November 17, 2006

by Reb Yudel
I Predict The Board will Try to Close Metro Schechter

Heh. This would be quite the prophetic post, if I weren't writing it on May 17, 2007. But for now, at least, I want to keep my Schechter board blogging off the front page.

Interesting stuff from the Schechter Parents News, November 17, 2006

Report on the 11.6.06 Meeting of the Board

A number of Officers were elected at the last Metro Schechter Board meeting. The Board now consists of 20 members who are representative of the metropolitan school community:

Sy Sadinoff, Chair

Mary Sanders, President

Eli Ungar, Vice President

Alan Tannenbaum, Treasurer

Meryl Wiener, Secretary

Rabbi Robert Abramson

Ann Appelbaum

Adam Brown, Immediate Past Chair

David Brown

Elana Gershen Finkelstein

Ary Freilich

Mindy Furman

David Goodman

Rabbi Michael Greenbaum

Linda Jesselson

Steve Kauderer

Carol Kekst

Marc Legman

Rachell Maidenbaum

Yael Spielman

At its meeting the Board established committee address the major strategic issues facing MSHS. They are the Committee on Trustees, Education, Executive, Finance, Institutional Advancement, Leadership Team Evaluation and Support, and Real Estate.

A discussion of the major issues facing the school was held. All agreed that space was at the top of the list. The Board agreed that its highest priority is to find a suitable facility in which to locate the school beginning September 2007.

The Board’s next meeting will be held on December 7th.

For one thing, who could imagine that when they said their "highest priority" was finding a space they would have have no second priority? That if they failed at their first priority they would try to close up shop?

It is interesting as well that only three board members of the board were parents -- two from New York and the parent of a New Jersey freshman.

The next we hear from the board is in January:

Dear Fellow Metropolitan Schechter Families:

I write to inform you about the Board’s efforts with respect to the School’s physical facility. For the past several months we have been actively exploring various options, recognizing that we need more space and a more customized facility to sustain our growth.

By way of background, the space that we presently rent at the Teaneck Jewish Center has always been viewed as an interim location. This space is covered by a lease that runs through June 30, 2008 and gives us the option to extend the term through June 30, 2009. While the School does have a home at the Teaneck Jewish Center for 2 more years should we choose to remain there, clearly, it is in our best interest to relocate to a more suitable facility sooner rather than later.

We have been exploring both near term and long term real estate options: 1) given our acute need for additional space, we have been looking at options that could provide relief in the near term; and 2) given that our lease ends in June, 2009 and that many options require a long lead time, it is necessary that we explore long term solutions now.

With respect to short term solutions that would provide relief for the coming school year beginning in September, 2007, we have been exploring 2 options: 1) sites where the School could be housed in a basically ready-made school environment, and 2) auxiliary sites where some subset of the School community could be housed, until a single larger facility is acquired.

With respect to long term solutions, we have been looking at plots of land (either with or without buildings), and existing buildings that could be revamped to serve as a school campus.

We are actively negotiating to purchase a nearby site currently being used to house a school. This site, though not completely consistent with our needs, could be made to work and has the advantage of availability in the near term.

In the event that our negotiations to purchase the nearby site do not work out, we have also looked at some options to acquire additional classroom space in nearby locations, but this would require us to split the program over two campuses.

We are not simply pursuing a single option. We continue to look at existing structures, as well as raw land, land with buildings that would have to be razed and land with buildings that could be overhauled into structures suitable for our needs.

Because of the acute nature of our facility needs, we have given priority to those options that provide near term solutions.

Our need to acquire a suitable new facility brings with it the need to raise substantial additional capital. To that end, we have asked Dorothy Bowser to focus all of her attention on this critical task. Earlier in her career, Dorothy led successful development campaigns in the public school sector. She is a knowledgeable, articulate and passionate spokesperson who can advocate persuasively for our cause. Effective immediately, Dorothy will relinquish all of her other responsibilities at the School and assume the post of Development Officer reporting directly to the Board. We are looking to secure off campus office space for Dorothy so that we can expand our development outreach.

I will be in touch with you as soon as there is something additional to report. If anyone in the community has access to information about opportunities that might be of interest to the School, please let me know. Meanwhile, thank you for your continued support of the School.


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Mary H. Sanders

Board President

And then on Feb. 16, 2007
Good news about next year: Please watch your mail for a letter from Board President Mary Sanders assuring the excellence and continuation of MSHS into the future.

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