular needs – teachers at Yeshiva need to understand a great deal of Jewish studies content, skills and knowledge before they can teach any subjects, due to our integrated syllabus.
English and science and HSIE in our syllabus are taught using some Jewish content.
A substitute teacher with scant knowledge about Judaism would not be able to properly meet our curriculum goals.
In order for school to start on time at the beginning of term 4, there were nine teachers to replace.
They were all replaced, but three major substitutes unfortunately backed out very close to start time.
Our governmental liaison officer Mrs Gavriella Aber called the Association of Independent Schools (AIS) for advice and guidance.
The AIS advises private schools on all matters of governmental compliance and due process.
The AIS assured us that the only Board of Studies compliance issue was whether Yeshiva is doing enough hours to call this year of studies a year of schooling.
Luckily, Yeshiva has school on Sundays and is open until 4.30pm most school days, so we are swimming in extra time.
We are confident of an outcome that will be in the best interests of both DEEWR and Yeshiva College.