King David High School head of school Russ Klein. (photo by Pat Johnson)
King David High School has chosen to refund families who made a $1,000 deposit for next year but opted to send their kids to a different school. The decision ends a controversy that some parents said was a money grab.
Faced for the first time with more applicants than available positions, the school requested a non-refundable deposit of $1,000. Timing was a factor, as families were awaiting admission decisions from other private schools or space-limited specialty programs in the public system.
The idea, said KDHS head of school Russ Klein, was that families for whom King David was the first choice would pay and those for whom the school was not first choice might opt not to pay, thereby ensuring that those who most wanted in were admitted.
“It didn’t work out that way,” he said. “What we thought would happen, didn’t happen. They all just made the deposit.”
In the end, the school got what it wanted – full enrolment – and families ended up with their children in the schools of their choice.
After reflection on the process, Klein said, King David decided to refund the deposits to families who chose other schools.
“It wasn’t a cash grab,” he said. “We did it with good intentions.”
As it turned out, of the nine families offered the refund, four declined, choosing to make it a donation to the school, another donated half, two received the full refund and two others didn’t respond to the offer at all.
This year’s graduating class had 45 students, the second-largest ever. Next year’s class will be the biggest – between 55 and 60.
Klein said dealing with more applications than they have spots available was a learning opportunity.
“Now that we think we know how to handle this situation a little better, we’re hoping we get this, as we say, ‘good problem,’ where there are too many applicants again in the future,” he said. “The school next year will probably be at its biggest number ever.… We’ve just got nothing but good things to look forward to.”