Legal Notice; Funding Explained

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Lakewood School Cuts Driven by Yeshiva Costs
2. School Board Loses Appeal
3. Notice of Proposed Voluntary Discontinuance of Class Action with Prejudice
4. Senator Carlucci at Center of Budget Controversy

1) Lakewood School Cuts Driven by Yeshiva Costs

The Lakewood NJ school system this year is facing cuts to education similar to what happened to East Ramapo from 2008 to 2014. Then, East Ramapo cut hundreds of teachers and support staff, resulting in overcrowded classrooms, deletion of entire programs of education, and being designated a “focus” district by NY State.

According to a new article by Leslie Brody in the Wall Street Journal, the Lakewood school board is dominated by ultra-Orthodox men who don’t have children in public schools and is proposing a budget that will decimate those schools. Protected in the budget are busing for yeshivas and payments to special education programs that serve only ultra-Orthodox students. 

These are the same factors that are driving the continuing problems in East Ramapo. Increasing costs are being driven by increasing numbers of students enrolled in yeshivas, but ultra-Orthodox voters have no incentive to increase school tax to cover these costs.

Adding insult to injury, most of the children attending yeshivas aren’t being educated as required by law.  There have been repeated scandals involving public funding of out-of-district special education, including the recent indictment of one Lakewood Rabbi on charges of stealing $630,000.

All of the advances of the last year could be wiped away unless we change the way schools are governed and funded. If we as a society value education, then we must make our laws support and protect it.

2) School Board Loses Appeal

Before the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act), students with disabilities were often kept out of classrooms with their peers for no good reason. They were given a second-class education and otherwise abused and mistreated. The IDEA mandated school districts to provide education for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. It said that districts couldn’t get out of providing education just by saying they didn’t have specialty resources; they would have to pay for out-of-district placements if they couldn’t do it in house. The East Ramapo school board found their own way to twist this law which was meant to protect disabled students from discrimination. They started approving using public funds to make out-of-district placements that were not in the least restrictive environment.

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) does audits of these kinds of things. They found that the districts placements were not consistent with the IDEA law. The district sued NYSED to block them from telling the district how to do out-of-district placements. They lost that lawsuit. Then they appealed. On March 28 they lost the appeal too

3) Notice of Proposed Voluntary Discontinuance of Class Action with Prejudice

The following link is to a legal notice regarding a potential class action lawsuit. The suit was filed by parents and taxpayers, including myself, regarding the legal fees incurred by the district.

Readers are strongly encouraged to read this notice in full.

Class Action Notice

4) Senator Carlucci at Center of Budget Controversy

Our own Senator Carlucci is increasingly in the center of the controversy about education funding in this year’s NY State budget. The Democratic controlled Assembly has proposed spending more than the Republican controlled Senate. At stake for East Ramapo is the $20.6 million in foundation aid that we are owed from the CFE lawsuit.

The issue has been debated on the opinion page of the Journal News:

Carlucci and IDC broke promises to Ossining, East Ramapo kids: View

Carlucci responds: Fix the broken school aid formula

Readers react to Sen. David Carlucci’s school aid stand

There will be a rally on Friday, April 7, at 12:30 pm across the street from Senator Carlucci’s office, 20 South Main Street, New City, asking Senator Carlucci to work with the Democrats on a number of issues, including funding for foundation aid.

About Foundation Aid:

The State Aid Formula is designed to address unequal financial abilities of local districts. The State of NY has a constitutional responsibility to children. The formula is how the state measures where the help is most needed. It takes into account the income and property value of the local district, as well as special needs such as poverty and services to non-public schools. Without some objective measure, state aid could be influenced by politics.

The formula provides East Ramapo with the largest amount of state aid of any district in Rockland County. However, from 2008 to 2014, state funds were reduced. Other districts increased local revenue so the children would not be harmed. But in East Ramapo board members chose not to compensate, claiming voters wouldn’t approve.

There are three factors that caused the cuts to programs in East Ramapo. The largest is the reduction in local contribution, caused by lack of support for public education in areas with heavy concentration of ultra-Orthodox voters. This results in East Ramapo having what is called a low “local revenue effort rate”.

Another impact is spending on non-public schools. Because these expenses are guaranteed, ultra-Orthodox voters can vote down school budgets without worrying about it affecting yeshivas. By electing a school board dominated by ultra-Orthodox members, they can even guarantee they won’t ever even be asked to pass a budget based on public needs.

The third factor is the state budget. If the formula was fully funded by the NY Senate, there would be a lot more state aid for East Ramapo. Calculations by the Alliance for Quality Education are that East Ramapo is owed $20.6 million.

Beyond all of this there is still the issue of governance. Bad governance has a negative impact on the budget through property sales at below market value, out-of-district placements; and over-priced lawyers.  Efforts to change the problem with governance include the annual school board elections, monitors supplied by NYSED, and legislation for a monitor with veto power.

 

Two BIG Events; Scholarship Opportunity

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Fundraiser Thursday
2. Scholarship Opportunity
3. Two from E Ramapo Honored on Sunday

1) Fundraiser Thursday

Every election has expenses. We hope you will give generously to the campaign. But it doesn’t have to be all pain and sacrifice! We are planning a real fun and enjoyable event!

This evening is going to be big! Come for the music of Spyro Gyra’s Jeremy Wall and Motherland Rhythms’ Arthur Lorde, hear from our 2017 candidates, enjoy light refreshments, and help us reach our $10,000 goal for campaign supplies. RSVP at www.strongeastramapo.org/rsvp now.

Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m.
The Nagin Residence, 23 Dogwood Lane, Pomona

If you cannot make it but wish to donate, please visit:
https://eastramapotogether.wordpress.com/donate-to-the-cause/

2) Scholarship Opportunity

Green Meadow Waldorf School is offering a limited number of scholarships to local students entering Grades 8, 9, and 10 in the 2017-18 school year.

Partial and full scholarships are available, in order to make enrollment possible for students who otherwise could not afford to attend.

You can learn more about Green Meadow at www.gmws.org. There also will be an Introductory Session on April 21.

Please contact Melissa McDonagh, Admissions Director for Grades 1-12, with any questions or to apply. She can be reached at 845.356.2514 x302 or mmcdonagh@gmws.org.

3) Two from E Ramapo Honored on Sunday

The MLK Center will hold it’s 26th Annual Awards Benefit Gala on Sunday, April 2nd, from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at The Clubhouse at Patriot Hills.

This year they are honoring two from East Ramapo, Dr. Wortham and Mr. Arciniegas!

Purchase your tickets today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-martin-luther-king-multi-purpose-centers-2017-annual-awards-benefit-gala-tickets-32818662503

For more information call 845-425-8910

Dr. Wortham to be honored by MLK Center

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Fundraiser March 30
2. District Budget Update
3. State Budget Update

4. MLK Center Event April 2

1) Fundraiser March 30

Every election has expenses. We hope you will give generously to the campaign. But it doesn’t have to be all pain and sacrifice! We are planning a real fun and enjoyable event!

This evening is going to be big! Come for the music of Spyro Gyra’s Jeremy Wall and Motherland Rhythms’ Arthur Lorde, hear from our 2017 candidates, enjoy light refreshments, and help us reach our $5,000 goal for campaign supplies. RSVP at www.strongeastramapo.org/rsvp now.

Thursday, March 30 at 7 p.m.
The Nagin Residence, 23 Dogwood Lane, Pomona

If you cannot make it but wish to donate, please visit:
https://eastramapotogether.wordpress.com/donate-to-the-cause/

2) District Budget Update

By Dr. Andrew Mandel

Few people were able to attend the March 16 community budget meeting and board meeting — including three missing board members, though we had three candidates there (Allie, Chevon and Eric!) ready and willing to take their place — but there was a lot to like and a lot to ponder. 

Great that the superintendent is planning for more special education collaborative and bilingual classes, more assistants in kindergarten, more summer school slots, more advanced classes in the high school, and many other additions. 

Great that high school administrators took a tour of other county high schools, learned that East Ramapo has shorter class periods than anyone else, and advanced a proposal to increase instructional time and electives for kids. 

Great that Dr. Wortham took feedback during the budget meeting and pledged to address areas, such as parent engagement, not currently covered by the new budget plan. 

Dr. Wortham and I don’t quite agree about what restorative justice requires — she’s focused on prevention, whereas I also see a need for positive intervention — but I believe her data-driven, alignment-focused, growth-mindset-fueled approach does reflect strong school reform practice. I will take her up on her offer to walk through the schools and share more of what I observe. 

In the meantime, I encourage everyone to participate in the two other community budget meetings (March 21 and 23 at 6 pm at 105 S. Madison) to share what you want to see in district schools.

One observation: I understand the obsession with positivity, but it sometimes can create more skepticism than it aims to snuff out. For example, I wanted to hear the liabilities of a “unit lunch” schedule, which I imagine could confuse students whose class sequence would change every day, but administrators focused on cheerleading the plan. Trust the public with the good, the bad and the ugly. Maybe it seems counter-intuitive, but that approach will breed more good will than a happy dance alone.

3) State Budget Update

Education is a key part of the NY State budget as well. Each year, budget proposals are made by the Governor, the Senate, and the Assembly. This year, only the Assembly version will fully fund foundation aid. Foundation aid is distributed based on student poverty, students with disabilities and English language learners.

An attempt to amend the Senate Education Budget to include the full foundation aid was not supported by the IDC (Independent Democratic Caucus) of which our own Senator Carlucci is a member.

According to the Alliance for Quality Education, “East Ramapo is owed $20.6 million in Foundation Aid under existing law and would receive this under the plan passed by the State Assembly. However, the Carlucci-IDC-GOP proposal would gut the Foundation Aid formula and dramatically shortchange East Ramapo.”

