Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Op Ed: When a School Board Victimizes Kids - East Ramapo School Board

NY Times   NEW YORK STATE has a proud tradition of local decision making in public education. However, students in the public schools in East Ramapo, about 30 miles north of Manhattan, in Rockland County, are being denied their state constitutional right to a sound basic education by a board that has grossly mismanaged the district’s finances and educational programs.

When there is overwhelming evidence that a local school board has persistently failed to act in the best interests of its public school students, the state must act. The Legislature will adjourn on June 17, so time is running out.

East Ramapo is a divided community. Of the roughly 32,000 school-age children enrolled in schools in the district, about 24,000 attend private schools, nearly all of them Orthodox Jewish yeshivas. Of the more than 8,000 children in the public schools, 43 percent are African-American and 46 percent are Latino; 83 percent are poor and 27 percent are English-language learners.

The East Ramapo school board, dominated by private-school parents since 2005, has utterly failed them. Faced with a fiscal and educational crisis, the State Education Department last June appointed a former federal prosecutor, Henry M. Greenberg, to investigate the district’s finances.

Mr. Greenberg’s report, released in November, documented the impact of the board’s gross mismanagement and neglect. Since 2009, the board has eliminated hundreds of staff members, including over 100 teachers, dozens of teaching assistants, guidance counselors and social workers, and many key administrators. Full-day kindergarten, and high-school electives have been eliminated or scaled back. Music, athletics, professional development and extracurricular activities were cut.[...]


  1. When a School Board victimizes kids. I guess that means me. I live in Rockland County and my children attended private schools. Of course, the children must study secular subjects as according to government law. And this costs a fortune, requiring buildings, teachers, etc. And the government is not interested in paying for any of this. Another problem is that the smaller part of the student body in Rockland that is not Orthodox Jewish requires enormous funding for its problems. If the Orthodox majority (vast majority) of parents in Rockland would pay for what is needed, well, it is impossible. So, along comes the government and blames everything on a school board. This issue has nothing to do with a school board. It has to do with a unique situation, whereby the vast majority of students in the community are completely on their own, and must pay for it, whereby the minority of the students are qualified for government support. This is the whole problem. And ignoring that, and blaming things on the school board, is wrong. This is the reason that at this point, after years and years of great efforts made to take away control by the present elected school board, they are still in charge. Because it is not their responsibility to deal with a situation that is totally behond their fiscal ability to solve. The state knows this, and yet, the continues to feel that it can destroy the civil rights of the Orthodox because it disagrees how the school board acts. If that is changed by politicians, it would mean that every school board would be busy with legal costs to fight off the "idealists" and there would be no end.

  2. It has to do with a unique situation, whereby the vast majority of students in the community are completely on their own, and must pay for it, whereby the minority of the students are qualified for government support.

    are you talking about new york or israel????

  3. Let's start by paying for kindergarten for ALL young children in the district's territory in any qualified private school. (Definitely legal, diBlasio is doing it.)

    Then expand it to first grade, one more grade every year. Spend loads of money on lawyers. Yeshivot must teach adequate english / secular studies.

    Effectively shift the tuition burden from parents to real estate tax payers.

    See the liberals beg to return to the current system.

  4. This article is typical Leftist garbage. The Orthodox people on the board belong there even if their children don't go to the schools because the Orthodox community pays most of the taxes in Ramapo and not allowing them to be on the board would be taxation without representation. The canard of not paying enough for the minority of students attending public schools is ridiculous considering that the cost per child has been calculated at $25,000. This would pay for the finest private school education. Cutting schools and staff is the only reasonable approach to dealing with the shrinking school population and any other approach is simply Leftist money grabbing.

  5. "destroy the civil rights of the Orthodox" - This is because America since the 1960's has mutated into a type of racial supremacist state whose government is primarily focused on meeting the needs of certain designated oppressed racial "minorities", including masses of illegal aliens. Primarily white Orthodox Jews are simply not entitled to the government giveaways designated for the "oppressed minorities", , even if Jews are paying a very large portion of the taxes.

    So that in areas like Monsey with a majority or large Orthodox Jewish voting population, the corrupt, racist, antisemitic minority political hacks are seething with rage and screaming "racism" when Orthodox Jews simply exercise their voting rights in an attempt to secure a fraction of the lavish government benefits that are automatically served up to the oppressed minorities.

  6. I would say that having a school board whose concern primarily is with their hasidic court would have a low success rate. It is like having TSA agents that care little about security.

  7. That is not the case here at all. Without Orthodox representation on the board, the majority Orthodox tax money would be squandered without a limit. The school district has too many schools for the declining public school population and too many teachers and an abundance of frivolous extra curricular programs. Why should the taxpayers money be squandered for nothing?

    The current Orthodox school board has actually pushed for tax hikes to support some necessary programs. However, as usual, this is simply a Leftist hit piece without a grain of truth.

  8. Truth Seeker,
    You mention how the Orthodox suffer from the unbalanced situation in Rockland County. But what about the unbalanced situation throughout America where wives can easily destroy husbands in a court of law that destroys husbands and supports women, so finally men organized to fight the bigotry, and the NY Times had front page articles about it. And what about the drive to destroy people whose biblical values conflict with the gay lobby? Right now most of us don't have this problem, but if we are silent now, they are not going to be silent.

  9. I found this on Wikipedia just now.

    "In July 2010 the School Board of the East Ramapo Central School District voted to sell its Hillcrest Elementary School—closed due to budget cuts—to the Hasidic Jewish Congregation Yeshiva Avir Yakov of New Square.[7] In an official response to an investigation of the sale, New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner stated the East Ramapo board “abused its discretion by hastily approving the sale.” The 12 acre campus, assessed at $10.2 million (market value) by the Assessor’s Office of Clarkstown was given only a $3.2 million appraisal by the school board's own attorney, Albert D’Agostino.[8] On June 8, 2011 the commissioner of the NY State Education Department halted the sale of the building stating the board failed its fiduciary responsibility to the district when it approved the $3.2 million deal."

    I may have hit on something big!

  10. The situation in Monsey was for many many years totally intolerable the old masters of the school board were totally out of hand and spending exorbitant amounts and wasting tons of Waste
    The lawyers for the school were also in on it ,Matters were so bad that even when the Orthodox community succeeded in removing the old entrenched Board they still made almost no progress , It wasn't until they brought in a new outside law firm whom were from Five towns and familiar with the needless waste.and then finally they were able to make inroads and a dent , because the old attorneys were still part of the old group! this is all noise back spill for the successes the growing growing taxpaying orthodox had in getting a little relief of the huge huge oversize school tax budget being levied on everyone ..


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