Local Legislators Approve State Senator’s Push For Ward Elections for all County School Districts

 

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.