Tell Senator Carlucci you want NY State to live up to its obligation to fully fund foundation aid now: http://org.salsalabs.com/o/425/p/dia/action4/common/public/?action_KEY=21384 

4) MLK Center Event April 2

The MLK Center will hold it’s 26th Annual Awards Benefit Gala on Sunday, April 2nd, from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at The Clubhouse at Patriot Hills.

This year they are honoring two from East Ramapo, Dr. Wortham and Mr. Arciniegas!

Purchase your tickets today: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-martin-luther-king-multi-purpose-centers-2017-annual-awards-benefit-gala-tickets-32818662503

For more information call 845-425-8910

Fundraiser Rescheduled

Power of Ten Special Edition:

The fundraiser scheduled for Thursday March 16 has been rescheduled to Thursday March 30. Sign up on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/390397481316690/

What: Fundraiser for East Ramapo school board campaign
When: March 30 at 7 PM 
Where: 23 Dogwood Lane, Pomona

If you cannot make the event, you can still donate online at: https://eastramapotogether.wordpress.com/

Polling places will not change this year. The school board president has removed the plan from his agenda.

Please sign up to help this year’s school board and budget campaign at http://www.strongeastramapo.org/

 

Standing UP!

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

  1. Our Candidates
  2. March 14 Board Meeting
  3. March 16 Fundraiser

1) Our Candidates

May 16, 2017 is the Board and Budget Vote.

We are standing up for ALL of our children!

What about you? Can we count on you to participate?

Our Candidates:

2) March 14 Board Meeting

The East Ramapo Board wants to switch people’s polling places eight weeks before the election. That will cause chaos and confusion, and the NAACP is opposing this decision. Tell the board what you think by signing this petition Then come to the board meeting on March 14 at 7:30 p.m. at 105 S. Madison to raise your voice!

3) March 16 Fundraiser

PLEASE JOIN US IN SUPPORTING OUR EAST RAMAPO STUDENTS!
WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

Our 2017 Candidates

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Our Candidates for 2017
2. Campaign Fundraiser
3. New Data Section

1) Our Candidates

Thank you to all who helped make the 2017 forum a success. Everyone was very impressed with 10 fantastic people willing to serve on our school board! They all presented exactly the wide variety of skills and backgrounds that the Center for Public Education says are necessary for a well functioning school board. 

Since 2009, we have come together each year to coordinate our efforts. We have helped 18 candidates to run, 5 of which have been successful. The only prerequisite is to be a team player.

This year the room was packed and many questions were asked. “How will you accomplish your goals as a minority member on a board?” and “Will you support the team even if you are not a candidate this year?” were among many questions asked and answered. At the end of the evening we all wished that every one of these smart and generous people could win a seat on our board this year! But that will have to be a multi-year campaign as there are only three seats up each year.

Those who have had experience running campaigns review all the information and put together a slate and backups (In case a candidate can’t continue, for instance illness, it has happened three times!). Those who were willing to be candidates are automatically backups, and often become the hardest working volunteers – which is the best preparation for being a candidate when the next election comes up in 364 days. 

The three candidates chosen by the review committee this year are Allie Manigo, Chevon DosReis, and Eric Goodwin. We wish them all the best of luck and promise to work hard to elect them to our school board.

The others who offered to serve this year were Joan Golden, Jordan Spells, Malcolm Stewart, Benny Everheart, Kat Cancio, Brandon Smith and Jean Fields. 

We all want to support better education for our children (we consider every child in the district as ours) and an election campaign offers opportunity for concrete action, such as putting up signs, making calls, knocking on doors, passing out literature, making a financial contribution. 

We do need to remember that all of these actions have the potential benefit of helping our neighbors become more informed, involved, and active, whatever the outcome of the election. Our participation at the event and in the campaign is our way of showing our children and our neighbors that an active life is meaningful.

2) Campaign Fundraiser

Every election has expenses. We hope you will give generously to the campaign. But it doesn’t have to be all pain and sacrifice! We are planning a real fun and enjoyable event! 

This evening is going to be big! Come for the music of Spyro Gyra’s Jeremy Wall and Motherland Rhythms’ Arthur Lorde, hear from our 2017 candidates, enjoy light refreshments, and help us reach our $5,000 goal for campaign supplies. RSVP at www.strongeastramapo.org/rsvp now.

Thursday, March 16 at 7 p.m.
The Nagin Residence, 23 Dogwood Lane, Pomona

If you cannot make it but wish to donate, please visit: 
https://eastramapotogether.wordpress.com/donate-to-the-cause/

3) New Data Section

For those readers that just never get enough data, I am starting a new section of just data without analysis. Maybe you will have your own analysis of the data presented! I would like to hear from you. The first set of data is now on the Power of Ten webpage at: http://poweroften.us/fact-sheet/book-expenses/

Call To Action

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Call to Action
2. Board Meeting Tomorrow
3. Candidate’s Forum Thursday

1) Call to Action from Strong East Ramapo

— If you think it’s a problem that East Ramapo plans to switch people’s polling places eight weeks before a critical election
— If you think it’s a problem that East Ramapo’s plan does not involve addressing why certain poll sites (like the Kurtz Center in congested, parking-unfriendly downtown Spring Valley) are underused by voters
— If you think it’s a problem that the basis of East Ramapo’s plan to improve district voting is to make it more convenient for Monsey and Kaser voters to vote by opening up polls at Bais Shifra Miriam (229 Maple) and Elmwood Elementary, around the corner from each other
— If you think it’s a problem that President Yehuda Weissmandl is saying that Dennis Walcott told the district to address the supposed “overcrowded” polling sites in Monsey, when Walcott’s report in fact asks the district to “review underused polling sites and identify new sites for the 2016 election to ensure greater accessibility to voting locations,” ironically under the section titled “rebuilding community trust”
— If you think it’s a problem that President Weissmandl wrote the NAACP that the “district is not aware of any difficulties encountered by voters in getting to the current polls…this was not noted in the monitors’ report” when accessibility issues of underused polling sites was the whole point of Walcott’s statement
— If you think it’s a problem that Weissmandl is citing Walcott as the source of this plan, but the district has failed to take Walcott’s larger recommendation of appointing an independent election monitor

If any of these things bother you, please call the District Clerk at 845-577-6015 today, and ask her to leave a message with the board: the polling plan is pre-mature and should not move forward. You can also complete our petition here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSecNx6LFAa2PYwfosbPQGBNmoroRywPqmzlBWbE7gVwGMIUBQ/viewform

2) Board Meeting Tomorrow (Tuesday Feb 14)

Many people will be celebrating Valentine’s Day, but some of us will ask for an excuse from holiday obligations to attend this meeting. If you go, please arrive early and fill in the card for public speaking. The meeting is at 7:30 at 105 S. Madison Ave.

We believe that the proposed plan will create confusion and does not make polling places more accessible as recommended by the state monitor. Your presence and comments do make a difference! If you are unable to come this Tuesday, there will be another opportunity on February 28. Please mark your calendar.

3) Candidate’s Forum Thursday

Power of Ten will be helping to introduce those interested in running for school board to the community at a forum This Thursday February 16 at 7:00 PM at the Martin Luther King Center, 110 Bethune Blvd in Spring Valley. The purpose of the forum is to discuss the issues concerning the quality education in our district, and to give those who would like to run for school board in 2016 an opportunity to present themselves to the community.

RSVP to the event on Facebook

There are certainly many people in East Ramapo who are qualified to serve on the board. 

The Center for Public Education says an effective school board member should:

  • inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the local public schools
  • enhance the mix of skills and backgrounds on the board and help represent the diversity of the community
  • have the commitment to do what is right for all children, even in the face of opposition

Does this sound like someone you know? Or maybe you might be interested yourself?

Those interested in being a candidate should fill in this google form

Betrayal of Trust

Power of Ten Update

In this Issue:

1. Issues and Candidates Forum
2. Betrayal of Trust
3. Scholarship Opportunity

1) Issues and Candidates Forum

This is your opportunity to hear from the people who are interested in running for school board, and to discuss the issues that will affect our children and our community.  

Thursday February 16 at 7:00 PM at the Martin Luther King Center, 110 Bethune Blvd in Spring Valley.

2) Betrayal of Trust

“Most disturbing, Board appears to favor the interests of private schools over public schools.” These are the words of Hank Greenberg in his report titled “East Ramapo: A School District in Crisis”.

His recommendation for a monitor with veto power was never implemented. Instead, the state appointed another monitor who made recommendations. One of these was to address the trust issue related to the voting process.

The record shows that inconvenient polling places are directly correlated to reduced turnout. Monitor Walcott said the district should add more polling sites to increase participation. One small catch: those areas that lack polling places are in neighborhoods that support public education.

Would the board take the monitor’s advice to “address significant trust issues”? Or would they continue to “favor the interests of private schools”?

The school board has turned the monitor’s recommendation on its head. Instead of opening polling places more accessible to the public education supporters, they have proposed opening more locations in areas dominated by private school supporters. 

There are two upcoming school board meetings where you can express your opinion on this subject. They are February 14 (yes Valentine’s Day!) and February 28. Please come out to one (or both) and express your opinion on the proposed polling place changes. School board meetings are held at 105 S. Madison Ave in Spring Valley, they generally start at 7:30 PM. Its usually smart to check the district website for changes.

3) Scholarship Opportunity

Green Meadow Waldorf School is offering a limited number of scholarships to local students entering Grades 9-12 in the 2017-18 school year. This is a great opportunity for students who otherwise could not afford to attend this local independent school.

You can learn more about Green Meadow at www.gmws.org. There will be Introductory Sessions on February 17, March 10, and April 21.

Please contact Melissa McDonagh, Admissions Director for Grades 1-12, with any questions or to apply. She can be reached at 845.356.2514 x302 or mmcdonagh@gmws.org.

 

Call for Candidates

Power of Ten Update

Special Edition: Call for Candidates

The school board and budget vote will take place on May 16. Strong East Ramapo will be working hard to get the vote out to pass the budget. Power of Ten will work to identify and assist candidates for the school board positions.

