Power of Ten Update
In this Issue:
- Urgent: Your contribution is needed!
- Insurance coverage denied for board members and employees alleged “wrongful acts”
- Appeal filed to block use of school funds to pay for lawyers
1) Please support the class action lawsuit:
In 2009, East Ramapo parents first got together to chant “Save Our Schools”.
Over the years, we have worked hard to protect the students’ right to an education and the investment that taxpayers have made in their homes and in a first quality education system for our community. However, powerful interests which seem to be indifferent or even hostile to our students and our taxpayers investments have caused the quality of education to suffer and resulted in loss of value to our multimillion dollar school system and our home values as well.
Today, we have formed the Save Our Schools Coalition, and we are fighting back with a class action civil rights lawsuit!
Advocates for Justice, a New York based, non-profit, public interest law firm, has filed this lawsuit on behalf of East Ramapo School District parents, students, and taxpayers.
Advocates for Justice is not charging us a fee for this action, but they are in need funds to continue this fight. They are asking us to contribute what we can. Monthly amounts are especially helpful (and easier on tight family budgets!)
Be part of the solution, contribute online, or mail a check to:
Advocates for Justice
225 Broadway, Suite 1902
New York, NY 10007
2) Insurance coverage denied for board members and employees alleged “wrongful acts”:
The New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (“NYSIR”), has declined coverage to the school board members and employees named as defendants in our class action civil rights lawsuit : “For all the reasons detailed herein, we write … to inform you that NYSIR hereby denies coverage to … ERCSD Board members … (and employees) … with respect to all of the claims asserted in the (class action lawsuit).” “the NYSIR policy precludes coverage to the insureds above regarding the “fraudulent, dishonest, malicious, criminal or intentional wrongful act(s) or omission(s)” alleged by the (class action lawsuit), NYSIR hereby disclaims coverage …” “In addition, the (class action lawsuit) alleges that ERCSD Board members … (and employees) … have violated and/or have failed to comply with state and federal special education laws. The NYSIR policy excludes coverage for any claims arising out of the failure to provide “an appropriate individualized education program or related facilities or services”, including but not limited to any cause of action under relevant state or federal statutes or other laws, administrative rules or regulations. Therefore, NYSIR hereby disclaims coverage.”
3) Appeal filed to block use of school funds to pay for lawyers:
School officials and employees may be represented at district expense when lawsuits arise from acting in their official capacity. However, the law does not allow the district to pay for counsel to officers or employees acting outside the scope of their public employment or duties. The actions of the board members and employees named in the class action lawsuit have been intentional, reckless, and borderline criminal. They have already been cited by NYSED, the New York State Comptroller and the Commissioner of Education as in violation of law. They have also used district funds to sue the NY State Attorney General, who is investigating their real estate dealings. As NYSIR noted, EACH and EVERY action is alleged to be “fraudulent, dishonest, malicious, criminal or intentional wrongful act(s) or omission(s)”. These are actions already found to be violation by the NY Education Department itself or by the NY State Comptroller. Nowhere does the law provide for the board members to approve expenses proactively suing the NY State Attorney General on their behalf. For the same reasons that hey have been denied insurance coverage, and more, the defendants should be denied the use of district funds. NY State courts have stated that coverage under public officers law is analogous to an insurance company’s contract. We have requested an Emergency Stay from the Commissioner to stop the board from further abusing public funds.
Tell your friends: “Justice is coming to East Ramapo!” … and WE can make it happen!
– Steve White, editor