As most Israelis know, the “free” education sponsored by the state is anything but. According to a the Chasdei Naomi organization, the average Israeli family with school-age children spends NIS 434 per month. In addition, the average family spends some NIS 1,000 shekels at the beginning of the school years on supplies, books, and other materials needed. Those figures are the average for all families with children in schools from first through eighth grade, and are averaged out over all families, regardless of how many of their children are in school.
With that, the study found, chareidi families have fewer beginning of year expenses than other families. Families with children in the secular school system spend NIS 1,180 at the beginning of the year, while children in the national religious system spend NID 1,140. Families with children in chareidi schools spend NIS 901 on “startup costs.”
The same holds true for the monthly outlay for school expenses, which include money for trips, uniforms, lunches, and other expenses. Secular families spend NIS 453 a month for those expenses, while parents of children in the national religious system spend NIS 425 a month. The cost for families with children in chareidi schools is NIS 362 a month.
The monthly cost for education has been rising in recent years, 11% since 2016, and 5% since 2018. 34% of families polled said they were cutting back on school expenditures where possible because of the expenses, the study showed.