OPEN LETTER: STATEMENT BY YEHUDA WEISSMANDL, PRESIDENT OF THE EAST RAMAPO CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT

REGARDING LEGAL ACTION BY OPPONENTS OF THE SCHOOL BOARD

We are making significant progress in East Ramapo. We’ve made many changes in recent months to strengthen finances, operations and community relations. Moreover, thanks to an increase in resources from the state, we’ve been able to restore some of the programs we were forced to cut during the recession.

This progress will continue and expand. The school board and the outstanding people who are our teachers and administrators are all committed to that. So are many people in the community.

There are, however, some in the community who are relentless opponents of the board and district. These individuals clearly believe in what they are fighting for, but their actions aren’t constructive.

They opposed the bond act that would have provided funds to repair aging school facilities. They opposed compromise legislation that would have provided meaningful oversight while driving resources to the school district. And yesterday, they sued the school board over the fact that the district has incurred significant legal expenses in recent years.

The common thread in all of these positions is that to make a political point, these individuals are willing to do something that goes against the interests of students.

This lawsuit is a clear example of that. It will only serve to drive up the very legal fees they are complaining about. It will only siphon off resources that could be used for school programs.

Ironically, this suit comes at a time when the district has moved to reduce legal expenses by changing law firms and settling a number of ongoing matters. This lawsuit negates that progress.

Again, we respect those who disagree with us. We respect their right to protest and to use the court system.

At some point, however, this community, as a whole, must come together. We must overcome our differences and focus on what will help students.