There are certainly many people in East Ramapo who are qualified to serve on the board. 

The Center for Public Education says an effective school board member should:

  • inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the local public schools
  • enhance the mix of skills and backgrounds on the board and help represent the diversity of the community
  • have the commitment to do what is right for all children, even in the face of opposition

Does this sound like someone you know? Or maybe you might be interested yourself?

Those interested in being a candidate should fill in this google form

Two upcoming events:

1) Strong East Ramapo will hold a Volunteer Kickoff event this Thursday, February 2, at Finkelstein Library at 7 p.m. They need YOUR HELP to get out the vote for this year’s CRITICAL school budget vote on May 16. Please let them know you are going by RSVPing here: www.strongeastramapo.org/action

2) Power of Ten will be helping to introduce those interested in running for school board to the community at a forum on Thursday February 16 at 7:00 PM at the Martin Luther King Center, 110 Bethune Blvd in Spring Valley. The purpose of the forum is to discuss the issues concerning the quality education in our district, and to give those who would like to run for school board in 2016 an opportunity to present themselves to the community.

A New Beginning?

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Strong East Ramapo Volunteer Kickoff
2. 2017 Candidates Forum February 16
3. Monitors Report – A New Beginning

1) Strong East Ramapo Volunteer Kickoff

Strong East Ramapo will hold a Volunteer Kickoff event this Thursday, February 2, at Finkelstein Library at 7 p.m.

They need YOUR HELP to get out the vote for this year’s CRITICAL school budget vote on May 16.

Please let them know you are going by RSVPing here: www.strongeastramapo.org/action

2) 2017 Candidates Forum February 16

What kind of person makes a good school board member?

The Center for Public Education says the person should:

  • inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the local public schools
  • enhance the mix of skills and backgrounds on the board and help represent the diversity of the community
  • have the commitment to do what is right for all children, even in the face of opposition

Does this sound like someone you know? Or maybe you might be interested yourself?

Power of Ten will be helping to introduce those interested in running for school board to the community.

Those interested in being a candidate should fill in this google form

What: 2017 School Board Candidates Forum
Where: Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center, 110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY 10977
When: Thursday February 16 at 7:00 PM

The purpose of the forum is to discuss the issues concerning the quality education in our district, and to give those who would like to run for school board in 2016 an opportunity to present themselves to the community.

3) Monitor’s Report

The Monitors appointed by NY State have issued a report, titled “A New Beginning” 

The report includes progress which has been made as a result of state intervention, as well as continuing problems and concerns. The monitors recommend continued oversight by NY State.

I would like to thank every reader of Power of Ten for your continuing activism. It is only because YOU wrote a letter, or made a call, or got on that bus with Strong East Ramapo, or attended a school board meeting or community forum, that we have now turned a corner. There is still a lot of work to be done, but there are many hands and voices ready for action.

The work which is before us at this present time:

  • Hold the superintendent accountable to present a budget that fully funds the educational needs of the students. According to the Monitor’s Report “The district must increase local revenues faster than the tax cap allows if the district is going to restore programs that were cut over the last nine years.” 
  • Get out the vote to pass that budget
  • Elect school board members who are committed to restoring East Ramapo as the best school district in Rockland County.

I know I can count on every one of you to get involved this year. I am looking forward to seeing you at the upcoming events.

Steven White, Editor of The Power of Ten

Support Advocates For Justice

Power of Ten

Special Edition: Support Advocates For Justice

Advocates for Justice has acted for East Ramapo parents and taxpayers since 2012 in a constitutional claim against the school board.  The lawsuit challenged the board’s use of public funds for private religious schools to the detriment of public school children. The case has involved many depositions, motions and appeals, and discovery of over 200,000 documents.  A4J won most key motions for the plaintiffs, 3 of which were appealed to the Federal Court of Appeals. The plaintiffs lost the last appeal in a split 2-1 decision by the court.  The majority ruled that the student plaintiffs did not have standing to bring the lawsuit against the school board because they did not suffer “direct injury” from the board’s actions.  There was a strong dissent by the third judge on the panel. Constitutional scholars advised us not seek appeal to the US Supreme Court, because considering the current make-up of the Court, it might issue a decision creating a bad precedent.

The taxpayers still have standing to continue suing the school board, but  the decision has been made to resolve the lawsuit.  The litigation was intended as one piece, along with political advocacy, in an overall effort to achieve positive change in the district. There is still more to do, but much has been achieved:  removal of the superintendent, ending illegal payments to private religious schools, appointment of a monitor to oversee actions of the school board, securing office of civil rights resolution agreements, and ensuring district compliance with the federal and state education laws.

A4J is a non-profit, which represents working people pro bono, advocating for equal rights and social justice.  They rely on foundation grants and individual donations.  Although A4J has not charged legal fees, they have incurred significant expenses related to the East Ramapo lawsuit.  A4J needs donor support to help cover these costs. 

If you would like to make a contribution to A4J, you may give online at:
http://www.advocatesforjustice.net/east-ramapo.html

or by check to:

Advocates for Justice
225 Broadway, Ste. 1902
New York NY 10007
Attn:  Liz Turner

Bond Vote: YES

Power of Ten Update

Special Edition: Bond Vote December 6

There will be a vote on December 6 to approve spending $60 million for renovations to school buildings and grounds. A YES Vote will benefit the children.

The NY State Education Department has responded to the NAACP request that they oversee the process. They say it is their “intent to provide the oversight and technical assistance to ensure the project is a success.”

While it is reassuring to hear that NYSED intends to do its job, the NAACP letter also expressed concerns about a repeat of past abuses by the school board. 

What Abuses?

In recent years the school board has closed and sold two public schools (Hillcrest and Colton). They did this despite increasing enrollment and over the protests of educators and parents. At the time, one school board member said “buildings do not educate children.” The buildings that they deemed excess and converted to yeshivas were the only two that were not on the state list of buildings in need of repair. 

Pressure to convert public schools to yeshivas has not abated.

There is massive pressure from developers to create segregated neighborhoods that require infrastructure including non-public schools. According to the lawyer for one yeshiva, there is competition with residential builders for land, and “the pressure is intensified” when the East Ramapo school district hasn’t “sold any of its sites as surplus.” 

Why vote YES?

The children need well functioning buildings. Passing these resolutions will result in better school environments for our children.

Yes, the school board could turn around and try close a newly renovated building, and sell it to their friends for pennies on the dollar, but we cannot allow ourselves to descend into hopelessness and despair.

Public school advocates now include: Strong East Ramapo, Padres Unidos of East Ramapo, Rockland Clergy for Social Justice, We The People, The NAACP, Advocates for Justice, East Ramapo Underground, and more. Elected officials at the local, state and national level have become involved. The school board has earned national and even international notoriety for their callous treatment of children.

In short, now is not the time to give up hope!

ONE MORE THING:

Each year, when the school budget comes up, voters where the majority of students go to yeshivas vote NO for the public school budget. Will they vote YES for the renovations? Are they hoping these buildings will one day be converted to yeshivas, like Hillcrest and Colton? How can they vote down money for teachers, and allow it for buildings, while at the same time we are told “buildings do not educate children”?

Despite this apparent hypocrisy, we must offer ALL the voters a chance to support BOTH sound schools buildings AND the educational programming they need to complete their education and be college ready.

The next vote will be in May. Superintendent Wortham must offer a budget that is based on the students needs. Just as ALL the voters are expected to support building renovations, ALL the voters should be expected to support quality programming. That includes small class sizes, collaborative classes for special needs, business classes, vocational classes, advanced placement, as well as support staff such as social workers, guidance counselors, etc.

These are needed for our children. There is no such thing as someone else’s children. They are all ours. They are our future. They are your legacy and mine, together. If there are some who don’t see it, we still can’t walk away from it. Thanks to all of the Power of Ten readers, I know there are many public education advocates working for justice in East Ramapo.

Teachers ask for State Protection

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Teachers ask for State Protection
2. Action Opportunity: Stop Town Tax Ripoff
3. NAACP: Conditional Support for School Bond

1) Teachers ask for State Protection

In a Community View in the Journal News, the president of the Rockland County Teachers Association calls on the state to change rules for funding private-school programs: State must prevent the ‘next’ East Ramapo

This is one of the the most important letters ever published on the subject. It is worth a subscription to the Journal News just to read this one letter!

The letter is on behalf of the Rockland BOCES Staff Association, the Clarkstown Teachers Association, the Nanuet Teachers Association, the Nyack Teachers Association, the North Rockland Teachers Association, the Education Association of South Orangetown, the Pearl River Teachers Association and the Ramapo Teachers Association.

2) Action Opportunity: Stop Town Tax Ripoff

In the last edition of The Power of Ten, I reported that the Town of Ramapo is charging East Ramapo an estimated $1.2 million per year for collecting taxes, a service that other towns provide for free.

The superintendent of Ramapo’s other school district, Ramapo Central, has written a Community View in The Journal News asking readers to tell Cuomo to sign a bill that empowers school districts to collect their own property taxes. This bill has already been passed and is waiting for the governor’s signature.

Action Opportunity: Please go to the following link: www.ramapocentral.net/district/advocacy which has been set up to assist the community in reaching out to the governor.

3) NAACP: Conditional Support for School Bond

Willie Trotman, the president of the Spring Valley NAACP, has written a letter to the Journal News giving conditional support for the upcoming bond vote. His support is conditional because the school board just sold two schools which had been renovated as public schools, and then opposed legislation which would prevent them from doing it again.

No one knows better than Mr. Trotman the terrible impact that dilapidated schools are having on our youth. He is asking the state in this letter to guarantee that they will prevent our public education system from again being the victim of real estate speculators.

