In This Issue:
School Board Meeting Wednesday
There will be an informational session on the ESL program.
Wednesday, Dec 6, 7:30 PM
105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley
This section reserved for official announcements. No Announcements at this time.
School Board Campaign News
The 2012 campaign has begun. Visit http://poweroften.us/new/2012-campaign/ for more information
Message from the Editor
Several years ago, the makeup of the East Ramapo School board changed. The majority of the members of the school board became people with strong family and community ties to private schools, specifically private religious schools for the ultra-orthodox Jewish community.
Many people were concerned that this school board would use its authority to shift the priorities of the district more toward those schools and the segregated community that they serve. Others felt that the new board could faithfully serve both communities. Any citizen of the district has the right to run for school board, by law.
Over the years there have been many confrontations over issues such as budget items and school closings. The non-public school members of the public school board have maintained that their main goal is fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers which necessitates controlling spending.
However, several of their actions have been contrary to that cause:
- They created a paid position (treasurer) for a close friend, Israel Bier. This job had previously been performed by a district employee at no extra cost.
- They replaced an attorney for one that cost about 4 times as much per hour.
- They sold a school (Hillcrest) for a fraction of the appraised value (fortunately the State Education Department halted the sale). Another school sale (Colton) is being held up by the state for similar reasons after a taxpayer complained that they were selling public property without doing their fiduciary duty to get the best return for the taxpayer.
- They fired the most effective administrator the district has ever seen (according to staff, students and parents).
- The latest news is that while many of our buildings are in need of millions of dollars of repairs, the two schools that the board voted to sell to non-public schools were the only ones that the state says need no money for repairs over the next 5 years.
- One of the most powerful of the non-public school board members, Nathan Rothschild, who was president of the board, has been sentenced to federal prison for fraud involving a real estate transaction for another public agency (he was a fire commissioner).
All of this evidence points to the conclusion that what seemed to be a conflict of interest, is indeed a conflict of interest. The people most directly affected (students and parents) have tried every avenue available to them to protect the quality of education in the district. They have written to every elected and appointed official. They have filed formal appeals with the state. They have raised funds and run coordinated elections bringing out triple the voter turnout of any nearby district. While there have been some achievements, the underlying problem- conflict of interest- has not been resolved.
– Steve White, editor