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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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Robbins to close Beth Tikvah campus

Tags: Jewish learning
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TORONTO — Robbins Hebrew Academy announced last Friday that it will close its Bayview campus, located at Beth Tikvah Synagogue, after the 2012-2013 school year.

Wayne Chertkow and Jay Feldman, co-chairs of the school’s board of directors, announced in an e-mail to parents the “difficult but necessary” decision that it will not be possible to offer classes at Bayview after this year due to steadily declining enrolment.

As well, a news release from the school noted that the Bayview location has “for a number of years, been challenged by the demographics of a declining Jewish population in the Bayview/Sheppard and adjoining neighbourhoods.”

Chertkow and Feldman said in their letter that the two campuses of the school – which both have classes from junior kindergarten to Grade 8 – would be consolidated on the Bathurst campus, located at Beth Tzedec Congregation.

“For a number of years, there have been many discussions about the future of the Bayview campus, and RHA leadership and the board have taken extraordinary steps to find a solution to keep the campus viable,” they wrote. “Unfortunately, despite our best efforts… the Bayview campus is no longer sustainable.”

The news release said that RHA would work closely with Bayview families “to ascertain their needs and enable them to continue to educate their children at our Bathurst campus, or explore attendance at other Hebrew day schools.”

The release also said that enrolment at the Bathurst campus is “strong, as is the campus’ financial sustainability.” The Bathurst campus has 350 students.

The Bayview campus can accommodate 500 students, but has 145 students enrolled this year. Since 2009, it has experienced a cumulative 65 per cent decline in enrolment, according to the release.

As recently as 2010, the school had a total of 800 students. It closed its Richmond Hill branch in 2006.

Claire Sumerlus, RHA’s head of school, said in the release, “We are very sad to do this, but are committed to ensuring a great final school year for 2012-2013 and are planning a number of cross-campus initiatives. We are going to ensure this is the best year possible for our Bayview students.”

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