The East Ramapo school board is a pariah, a rogue board which has abandoned its mission. They cannot complete the function of “trustees” if they cannot be “trusted”. They haven’t admitted wrongdoing and they haven’t changed their ways. They will have to be watched every second until an alternative governance system is implemented.

The school board could have guaranteed a pass for the bond vote, and extra state aid just by allowing more state oversight. The state could have passed the oversight over the objections of the board.

So the first two “NO” votes for the bond are really coming from the school board and NY State.

The NAACP deserves credit for putting the kids first. They are saying “YES” even if it is conditional. Right now they are down 2-1, but the state could still step up and provide the oversight Mr. Trotman is asking for. That second “YES” from NY could be the deciding factor.

What Happened to Your School Tax Dollars?

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Vote on Tuesday Nov 8
2. Yeshivas get Tax Dollars – for What?
3. Town of Ramapo Takes from School Taxes – Why?

1) Vote on Tuesday Nov 8

There are many important local elections this year. A complete list is available from The Journal News at http://www.lohud.com/story/news/politics/elections/2016/10/21/whos-on-ballot-rockland-candidates/92408902/

Preserve Ramapo has also endorsed several candidates this year. They are: Ellen Jaffee, State Assembly 97th District; Tom Deprisco, State Senate 38th District; Ken Zebrowski, State Assembly 96th District; Howard Gerber, Rockland County Court Judge; Pat Loftus, Rockland County Court Judge; and Bill Weber, Ramapo Town Council.

There will also be a candidates forum hosted by the NAACP and JAMCARR:

Thursday, November 3rd , 2016 @ 6:30PM
Louis Kurtz Center
Main / Madison Avenue
Spring Valley, NY

Correction: In the last issue I misidentified the Assembly District of Ellen Jaffee. She is in the 97th AD. Please do not fail to vote for Ellen Jaffee, if you live in her district. If you do not, find out how you can help her campaign by visiting her webpage at http://www.ellenjaffee.com/

2) Yeshiva Parents to Dr. Wortham: Educate Every Child

NY State law and the regulations of the Commissioner of Education clearly place the responsibility for compulsory education of minors on the desk of the Superintendent of Schools. On October 26th, Naftuli Moster, an advocate for parents of students in East Ramapo yeshivas, spoke at the school board meeting and officially put Dr. Wortham and the board on notice that many, if not most students in yeshivas in East Ramapo are not receiving an education as required by law.

Please go to http://poweroften.us/ and sign the letter to Dr. Wortham asking her to prevent scare education resources from flowing to institutions where education is not provided.

3) Town of Ramapo takes money from East Ramapo schools

As reported in The Journal News, the Town of Ramapo is charging East Ramapo an estimated $1.2 million per year for collecting taxes. By comparison, the Town of Orangetown charges Pearl River only $60,000, and the Town of Clarkstown does not charge a fee at all!

Read the whole story: Rockland school district fights town tax fees

VOTE for Ellen Jaffee on November 8

Power of Ten Update

Special Edition: VOTE for Ellen Jaffee on November 8

If you are a resident of NY Assembly District 97, you have the privilege of voting to re-elect Ellen Jaffee

Assembly Member Jaffee has stood with the students and families of East Ramapo as we fought for state oversight of our school board. During the many trips we made to Albany, other assembly members often remarked at how persistent and persuasive she was. She is also sponsoring legislation to require that children who are not enrolled in public school are receiving an education.

For these reasons, I strongly urge every reader to vote for Ellen Jaffee on November 8. If you don’t live in her district, you can still help by donating or volunteering on her website: www.ellenjaffee.com

 

 

Board’s Actions Cost District Millions

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Full Day Kindergarten Begins
2. Board’s Actions Cost District Millions
3. Yeshiva pays $9 million for Temple Beth El

1) Full Day Kindergarten Begins

It was only three years ago that the district announced they were doing away with Kindergarten entirely. Now, because of constant pressure from parents and civil rights groups, ALL East Ramapo Kindergarten classes will be full-day!

The Journal News: Full-day K begins Oct. 6

Also, some of our favorite Art and Music teachers are coming back this year! We know  the children will appreciate that!

Special thanks are owed to Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee for her tireless work in securing the funds to make this happen. November 8 she is up for re-election, please make sure you get out to vote!

2) Board’s Actions Cost District Millions

Several actions of the school board have resulted in millions of dollars lost to the children’s education. Not only have these actions harmed the children, they have resulted in expense to taxpayers all over New York State who are now paying for services to East Ramapo.  Strong East Ramapo reports:

“In 2011, the School District entered into an energy performance contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. to install numerous energy efficient controls and devices throughout the School District’s buildings. It seems that no actual contract was signed and approved by both parties. The School District was unable to secure financing for the project and was unaware that work had commenced. Johnson Controls claims to have done close to $1.9 million of work. The School District believed it should not be required to pay Johnson Controls the required amount as funding was not secured prior to Johnson commencing work done. This matter proceeded to mediation. The mediation session took place on Monday, September 12, 2016. There is now a Board approved agreement between the School District and Johnson Controls to pay $1 million over a five-year period starting in fiscal year 2017-18. The School District’s 2017-18 proposed budget will include the first payment of $200,000.”

In 2015, the East Ramapo School Board sued its insurer, New York Schools Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR), to cover $2.23 million in legal fees the district owed its defense teams, the New York State Supreme Court ruled last year that the district was overcharged by $2 million, saying “a reasonable fee for the legal services provided is $187,500.”

“In April 2016 New York State Insurance Reciprocal (NYSIR) made a decision to drop coverage for East Ramapo Central School District. This decision negatively impacted the School District as it had to seek new insurance coverage in a very short time notice. There was no single insurer that offered to commit in insuring our School District. The insurance costs increased by over $900,000 on annual basis. The School District will continue working to identify efficiencies to accommodate this additional cost for the fiscal year 2017-18 and beyond.”

This negligence is inexcusable: $2 million in overcharged legal fees, $1 million per year in extra insurance costs, $1 million dollars in unauthorized spending for “energy performance” work that no one seemed to know was happening. That’s $4 million alone that could have been spent on children’s needs. Students, families, taxpayers deserve much, much better.

3) Yeshiva pays $9 million for Temple Beth El

The Journal News: Auctioned Reform temple to become Satmar school

Temple Beth El was sold at auction. More than 100 buyers expressed interest, and four made bids over $8 million. The property included a 32,000 square-foot building on a 5.6 acre lot. The price is attributed to ongoing high demand for space by nonpublic schools.

Compare this to Colton Elementary, a 62,000 square-foot building on 15 acres, which the East Ramapo board sold for $6.6 million (minus rental credits), or Hillcrest Elementary, a 62,000 square-foot building on 11 acres, which was sold for $4.8 million. The value of these schools was estimated as over $10 million each. Even that amount now seems low in comparison.

Summary:

  • Temple Beth El: 32,000 sq ft. on 5.6 acres: $9 million
  • Two East Ramapo Schools: 120,000 sq ft. on 27 acres: $11 million

Both East Ramapo schools were sold to yeshivas by a school board that was found to favor the interests of yeshivas by a state monitor. The sales were closed while the monitor was doing his investigation.  Attorney General Schneiderman was aware of fraud by an appraiser hired by the district, but has not acted regarding the school board or the yeshivas (yet). 

While Dr. Wortham and Commissioner Elia and the teachers and parents and advocates are all working so hard and so diligently to improve the educational experiences of the children, we must assume that the school board is continuing its agenda to hand over more district real estate to their friends at bargain prices. There needs to be some fundamental change in the governance of the district to restore trust. 

Knowledge is Power

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Vote on Sept 13
2. Public Hearing Sept 7
3. Knowledge is Power

1) Vote on Sept 13

With all the attention in the media focused on the Presidential Election, many people may not be aware that September 13 is also an Election Day. This year, we have two races (at least) in which East Ramapo is an important election issue.

Ellen Jaffee has been a leader in the effort to get NY State to intervene in East Ramapo. She represents the 97th NY Assembly District, parts of which are in East Ramapo. She is being challenged in the Sept. 13 Primary Election,  She is very well respected by her colleagues, which has kept East Ramapo high on the agenda in Albany. As we continue to pressure Albany to intervene, her skills and reputation will be indispensable.

Krystal Serrano is running in the September 13 Primary for the 98th Assembly District. Like Ellen Jaffee, she believes that NY State must do more to protect public education in East Ramapo. Her opponent is the former East Ramapo School Board member whose tenure was marked by the closure and sale of public schools, massive escalation of legal bills, and schemes to use public dollars to pay for private tuition.

Please do not fail to go out on Sept. 13 and vote! If you don’t live in one of these districts, you probably know at least one person who does. Please make a personal effort to encourage people to vote for these two supporters of public education.

A Candidate Forum will be held THIS THURSDAY:

NAACP and JAMCCAR Candidate Forum
Thursday, September 8th, 2016 @ 6:30PM
Louis Kurtz Center
9 N. Main St.
Spring Valley, NY

2) Public Hearing Sept 7

In June, NY State passed a law to bring $3 million in extra state aid to East Ramapo.

The district is planning to use the money to provide:

Full-day Kindergarten for ALL
Various Arts Programming in Elementary School
More Collaborative Classes

Full details are available on the district web page

There will be a public hearing THIS WEDNESDAY: 

Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 7:30
105 S. Madison Ave
Spring Valley.

3) Knowledge is Power

You may have noticed that Power of Ten Updates are not always keeping up with all the latest developments.

I recommend that everyone sign up for the Strong East Ramapo list, which provides more frequent updates with more detailed reports. Strong East Ramapo also has a FaceBook group which has even more info.

 

Board Annuls Election Results – Community Responds

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. MLK Center Party was a success!
2. Board Annuls Election Results – Community Responds
3. Petition for Equivalent Education Continues to Grow

1) MLK Center Party was a success!

