School bus parked outside US school
School bus parked outside US schooliStock

A Jewish day school in California’s East Bay Area is closing down, citing financial woes and declining enrollment.

The board of trustees unanimously voted July 17 to close the K-8 Tehiyah Day School in El Cerrito after months of trying to save it, J. The Jewish News of Northern California reported.

Founded in 1979 as an egalitarian Jewish day school, Tehiyah purchased its current hillside location in 1984.

Going into the 2017-2018 academic year, the school was facing a $1.9 million deficit. Enrollment declined from 140 students last year to 74 who had registered for the fall, J. reported.

The faculty and administrative staff totals about 20.

“We couldn’t run the risk of running out of money midyear,” said board member Steven Davidoff Solomon, a professor at the UC Berkeley School of Law and the parent of twins at Tehiyah.

Senior board trustee Simon Guendelman suggested the declining enrollment pointed to demographic shifts in the East Bay. El Cerrito is 13 miles north of Oakland.

“Tehiyah got caught in a squeeze,” he said. “The cost of housing is capturing a very large percent of families’ budget. The public schools are getting better, especially in Berkeley and Albany. Then there were transportation issues. The commuting is very long. So families in Oakland or on the Berkeley border found it impossible to travel.”