Rockland County Legislators Aron Wieder (D), Itamar Yeger (D) and Phil Soskin (D) have commended Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski and Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick for introducing a bill to the state senate which would allow any school district in Rockland to create wards for school board elections.
“We want to commend Assemblyman Zebrowski and Senator Reichlin-Melnick to finally agreeing to take action in response to what we have been arguing all along,” Legislator Wieder said. “This is not an East Ramapo problem. It’s a county wide problem.”
“This bill could help mitigate the problem,” Legislator Wieder said. “Once such a system is put in place, all minority groups, even minority Hasidic communities in other school districts, will have an opportunity to get a seat on the school board in the school districts in which they reside.”
The proposed legislation requires voter approval via public referendum to create a school district ward system.
“You cannot be heard if you don’t have a seat at the table of discussion,” Legislator Yeger said. “The creation of a ward system should be mandatory. If you are in the minority, you might not have the votes to get a referendum passed.”
Legislator Soskin said, “Providing an opportunity for people who feel they are not being heard is a positive development if the ward system elects an advocate who is in the community’s corner, including minority communities – be they religious, racial or ethnic.”
East Ramapo Central School District is conducting its first election under a new court-ordered ward system. The all-absentee ballot vote requires ballots from all nine wards to be dropped off or post-marked by Feb. 2. No other school district in Rockland has a ward system.