Jewish day school needs money to stay open

Only Jewish school for miles may close indefinitely without more funding

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- - The last day of school is just around the corner for the Jewish Community School of the Desert, but for 35 students and at least six teachers, it could be their last day on campus -- for good.

"The economy has hit our school, just like everything else," says PTO President, Jerry Roisentel. "We're a small Jewish Day school, we've represented the community for 21 years."

Hidden behind Temple Sinai on Hovley Lane and Monterey in Palm Desert, JCSD is the only Jewish Day School for 100 miles; the only Jewish-based education from Los Angeles to Phoenix.

"People are in financial strains and it's like any business, you know, when things are tough for everyone else, other things suffer, and our school is one of them," explains Roisentel. "We rely on donations from people in the community, and it's been tough with the way the economy is going."

The school needs a commitment of $175,000 by Wednesday to ensure one more year of classes.

Parents say they just learned about the possible closure, and are worried about enrolling their kids into another school so close to the summertime.

"It's going to be very challenging," says Roisental, "That's the other side of the equation here. There's wait-lists on all the schools out here so it will be difficult."

Students don't like the idea of leaving, either. The teacher-student ratio is 12:1.

"We are learning much more than an average fourth grader and I think this school is a very good school," raves fourth-grader Morgan Short.

"I'd be heartbroken," says a distraught Leo Milmet. "All my friends... I can't even think about it."

"We're doing this for the kids of today, and for future generations," says parent Daniel Friedman. Friedman emphasized the importance of education in the Jewish culture. He and Roisental hope the Jewish community will reach out.

"The whole entire Jewish community would be effected, because there would no longer be a Jewish day school to educate our Jewish children, which is really the bigger concern."

That being said, JCSD accepts all denominations and religions.

If you'd like to help, call the school at (760) 340-2039, or visit their website, www.JCSDPD.org.

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