Thanks to our sponsors, committee members and professionals who lent a hand, and the nearly 200 people who came out on a rainy day to lend their support.

If you missed the party, you can still support the center. Click HERE to donate.

 

2) Board Annuls Election Results – Community Responds

The East Ramapo School Board has annulled the election of Sabrina Charles-Pierre. The board president claims that he forgot that Sabrina needed to be sworn in within 30 days after she was elected, which is required when an election is to fill a vacancy. During the past five years there have been several elections to fill vacancies, and the process of swearing in within 30 days was never forgotten. Both board president Weissmandl and trustee Grossman were elected to fill vacancies in 2014, and both were sworn in within 30 days. 

Strong East Ramapo has started a petition calling on Weissmandl to resign. Please sign and share.

There will be a rally at the next board meeting. Please do not fail to be there!

Details of the Rally: Tuesday, August 9 at 7:00 PM at the East Ramapo District Offices, 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley NY.

3) Petition for Equivalent Education Continues to Grow

Attention to the issue of equivalent education continues to get mainstream media attention:

The NY Daily News: EXCLUSIVE: 1,500 sign petition urging Mayor de Blasio to approve mandatory science, math and history lessons for Orthodox Jewish students

Please sign the petition today!

 

Legendary Party Sunday (Not Saturday!); Pressure Mounts for Equivalent Education

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Legendary Party Sunday (Not Saturday!)
2. Pressure Mounts for Equivalent Education

1) Legendary Party Sunday (Not Saturday!)

I don’t want you to miss this Party! It will be LEGENDARY!!!

That’s why I am publishing this important CORRECTION: The MLK Center Summer Sand and Soul Party will be SUNDAY (Not Saturday as incorrectly reported in the last edition).

Full Details: http://mlkmpc.org/2016/06/28/summer-sand-soul-a-day-party-with-a-purpose-fundraiser/

2) Pressure Mounts for Equivalent Education

The movement to ensure equivalent education in New York is gaining momentum. The YAFFED petition now has over 1,400 signers! Have you signed yet? Please sign and share!

Also, several important articles on this subject have been published recently:

Haaretz: Bill De Blasio Must Not Let ultra-Orthodox Jewish Votes Override His Duty to the Law

City Limits: Ultra-Orthodox Yeshivas Need to Meet Their Educational Obligations

The Forward: My Hasidic Students Need You To Support Enforced Secular Education

The Forward: The Flawed Legal Reasoning That Says We Shouldn’t Force Secular Studies on Hasidic Jews

The Journal News: E. Ramapo schools improve, private schools’ ills linger

The Journal News: Hasidic teen risks shunning for schooling

The Journal News: Some E. Ramapo yeshivas fail to prepare pupils in secular studies

 

Why I Care

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Why I Care (Petition!)
2. Life is Not All Hard Work (Party!)

1) Why I Care

Our human family has been through a lot. Not so long ago we hadn’t figured out how to harness electricity. The smallest thing we knew of was the smallest thing you could see with your naked eye. No one knew how far away the sun or the stars were. Diseases were mysterious; there was no way of knowing anything as tiny as a microbe existed, or that it could kill you.

All of the knowledge and technology that we use and take for granted everyday was obtained through magnificent effort, by men and women who spent their lives increasing the library of human knowledge and achievement. They did this often in the most difficult of circumstances, overcoming war and oppression and ignorance.

This body of work has allowed us to travel, to communicate, and to fend off disease. The legacy belongs equally to all human beings. It is just as wrong to deny a child the light of knowledge as it is to deny a lifesaving medicine derived from that knowledge. One of the greatest contributions of science is the knowledge that we are all one family, linked by our 23 pairs of DNA.

This great storehouse of knowledge is an even more essential inheritance than any notarized will. Every one of us shares in the duty of executor of this greatest inheritance. This is why public education cannot be some line item on anyone’s balance sheet.

This is why ALL schools need to be safe, inviting, hospitable centers of learning and inquiry. This is why the state has a ethical duty, and in NY a constitutional obligation, to ensure that every child receives this inheritance, whether the child is in a public or non-public educational institution or in the home.

Not every child is receiving a quality education. The reason for this embarrassment is lack of political will. There are still too many people who don’t see all children as OUR children, and say “why should I pay for someone else’s child?”

There are even people who oppose education (but who hypocritically use all the technologies that are generated by it).

Malala was shot in the face for going to school. There is a group called Boko Haram in Nigeria whose name actually means “Western education is forbidden”. Here in NY the Grand Rabbi of the Kiryas Joel Satmar recently characterized subjects taught in public school as “disgusting”. He said he is glad that NY State has “turned a blind eye” to children in yeshivas who aren’t learning “general studies” (the subjects most people call English, Math, Science, and History).

There are many organizations advocating for better education. Malala survived the attempt on her life and has gone on to help educate many girls in her home country and around the world, including victims of Boko Haram. YAFFED is an organization in NY holding officials accountable for their duties under NY law.

Power of Ten has consistently advocated for the whole community to step up to our joint responsibility to the children enrolled in public education. This includes not only exposing the abuses of the East Ramapo School Board, but also supporting supplemental programs offered by organizations such as the Martin Luther King Center in Spring Valley.

Power of Ten has also asked readers to support Malala in her quest to provide education to every girl, and now to support YAFFED in its work to bring quality education to NY yeshivas. This is why I am making this personal appeal to you right now, to sign the YAFFED petition.

Please sign today: http://yaffed.nationbuilder.com/petition

2) Life is Not All Hard Work

It’s a fact. You have to take some time out to relax. Here is a chance to enjoy some great music, food, and company, and at the same time support supplemental education at the MLK Center!

It’s happening THIS SUNDAY, so get your tickets NOW: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-sand-soul-a-day-party-with-a-purpose-tickets-26080370089

 

YAFFED Education Petition on Fire; MLK Party Will Be Legendary!

The Power of Ten

Extra Edition!

In the last issue, I brought to your attention two very important items. In the past three days, the response has been amazing:

1) The petition for equivalent education for yeshiva students already has over 800 signers!!!

If you have not yet signed, please do so now at http://yaffed.nationbuilder.com/sign_the_petition

2) The Kurz Family Foundation has generously created a matching sponsor donation for the Martin Luther King Center Summer Sand and Soul Party in Piermont. That means 100% of your ticket price goes to provide services for children at the Center!!! This is not some rubber chicken event, this is a real blast featuring legendary DJ Ruben (the Bull) Toro!!!

Get your tickets now at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/summer-sand-soul-a-day-party-with-a-purpose-tickets-26080370089

NY Intervenes for Public Students; Non-public Students Still Waiting

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Oversight is Law
2. Petition: All Children Deserve an Education
3. Summer, Sand & Soul – A Day Party With a Purpose

1) Oversight is Law

Governor Cuomo has signed the East Ramapo oversight bill, affirming that the district indeed merits special attention to ensure all students receive the education they deserve.

The law authorizes the State Commissioner of Education to oversee the upcoming district budget to meet students’ needs. In addition, the Commissioner can either approve or deny the sales of public assets, capital contracts over $100,000 and reductions in restored programs.

The district will also be eligible for three million dollars in aid for the 2016-17 school year. Here’s what will happen, according to the law:

— “In order to receive such funds, the school district in consultation with the monitor or monitors shall develop a long term strategic academic and fiscal improvement plan within 6 months from the enactment of this act.” This step is already underway.

— “Such plan shall be submitted to the commissioner for approval.”

— “The board of education of the East Ramapo central school district must conduct a public hearing on the expenditure plan and shall consider the input of the community before adopting such plan.”

— “The commissioner shall disburse the funds after receiving satisfactory evidence from the East Ramapo central school district that the district has complied with the approved comprehensive expenditure plan and spent such funds pursuant to the approved expenditure plan.”

More to come, but the acknowledgement from the Legislature and the Governor that East Ramapo needs state intervention to oversee its budget is an important part of rebuilding trust in our public institutions. While we will need to advocate for continued oversight and additional funds in the years to come (so these e-mail updates are far from over!), fixing the leaky pipe — even for one year, as a start — has been a critical priority in this journey to justice. Thank you to the lawmakers and advocates who made this milestone possible.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned through our advocacy, it’s that democracy is slow and hard. I cannot reiterate enough that we are not satisfied and we are not done. But I hope you’ll enjoy your fireworks a little bit more this time around. 

– Andrew Mandel

(editor’s note: this article was written by Mr. Mandel right before the 4th of July; the lateness is my fault, not his. If you are looking for a great way to celebrate, see the party invite below!)

2) Petition: All Children Deserve an Education

In less than two months, tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox and Hasidic boys will be returning to their Yeshivas where they will continue to be denied a basic education in English, math, sciences, and social studies

unless…

the NYC and NYS Departments of Education act quickly and begin enforcing the laws already in place that require non-public schools to provide an education that is “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools.

Will you speak out on behalf of those helpless children — who are about to be harmed for life — and demand that the city and state take quick action?

You can help make a difference by signing this petition and it only takes two minutes!

Sign the Petition Now

3) Summer, Sand & Soul – A Day Party With a Purpose

Join us for a fun summer day party benefiting critical Children’s Programs at the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center, serving children attending schools in the troubled school district of East Ramapo, NY. Our venue, Pier 701 Restaurant & Bar in Piermont, NY, has the largest waterfront deck in the region and its own private beach.

WHEN: Sunday, July 31, 2016 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
WHERE: Pier 701 Restaurant & Bar – 701 Piermont Avenue, Piermont, NY 10968

We are excited to feature legendary DJ Ruben (“the Bull”) Toro. Ruben was a fixture at the famous Club Shelter, and host of #1 rated Kiss Club Classics (Saturday night 98.7FM) and WBLS-FM. Expect a hot summer vibe, with classic soul, funk, house, old & new school favorites, and more.

