East Ramapo Activists Request Oversight Monitor from Albany

BY MICHAEL RICONDA

Ramapo – In an attempt to seek outside help from state lawmakers, activists with the group The Power of Ten travelled to Albany to submit a petition requesting an oversight monitor to identify and resolve problems in the East Ramapo Central School District.

The petition, which was posted on the Power of Ten’s website and has been signed by over 4,000 people, was submitted to Legislator Ellen Jaffee, who will deliver it to Education Commissioner John King at the capitol building, a move made to raise awareness for issues in the troubled school district.

White stated that the move was made to address an education system in Ramapo which he says is failing, specifically mentioning a 50 percent graduation rate for Hispanic students and private school placements which the organization stated was discriminatory and illegal.

“There’s a $191 million budget which should be educating the students and if it’s currently spent then we should get a good quality of education for our students,” White said. “The monitor would make sure the money spent as it is intended to be spent and not diverted to the special interests of the school board members.”

The East Ramapo Central School District has faced serious budgetary concerns. The board recently began a new round of budget cuts which will cut six teachers and almost all sports programs, while still borrowing $10 million. The budget cuts will not include controversial suggestions such as cutting Pre-K and Kindergarten programs.

Activists have often accused the mostly Orthodox Jewish school board of indifference to the needs of non-Jewish students. In August, almost 200 parents filed suit to remove five Orthodox members of the school board, claiming that the board materially-assisted private religious schools by providing them with books and programs.