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Again. Ugh. Pain. Tuition-Related Depression.

NOTHING makes me say ugh like the annual round of tuition-begging.

And with the delivery of our Notices of Assessment from Revenue Canada, verifying our income (or lack thereof), the time is upon us.

Upon me.  It’s my job.

So I sit here, in a lethargic stupour.  Wishing for death.  Maybe not death, perhaps just solvency? 

But I’m sure the feeling is similar.

I have filled out just about the exact SAME six-page financial disclosure every single year for the last ELEVEN years.  Eleven!

Why does anybody believe this humiliating full disclosure each and every year keeps people honest?  Why not make it easier with a shorter form if your humiliating circumstances have not miraculously changed?  Like, you haven’t won a lottery?

Imagine the checklist:

  • “Is your husband is still in the same dead-end job (no pun intended)?
  • Is your house is still 70 years old and crumbling - oh, and WAY too small?
  • Is your car is the same cheap one your father bought you before he crumbled?
  • Have your kids stayed put, not been born, turned 18 or won lotteries of their own?
  • Is your annual family getaway four days in your brother-in-law’s house near Ottawa?
  • Finally, has the cost of living not gone down but, as always, up, up, UP…?”

“This year, we will no longer make the assumption that you are hiding your secret reservoir of funds from us, the standard-bearers of quality Jewish education!”

Seriously.  Why not a “short form” where you simply certify, to the best of your financial and halachic ability, that things haven’t really changed? 

Then, as on the full-length form, at the bottom of the simplified form, you’d write in the magic number you can’t really afford to pay but you’re scared to write anything lower lest your kid be denied re-admission?

Two phone calls today from one school; it really IS time.  One to ask for the forms.  Another to remind me in the most cheery way possible – I really like the guy who has to make the calls, and feel sorry for him because of ME – that we still owe $700 from last year.  $500 for Student Council fees and $200 for a bounced tuition cheque.

Um, okay.  If the cheques are bouncing, there IS the chance that I am lying scum of the earth (being my father’s daughter, that’s what I feel like when the cheques bounce)… but then, maybe it just means what I knew all along:  that I couldn’t afford the tuition we had been assessed, and Pesach came along, or a similarly urgent grocery need, and we needed to pay for something else instead of our kids’ schooling.

But no… a cheery phone call to say “this bounced cheque is clear evidence that you are indeed hiding your secret reservoir of funds!”  Yup; try the cash drawers at Superstore.  That’s the safest place we’ve found to stash it.

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