Aleph Bet School, an after-school and weekend program in San Francisco that caters to Russian Jewish families, might close or relocate due to a dispute between the school’s director and the synagogue that houses the school.

What started as a disagreement over finances and liability insurance has morphed into a fight about transparency and commitment to Russian-speaking families.

Since opening five years ago, Aleph Bet has been based at Congregation Ner Tamid, a Conservative synagogue in the Sunset District. It serves students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

Ukraine native Helen Bond, who previously ran Russian-language Jewish education programs at the JCC and Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco, founded the school and is its director.

Ner Tamid has allowed Aleph Bet to utilize its classrooms rent-free, even though it apparently has had no written agreement with the school.

According to Bond, the school has around 35 students enrolled this year, with annual tuition costing $1,650. There are additional fees for items such as art supplies, and parents opting not to join the synagogue are charged $2,000 for tuition, or other amounts for various classes.

The congregation has solicited donations to support the school, and past relations between the school and the synagogue were said to be good. Bond even served on Ner Tamid’s board.

But over the past year, several occurrences started to turn the tide.

First, Ner Tamid chose not to renew the lease of the Russian-American International School, another school that met on the premises. Beverlee Hassid, Ner Tamid co-president, said this was done to allow Aleph Bet additional space.

Then, nine months ago, Or Shalom Jewish Community left Ner Tamid, its home of nine years, and moved in with Congregation Beth Israel Judea on Brotherhood Way.

The loss of two paying tenants resulted in a financial hit for Ner Tamid.

Around the same time, Bond began pushing the synagogue to make Aleph Bet a full-time Jewish day school. “Originally they were very excited to have something new,” Bond told J. “But then they said they faced a financial crisis.”

Hassid stated that a budget submitted by Bond indicated that the school would lose $60,000 the first year and lose even more in year two. “We did not accept her proposal,” Hassid said.

From there the two sides sought mediation through the S.F.-based Jewish Community Federation. Those meetings failed to produce an agreement.

“[Ner Tamid] said I couldn’t have a day school,” Bond recalled, “that it will not be profitable and they need money. They were pushing me to move. They said, ‘We support your school, but we need a [paying] tenant.’ ”

In October, the Ner Tamid board offered Bond two options. One would allow her to operate the school independently, provided she furnished proof of liability and workman’s compensation insurance. The other would convert the school to a Ner Tamid program, requiring a 2014-15 operating budget and making school staff and teachers synagogue employees.

Last week, the parties met again, but no agreement was reached.

Shortly after that Nov. 11 meeting, Bond claimed she was presented with an eviction notice for the second time in two months. Hassid denied this, saying that Aleph Bet has not been evicted, although several Ner Tamid board members support eviction, she added.

Hassid said the core problem has been transparency. She claimed that no one on the Ner Tamid board has ever  been allowed to examine Aleph Bet accounting records. “We could never get a straight answer,” Hassid said.

Both sides agree the school has been a plus for the community.

Its classes cover Jewish tradition, Rus-sian history, kosher food and culture. Its website features photos and videos of school events, including a Russian-language stage presentation of “The Little Prince,” as well as Shabbat preparation and Jewish holiday celebrations.

In an unsolicited email to J., Edward Kats, a parent of an Aleph Bet student, wrote, “We understand that money is the issue here, but it is unacceptable to take away the education of our children for this reason. We are appalled that as Jewish people, that came from a history of discrimination in the Soviet Union, we now have to deal with the same discrimination coming from our own Jewish community in the United States … Ner Tamid is choosing to abandon its own people and — most importantly — letting down and abandoning the children.”

Hassid vehemently denied that argument. “Ner Tamid has absolutely welcomed Russian families,” she said. “We have Russian members, free Passover seders and Yom Kippur services for Russians. We’ve had b’nai mitzvah with Russian families and even paid for their parties. Ner Tamid never has and never will discriminate against the Russian Jewish community.”

Bond told J. on Nov. 19 that Aleph Bet was holding classes this week and plans to continue to do so. Hassid said that the synagogue has not yet officially decided to close the school.

Both said they would like to come to an agreement that would leave the school at Ner Tamid, but both wonder if that’s possible anymore.

“I would very much prefer that Ner Tamid give us a longer transitional period during which I and others could work to find a new home for the school,” Bond added in an email to J. “I wish things were different. I wish they were willing to do what it took to give this school the home it truly needs.”

Hassid likewise expressed regret over the turn of events.

“We like the kids,” she said. “We think it’s a great program. I have been a  supporter from day one. [But Bond] never came to me directly. Maybe there would have been a chance had she done so. But since all this has happened, with all this publicity and bad things she said about us, how can we keep the school open.”