About six weeks ago, Michele Bender, a freelance writer who lives in SoHo, took out her checkbook. She wrote a $10,000 check for the balance of what she owed a desirable West Village private school, the Little Red School House, bringing the total she had paid to $20,000. She put it in the mail. Then she called her husband and cried.
Many New York parents paying private school tuition probably feel some pain when it comes time to pay the bill. But for Ms. Bender and her husband, David, an artist, it really hurt — they were paying for a school their daughter will never attend.
It seems quintessentially New York that someone whose daughter landed so many options could still end up thoroughly miserable. In February 2007, their daughter was given a coveted spot in the kindergarten at Little Red.
More than three months later, in June, they learned their daughter had also been accepted into one of three gifted and talented schools available citywide, the equivalent of a Stuyvesant or Bronx Science for elementary-school children.
They had fallen in love with Little Red, but “for us, the financial aspect is huge,” Mr. Bender said, and they knew the public school was stellar. After agonizing for a few weeks, Mr. Bender called Little Red officials in early July to tell them their decision.
He knew they would lose their $2,500 deposit; he even feared they would have to fight to get back the other $7,500 they had already put down. (That’s crazy talk, his friends told him.)
But he was shocked when a school official immediately informed him the school would hold him accountable for all of it — the whole tuition, a commitment he had made when he signed the contract back in February...
This from the New York Times.