Tickets will include a buffet-style meal with summer favorites. Feature drink specials will help make this soulful Sunday overlooking the water an event you won’t want to miss! Proceeds from this event will go directly to support the Center’s Children’s Programs.

Click Here to Purchase Your Tickets Today

2016 Election Results

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Election Results
2. StrongER Students Group Has Arrived!
3. Rockland Youth Film Festival Accepting Submissions
4. The Hudson Tribes Scholarship Fund

1) Election Results

Many thanks to those who assisted and voted this year. Once again, East Ramapo voter turnout was more than double the numbers from other school districts. One of the #4Women4ALL candidates, Sabrina Charles-Pierre, was elected to serve a three year term. 

The Budget passed in East Ramapo, as it did in all Rockland districts. It passed despite continuing lack of support from communities that largely send their children to private yeshivas (Jewish religious schools). At one polling place, support for the budget was only 8%!!!  No where else in Rockland was there such a poor showing of support for the public schools.

It was only because the turnout and support at other East Ramapo polling places was so high that the budget passed. Three East Ramapo polling places had over 70% of the voters casting a YES vote!!! No other district in Rockland (perhaps in NY State?) had a polling place with over 70% YES turnout. 

2) StrongER Students Group Has Arrived!

On May 20, East Ramapo students from Ramapo High School and Spring Valley High School held a rally for their education at Memorial Park in Spring Valley, NY. See what the students are saying on Tony Luciano’s YouTube channel. They are using ‪#‎strongERstudents‬ and ‪#‎onlyineastramapo‬. 

3) Rockland Youth Film Festival Accepting Submissions

Presented by the youth from Spring Valley Commons, the EELEF Center, and associated sponsors, RYFF is a yearly international film festival showcasing movies made by filmmakers 21 years old and younger from the Rockland County area and around the world.

RYFF is now accepting film submissions for their 2016 Film Festival.

More info: www.ryff.org/

4) The Hudson Tribes Scholarship Fund

LPZ Media and La Unidad Latina Foundation, in association with Tender Steps of NY, Inc., are partnering to engage and support the students impacted by the events in the East Ramapo School District.

Director John Marco Lopez of LPZ Media captured the sociopolitical divide that exists at the center of the struggling school district in a small Hudson Valley town just north of Manhattan through his film, “The Hudson Tribes”. Centered on the issues of public education in the United States, “The Hudson Tribes” serves as a call to action for the East Ramapo community.

LPZ Media and La Unidad Latina Foundation will award 4 scholarships to college bound students who have been adversely impacted by the political and social issues plaguing the East Ramapo School District.

The 4 scholarship recipients will receive $1,000 each, as a onetime award paid directly to the student.

We appreciate your support and assistance in distributing the scholarship applications to high school seniors within Ramapo High School and Spring Valley High School.

Application Link: “The Hudson Tribes” Scholarship Fund
www.lulf.org/apply

Application Deadline: June 9th, 2016

Vote Tuesday

Power of Ten Special Edition

Vote Tuesday

Message from our candidates:

1. Please mark your calendars and bring your friends to Vote on Tuesday May 17th!

2. We will be holding phone banks on Monday eve from 5:30 pm – 9:00 pmat El Mana restaurant on Main St Spring Valley (across from the Louis Kurtz Center) to remind voters of this important vote. Please let us know if you can help and bring your cell phone! We are also phone banking on Tuesday and can either send you a list or give it to you Monday eve.

3. Polls are open all day Tuesday 7:00 am – 10:00 pm at various locations , if you are available for any amount of time to hand out Palm cards outside of one of the sites please let us know where and when by sending an email to: qnskim39@aol.com

4. Lastly if you are aware of anyone who would like to vote but can not get there please call Kim at 914-282-1387 or Jean at 845-596-5713 and we will either drive them to the polls ourselves or arrange transportation.

Thank you and together we can do this and bring long awaited change and hope to our children and community!

Have a great day and take care,

Kim Foskew, Jean Fields, Natashia Morales, and Sabrina Charles-Pierre

Celebration, Remembrance, Service, Community

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. #4Women4ALL Event Today (Saturday)!
2. School Board Campaign Opportunity Tuesday April 19
3. Work, Eat, Play April 23
4. Celebration of the Life of Dr. Susan G. Gordon April 24

1) #4Women4ALL Event Today (Saturday)!

What: #4Women4ALL Door to Door Canvassing Day
When: Saturday April 16 at 1:30 PM
Where: Gene Levy Plaza, 200 N. Main St. Spring Valley NY (Parking lot near the police station)

Join us as we visit our neighbors to inform them about the May 17 school board and budget vote.

Sign up online: https://www.facebook.com/events/1729595517318054/

Campaign web page: https://eastramapotogether.wordpress.com/
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/2016EastRamapoCandidates/

2) School Board Campaign Opportunity Tuesday April 19

Can you spare a little time on Tuesday? Please sign up online now! 

3) Work, Eat, Play April 23

By: Families for Education, Keep Rockland Beautiful, and the MArtin Luther King Multi-purpose Center

When: April 23 at from 10 AM to 5 PM
Where: Martin Luther King Multi-purpose Center, 110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY

Two events in one day:

1. A Community Clean-up with Keep Rockland Beautiful from 10 am-1:30 pm
2. A Community BBQ from 1:30-5 pm.

Performances by:
The World Famous East Ramapo Marching Band
Dance Attitude
The MLK Step Team

Suggested donation/plate fee is $5.00 

4) Celebration of the Life of Dr. Susan G. Gordon April 24

Dr. Susan Gordon was one of the very special people who made East Ramapo a great school district. She served as president of the school board when the district was considered the best of the best. Sadly she passed away earlier this year.

There will be a celebration of her life on Sunday April 24 from 3:00 to 5:00 pm at the Cultural Arts Theater at Rockland Community College.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the CEJJES Institute in honor of Dr. Susan Gordon.

A personal note: I had the pleasure of attending when Dr. Susan G. Gordon and her husband Dr. Edmund W. Gordon were honored as “Living Landmarks” by the Rockland County Historical Society.  They were quite emphatic that the best way to honor their lifelong work is for each of us to become informed, involved and active. I encourage you to take that sentiment to heart. – Steven White, editor

Work, Eat, Play for a Better East Ramapo

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Thursday Community Forums Continue
2. #4Women4ALL Saturday!
3. Tender Steps April 17
4. Work, Eat, Play April 23
5. Fire Safety Instruction Reveals Tears in Social Fabric

1) Thursday Community Forums Continue

Join us once again as we continue our community conversation about East Ramapo issues. There will be presentations about the statewide push for all day Kindergarten. Meet the Candidates for School Board. Learn how you can be involved. See you there!

April 14 at 7:00 PM
Martin Luther King Multi-purpose Center
110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY

2) #4Women4ALL Saturday!

What: #4Women4ALL Door to Door Canvassing Day
When: Saturday April 16 at 1:30 PM
Where: Gene Levy Plaza, 200 N. Main St. Spring Valley NY (Parking lot near the police station)

Join us as we visit our neighbors to inform them about the May 17 school board and budget vote.

Sign up online: https://www.facebook.com/events/1729595517318054/

Campaign web page: https://eastramapotogether.wordpress.com/
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/2016EastRamapoCandidates/

3) Tender Steps April 17

Tender Steps of New York, Inc. “Building The Bridge” 3rd Annual Fundraiser

Sunday, April 17th, 2016 : 1PM-5PM at The Nyack Seaport, 21 Burd St, Nyack, NY 10960

Keynote speaker: Dr. Betty A. Rosa- Chancellor of the NYS Board of Regents
Guest Speaker: Mr. Kevin Lopez- Executive Director for LPZ Media ”The Hudson Tribes”
Comedy by Marc A. Gerber (Comic Strip Live comedian)
Honorees: Luis Nivelo, Jaqueline Polanco-Fernandez, and Ana Vila

for more info contact: (917) 447-7187 tenderstepsofny@gmail.com

4) Work, Eat, Play April 23

By: Families for Education & MLK Muti-purpose Center

When: April 23 at from 10 AM to 5 PM
Where: Martin Luther King Multi-purpose Center, 110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY

As a community we are coming together and hosting (2) events in one day. A Community Clean-up from 10 am-1:30 pm & then community BBQ from 1:30-5 pm. The purpose of the event is to promote unity within the community and allow the community to meet the candidates who are running for East Ramapo School Board seats in the May 17th election. Come out and support your community. We will have performances by the East Ramapo Marching Band, Dance Attitude, and MLK Step Team. Many donations will be raffled off as well as a 50/50. Suggested donation/plate fee from public $5.00

5) Fire Safety Instruction Reveals Tears in Social Fabric

Whenever children are not doing well, we know the fault lies with us, the adults who shape their world. People are often quick to blame educators, but the truth is we are all responsible. Sometimes you have to get up close to see where the problem lies. This is the case with a fire and safety instructor who ended up learning as much from the children as they did from her. These children are living in a labor camp, in housing over-crowded and under-maintained. While their parents are off cleaning and building houses for those who are better off, the children are impacted by the consequences of exploitation and oppression. We are all used to seeing the new glittering castles and manicured shrubberies of suburbia; the groceries bagged and the laundry done by people whose skin is a shade darker than those who live in the rows of shiny new houses. We rarely get a glimpse into the lives of those from the other side of the tracks, and least of all into the hearts and minds of the children who suffer from the insecurities of poverty in a land of plenty. Thanks to a letter writer whose eyes were open, we get to see a little of what lies hidden in their young hearts.

