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For the second time in its history the Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education has sued the parents of children who had been attending Gray Academy for non-payment of tuition.


The first occurrence of a lawsuit was in 2017 when the WBJE sued a parent for $5,895 in Small Claims Court. The WBJE was awarded judgment in that amount plus costs, interest, and disbursements amounting to $273.70 when the parent failed to show up for the court hearing.

This time though, even though the amount being sought is less than the Small Claims Court maximum claimable of $10,000, the WBJE has decided to pursue an action in Court of Queen’s Bench. The amount being sought is $9,383.93; however, should the matter proceed to a hearing before a judge, the costs that would be awarded to the WBJE, should it prove its case, are bound to be significantly higher.
We wondered, therefore, why the WBJE chose to pursue its action in Court of Queen’s Bench rather than in Small Claims Court? We emailed the WBJE, also David Borzykowski (who is Director of Marketing and Communications at Gray Academy), and Lori Binder, Gray Academy Head of School, asking why the action is being pursued in Court of Queen’s Bench?
Borzykowski responded: “As this matter is private, we have no comment, and we will have no further comment.”

In its statement of claim, filed by Alyssa M. Mariani, a lawyer with Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, it is alleged by the WBJE that the defendants entered into two agreements with the WBJE. In the first agreement, it is alleged, on February 24, 2017, the parents agreed to pay tuition in the amount of $20,600 for two children enrolled in Gray Academy for the 2017/18 school year.
The defendants were also to be eligible for bursary assistance upon completing the required bursary application forms.
In June 2017 the defendants entered into a second agreement whereby they would enroll a third child in junior kindergarten for the 2017/18 school year. Tuition was set at $8,700. Again, the defendants were able to apply for bursary assistance for the third child.

According to the Statement of Claim, “On or about July 14, 2017, the plaintiff granted bursary assistance to the defendants in the total sum of $14,650.00. Accordingly, the total amount owed by the defendants…was $13,450.00”
Subsequently, according to the Statement of Claim, the defendants “made partial payment in the amount of $6,000.” Thus, the difference between what the defendants had paid and what the WBJE had assessed as tuition, minus bursaries awarded, came to $8,650.
According to the Statement of Claim, however, interest was to accrue on all payments outstanding for more than 30 days at the rate of 1.5% compounded monthly,” thus the amount being claimed of $9,383.93.

As of the time of writing, the defendants have not filed a Statement of Defence. In private communication with the defendants I was told that they had found themselves in financial difficulty in the past year. Their intention, I was told, was not to withdraw their children from Gray Academy for any other reason than they could no longer afford to pay the tuition.
I was also told that the defendants had offered to pay $1,000 to the WBJE as settlement of the amount being claimed against them, but that offer had been rejected by the WBJE.
I was also told that the defendants could not afford to hire a lawyer, but had obtained the assistance of someone who has legal training but is not practicing as a lawyer in Manitoba.

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#1 JkJ K 2018-12-30 22:22
Interest is forbidden by jewish law from a jew against a jew. Pretty shocked by the bje.