Open Letter from Rocklander to Governor Cuomo & Commissioner King:
Thank you for your recent decision assigning a state fiscal monitor, Hank Greenberg, to the East Ramapo Central School District. The situation for the public school children is dire. Besides two public schools (Colton & Hillcrest) being closed and sold/rented while enrollment has actually been increasing, there is something far more dramatic happening.
After years of neglect, two public school buildings have become dangerous to walk into. I visited Kakiat Elementary School (400 Viola Road) three times: March 3, May 13 and June 11. I alerted the Board of Education and Superintendent Joel Klein to the severe damage at the front entrance after each visit. As you can see from the picture I took yesterday, the front entrance remains closed. At least six people have fallen on these steps. Just up the road, Ramapo High School’s (465 Viola Road) front entrance was closed recently due to a piece that fell off the front of the school. My picture from yesterday is attached.
Grave safety issues in the public schools are being ignored. This is a direct result of cuts to maintenance by the Board of Education. Also, the Board of Education is incapable of prioritizing. A perfect example of this is occurring now. The Board is more worried about catering to a religious summer day camp and building this camp four swimming pools at Chestnut Ridge Middle School than it is about Kakiat and Ramapo’s states of disrepair. The fact that this is the Board’s priority while buildings are literally falling apart peaks volumes about how the board members and Superintendent Klein feel about the public school children.
My hope is that this email and pictures will increase awareness of the physical state of the public school buildings in East Ramapo. Immediate action is required at Kakiat Elementary and Ramapo High School before a tragedy occurs.
Robert Ward Kurkela
New City, NY