JN Letter to the editor: Fire safety training reveals concerns of East Ramapo children

Monitor Bill Support is Growing

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue

1. School Board Race Underway
2. Tender Steps April 17
3. Strong-ER gets STRONGER!
4. Nice Work, Nanuet 
5. Correction

1) School Board Race Underway

The Journal News: Slate of four candidates campaign for East Ramapo BOE

News 12: School board seats up for grabs in East Ramapo

Campaign website: https://eastramapotogether.wordpress.com/

#4Women4ALL

2) Tender Steps April 17

Tender Steps of New York, Inc. “Building The Bridge” 3rd Annual Fundraiser

Sunday, April 17th, 2016 : 1PM-5PM at The Nyack Seaport, 21 Burd St, Nyack, NY 10960

Keynote speaker: Dr. Betty A. Rosa- Chancellor of the NYS Board of Regents

Guest Speaker: Mr. Kevin Lopez- Executive Director for LPZ Media ”The Hudson Tribes”

Comedy by Marc A. Gerber (Comic Strip Live comedian)

Honorees: Luis Nivelo, Jaqueline Polanco-Fernandez, and Ana Vila

for more info contact: (917) 447-7187 tenderstepsofny@gmail.com tenderstepsofny.org

3) Strong-ER gets STRONGER!

NEW HYDE PARK IS WITH US — Great news! New Hyde Park-Garden City Park School District has joined the list of the now SEVEN Long Island school districts that have passed resolutions in favor of oversight with veto power for the East Ramapo School District. You can contact Senator Jack Martins’ office at 518-455-3265, letting him know that the New Hyde Park school board is supporting East Ramapo oversight with veto power (Senate Bill 3821), and he should join the bill as a co-sponsor.
Please also send a thank you note for the board to JRoberto@nhp-gcp.org.

4) Nice Work, Nanuet 

NICE WORK, NANUET — The following resolution in favor of East Ramapo oversight with veto power passed the Nanuet School Board in Rockland County last night:
Whereas, with professional guidance from the Superintendent, School Boards are responsible for decision-making and oversight of district funds (in a fiduciary role), infrastructure, resources, personnel, curriculum, and related programs with the overarching goal of providing a high-quality, equitable education for public school students and, as outlined by state law, to provide specific services and resources to private school students residing in the district; and
Whereas, when a Board consistently acts in a manner which diminishes the quality of education for students – public and/or private – stringent oversight is essential; and
Whereas, we concur with the Monitor’s report regarding the East Ramapo School District,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
1. The Nanuet Board of Education supports the appointment of a Monitor with veto power to ensure East Ramapo School Board decisions are in the best interest of all students.
2. The District Clerk is directed to send this resolution to Assemblymember Ellen Jaffee, Assemblymember Kenneth Zebrowski and State Senator David Carlucci.

5) Correction

A previous article was unclear about the new support for the bill for a monitor with veto power. It should have read:

The Rockland County School Board Association has sent a letter to Governor Cuomo and the chairs of the Education Committees of the Senate and Assembly endorsing the legislation for a monitor with veto power.  Six school boards from across Long Island have also expressed support for the bill by passing resolutions (latest news: now it is seven) in favor of East Ramapo oversight. Two County Executives have Joined with Rockland County Executive Ed Day in calling on Senator Flanagan to stop blocking the bill for a monitor with veto power. Senator Flanagan needs to hear from YOU too. Please sign our petition asking him to visit East Ramapo and see first hand that NY State cannot continue to ignore the crisis in governance of our schools.

#4Women4ALL

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. #4Women4ALL Saturday!
2. Martin Luther King Center Annual Awards Benefit Dinner Dance Sunday
3. Flanagan Increasingly Isolated

1) 4Women4ALL Saturday!

Who is running for school board this year? When is the election? How can I help? Answers to these questions and more will be available this Saturday at 1:30 PM in Spring Valley.

The candidates for East Ramapo school board invite you to attend a campaign rally and press conference.

What: #4Women4ALL School Board Campaign Rally
When: Saturday April 2 at 1:30 PM
Where: In front of the Spring Valley Police Station, 200 N. Main St. Spring Valley NY

Agenda:
1:30 Candidates will present their platform
1:45 Questions from the press and the public
2:00 Training for door to door canvassing
2:15 – 4:00 Door to door activity in Spring Valley
4:00 Meet for Pizza

Campaign web page: https://eastramapotogether.wordpress.com/
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/2016EastRamapoCandidates/

#4Women4ALL are: Jean Fields, Kim Foskew, Natashia Morales, and Sabrina Charles-Pierre. They advocate for a quality education for ALL children in East Ramapo. They have a vision and goals for high academic achievement for all students that will inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the local public schools. They have a mix of skills and backgrounds that will help the school board represent the diversity of the East Ramapo community.

Jean Fields is the former principal of Ramapo High School. Kim Foskew is a former president of the East Ramapo PTA Council. Natashia Morales is a public school parent and activist. Sabrina Charles Pierre is a current school board member. Together, they are #4Women4ALL!

2) Martin Luther King Center Annual Awards Benefit Dinner Dance Sunday

The Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center Inc. is pleased to invite you to its 25th Annual Awards Benefit Dinner Dance!  Michelle Brown, Weekend Anchor and Emmy nominated reporter for News 12 Westchester will be our emcee for the evening!

Sunday, April 3
4:00 PM Reception, 5:00 PM Dinner/Dance
The Clubhouse at Patriot Hills, 19 Clubhouse Lane, Stony Point NY

Remembering and Honoring Dr. Susan Gordon

Honorees: Coach Andrew Delva; Mark Geller, MD; Hon. George Hoehmann; Kathy and Bill Lathrop; Rev. Weldon McWilliams Jr.; Ouida Foster Toutebon

For full details, visit: http://mlkmpc.org/events/2014-annual-awards-benefit-dinner-dance/

3) Flanagan Increasingly Isolated

Six school boards from across Long Island have joined the Rockland County School Board Association in passing resolutions in favor of East Ramapo oversight. Two County Executives have Joined with Rockland County Executive Ed Day in calling on Senator Flanagan to stop blocking the bill for a monitor with veto power. Senator Flanagan needs to hear from YOU too. Please sign our petition asking him to visit East Ramapo and see first hand that NY State cannot continue to ignore the crisis in governance of our schools.

Co-existence, Corruption, Criticism and Bigotry

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Pressure Mounts on Sen. Flanagan 
2. Strong East Ramapo in Long Island?
3. East Ramapo Yeshiva Funding Under Scrutiny
4. Co-existence, Corruption, Criticism and Bigotry

1) Pressure Mounts on Sen. Flanagan

Senator Flanagan, using his power as Majority Leader of the NY Senate, is preventing the passage of legislation designed to resolve the crisis in East Ramapo. His actions are highly unusual; normally a bill which addresses a local issue is not blocked by leadership as long as it has the support of the local community that it affects.

That support was reiterated last week by unanimous resolution of the Rockland County Legislature: 

The Journal News: East Ramapo: Resolution supporting monitor passes Rockland Legislature

The bill was written and sponsored by Assembly Members Ellen Jaffee and Ken Zebrowski and Senator David Carlucci, all of whom represent East Ramapo. The bill has been endorsed by the Rockland County School Boards Association, of which East Ramapo is a member. So there is NO QUESTION as to local support.

There is also expert testimony and broad support from around NY State:

The bill has the support of the NY State Education Department, the NY State Board of Regents, Governor Cuomo, and the NY State Assembly. There have been two studies by independent experts in law, finance, and education, which have ALL come to the same conclusion.

Now Senator Flanagan is being called out for his obstructionism:

County Executive Ed Day has written to Senator Flanagan expressing his disappointment over Sen. Flanagan’s opposition to a monitor with veto power:

The Rockland County Times: The County Executive’s Corner: Fighting For East Ramapo

County Executive Day has invited Senator Flanagan to join him on a tour of East Ramapo. 

Click here to urge Sen. Flanagan to accept the invitation.

2) Strong East Ramapo in Long Island?

The following messages are from Strong East Ramapo:

HUGE NEWS: SUPPORT FROM FLANAGAN’S OWN DISTRICT — I am proud to report that Three Village Central School District has joined our cause, passing a resolution in favor of an East Ramapo oversight monitor with veto power. Three Village includes the hamlet of Stony Brook, part of the district of Senate Leader John Flanagan, who has voiced strong opposition to our bill and is preventing it from getting to a vote. ‪#‎LongIslandStrongER‬

THANK YOU, NORTH SHORE — The North Shore Central School District’s Board of Education, which is located in Senate Education Chair Carl Marcellino’s district on Long Island, passed a resolution at a recent school board meeting in favor of East Ramapo oversight! ‪#‎LongIslandStrongER‬

How can you help? Please call Senator Flanagan’s district office (631-361-2154) and say: “I wanted to be sure that you knew that the Three Village School Board has passed a resolution in favor of East Ramapo oversight with veto power, so Senator Flanagan should reconsider his position on this issue.” The more people who remind his office of this news, the more concerned his office will become.

3) East Ramapo Yeshiva Funding Under Scrutiny

Billions of dollars are spent each year by the state and federal government to ensure that every child has the kind of quality education that will help him or her to develop into a productive, responsible citizen. Several recent investigations ask whether there are some who take that money without having any intention of delivering the service it was intended for. If this is the case, we hope that government will act quickly not only to recoup the funds, but also to ensure that no child will suffer from neglect of their civil right to an education.

The Journal News: FBI probe raises questions about yeshiva funding

4) Co-existence, Corruption, Criticism and Bigotry

Two excellent essays appeared this week in the media. The first, in the Journal News, analyzes co-existence and corruption in Ramapo and beyond. The second, by prize-winning author Shulem Deen and published in the Forward, looks at the difference between honest criticism and bigotry. I strongly suggest that you read both. The first might make you crazy, but the second will keep you sane!

The Journal News: Editorial: Room for all in Ramapo?

The Forward: Purim and Encounters With Bigotry — Including Our Own

Who is Failing Who?

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Tonight! 
2. Budget Meeting Schedule
3. MLK Center Honors Coach Delva
4. #4Women4All
5. Who is Failing Who?

1) Tonight! Legislature meets to reiterate support for monitor with veto power

Last year, the Rockland County Legislature passed a resolution supporting the recommendation of Fiscal Monitor Greenberg for a monitor with veto power.  Today, they will consider a similar bill supporting the same recommendation by the monitoring team of Walcott, George-Field, and Sipple. You are encouraged to attend!

March 15 at 7:00P.M.
11 New Hempstead Rd
New City, NY

2) Budget Meeting Schedule

The Superintendent will be holding a series of public forums on the 2016-17 budget. The schedule of the forums is available here.

There are also requirements by law that a budget must be finalized by April 26 – May 3, and  a public hearing must occur between May 3 and May 10. 

3) MLK Center Honors Coach Delva

Coach Delva is “The Coach Who Sets No Ceilings“. The Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center will honor him at their Annual Dinner Dance on April 3rd.

For full details, visit: http://mlkmpc.org/events/2014-annual-awards-benefit-dinner-dance/

4) #4Women4ALL

How many school districts in New York have zero women members? How many have only one out of nine? If you believe that women should play an important role in public policy decision making, you can express that feeling at the polls on May 17! 

#4Women4ALL!

https://eastramapotogether.wordpress.com/

5) Who is Failing Who?

All Rockland school districts were found to be in overall good standing except East Ramapo, which was given a focus designation for the second consecutive year.

The Journal News: State Ed: More East Ramapo schools are troubled

What makes East Ramapo unique is the many residents that don’t use public schools and don’t support public education.

In 2011, at one polling place (Freshman Center) only 4% of voters voted in favor of the budget. Most of the voters there send their children to private school.  Because the private school users outnumber those who use public schools, the budgets fail and programs are cut. 

At another polling place, in the same year, 84% of the voters voted yes for the budget.  Most of those voters were from areas where parents use public schools. These voters, mostly people of color, are a minority. Their commitment to education is high, but because state laws give local control to a local majority, their civil right to an education is ignored.

It is not reasonable to expect that this problem of a Not So Simple Majority is going to resolve itself. Two separate investigations by independent experts concluded that NY State laws must be changed. Their recommendations have the support of the Rockland County Legislature, The Rockland County School Boards Association, various religious and civil liberties groups, the State Education Department, and more. The bill has passed the Assembly but has yet to pass the Senate.

NY State is giving East Ramapo a failing grade. East Ramapo parents are looking the state right in the eye. They are asking “Who is Failing Who?”

 

A Great Coach Sets No Ceilings

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Thursday Community Forums Continue
2. The 2016 School Board Campaign has Begun
3. Support for Monitor with Veto Power Continues
4. A Great Coach Sets No Ceilings

1) Thursday Community Forums Continue

Join us once again as we continue our community conversation about East Ramapo issues. Learn how you can be involved. Meet the Candidates for School Board. See you there!

March 10 at 7:00 PM
Martin Luther King Multi-purpose Center
110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY

2) The 2016 School Board Campaign has Begun

2016 is a year when women are asserting their equal right to be decision makers. Four school board members will be selected this year, and four women have stepped up to offer their service to the community as school board members!

Learn about the candidates and the campaign here: East Ramapo Coming Together 

Share the journey with them on the campaign Facebook page: 2016 Candidates for East Ramapo School Board.

#4Women4All

3) Support for Monitor with Veto Power Continues

A very well reasoned editorial and a joint letter from the NAACP and local rabbi emphasize the need for Albany to act:

Editorial: East Ramapo needs long-term support

Letter: Monitor can restore confidence in East Ramapo

4) A Great Coach Sets No Ceilings

The following essay is by Flose Boursiquot, an East Ramapo Alum:

If you have walked the halls of Spring Valley High School in the last 10 years, you’ve heard of Coach Andrew Delva Senior.

A Haitian-born ambitious man with a strong heart, Coach Delva has been a pillar in Rockland County for a over a decade. The Spring Valley High School Football Program is at the center of his heart, and he has recently taken to coaching track and field with the same spirit. Whether on the field or on the track, students have a deep appreciation for him.

Read the Whole Essay Here: A Great Coach Sets No Ceilings

 

Sunday: Honor Living Legend David Lipman

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. This Sunday: Honor Living Legend David Lipman
2. Thursday Community Forum Continues
3. 2016 Budget Talks Begin
4. March 8 CUPON Rally

1) This Sunday: Honor Living Legend David Lipman

The Trustees of the Historical Society of Rockland County Cordially Invite You to the Annual Dinner 2016

When: Sunday, March 6, 2016, 5-9 pm
Where: The View on the Hudson, 101 Shad Row, Piermont

Living Landmark Award: David Lipman, (SVHS, Class of ’39), and decorated U.S. Army veteran (Bronze Star)

Prepaid reservations are strongly recommended!

2) Thursday Community Forum Continues

Join us once again as we continue our community conversation about East Ramapo issues. Learn how you can be involved. See you there!

March 10 at 7:00 PM
Martin Luther King Multi-purpose Center
110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY

3)  2016 Budget Talks Begin

This year the superintendent is asking the community to be involved in a process of crafting a budget that serves the students needs. Please come out and participate in one or more of the scheduled budget forums

4) March 8 CUPON Rally

CUPON Rockland invites you to their Rally on Tuesday:

Let’s show up at Ramapo Town Hall to demonstrate to the Town Planning Board that we object to overdevelopment and discriminatory housing. Please bring neighbors!

Date: March 8th, 2016
Time: 7:15 pm
Place: Town Hall parking lot, 237 Route 59, Suffern NY

Saturday Brunch Topic: “A District in Crisis”; Monday: “He Named Me Malala” TV Premiere

Power of Ten Update

In this Issue:

1. AAUW Brunch This Saturday Feb 27
2. CUPON Rally Tuesday, March 8
3. HE NAMED ME MALALA Global Television Premiere
4. “The Roof is On Fire”

1) AAUW Brunch This Saturday Feb 27

The Rockland County Branch of the American Association of University Women, Inc. 17th Annual Diversity Brunch will feature a panel discussion:

East Ramapo: District in Crisis

The East Ramapo School District has failed its public school students and families. The New York State Dept. of Education is investigating the functioning of the School District to develop options for improvement in the schools for all students.

Speaker Panel: Weldon McWilliams IV, Willie Trotman, Suzanne Young-Mercer, Melissa Denizard, Steven White

Saturday, February 27, 2016
10:30 AM to 1:00 PM

St. Charles A.M.E. Zion Church
432 Valentine Ave.
Sparkill, NY

$25.00 Advance Donations/$30.00 Door Sales
Reserve Now – Limited Seating

Contact: Ann Mulligan @ 845-893-2821

2) CUPON Rally Tuesday, March 8

Date: March 8th, 2016
Time: 7:15 pm
Place: Town Hall parking lot, 237 Route 59, Suffern NY

CUPON was formed to hold planning and zoning boards accountable. They are calling all citizens to join in a demonstration to show dissatisfaction with the Town’s approval processes. Following the demonstration they will attend the Planning Board meeting to oppose a re-vote on approval of the Bluefield Extension. More info is available at https://cuponrockland.wordpress.com/

3) HE NAMED ME MALALA Global Television Premiere

Big news! On Monday, February 29 at 8:00 pm, HE NAMED ME MALALA, the inspirational documentary about Malala Yousafzai’s life and her fight for girls’ education, will premiere commercial-free on National Geographic Channel.

Bring the inspirational message of education activist Malala Yousafzai’s story and fight for girls’ education to your home. On February 29, 2016, tune into National Geographic Channel for the global broadcast premiere of HE NAMED ME MALALA, an inspirational documentary film from Academy Award-winning director Davis Guggenheim.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/he-named-me-malala/

Share your passion for girls’ education and invite friends and family over to watch the film. Sign up to host a watch party in your home or community.

4) “The Roof is On Fire”

It is unbearable.

As I walk the second floor hallways of Ramapo High School every day, I hold my breath and walk quickly to get to my destination. As I sit in classrooms, I avert my eyes from the numerous brown/black spots of mold. These spots are not only present in the upstairs halls and classrooms, but also in the downstairs ones as well. As I converse with friends, I hear of students who have become sick because of these conditions.

It is intolerable.

It is extremely difficult to learn in such conditions. A school is to provide safe working conditions for faculty and learning conditions for students every single day; however, that is not the case at Ramapo High School under these conditions. There are immigrant students who are trying to learn English but are unable to focus on breaking a language barrier because of the horrid odor and appearance of the school. There are students who lack motivation to even come to school every day, and those students are less motivated to attend school because of these conditions. As an AP student and Black Achievement Award recipient, I even find it difficult to learn in these predicaments.

It is insufferable.

We were told that Senator Carlucci secured 1 million dollars to fix the leaky roof; however, the ceilings need to be redone as well. We must not “hooray!” this event rather nod our heads in acceptance. Why would we greatly applaud a grant of 1 million dollars when just last year our district rejected a 40 million dollar bond for repairs? In the grand scheme of things, the work in our district to ensure the safety of every single student is far from being done and we must work together, as a unified district, to get not only the roof at Ramapo High School fixed but all repairs done in the district. We must advocate for safe conditions for our students every day, even if “the roof is on fire.”

 – Ellen Sue Cola

(The writer is a Senior at Ramapo HS)

Jewish WWII Veteran Earns Living Landmark Honor

The Power of Ten

Special Edition: East Ramapo Alum to Receive Living Landmark Award

David Lipman, Spring Valley HS class of 1939, will be honored by the Rockland County Historical Society as a “Living Landmark”. The Society will present the award at their annual dinner on Sunday, March 6, 2016, from 5-9 pm at The View on the Hudson, 101 Shad Row, Piermont NY.

Lipman served as a Corporal in WWII, earning a Bronze Star while doing dangerous missions and being tortured by the Nazis. He bears witness to Antisemitism he experienced personally in the US and the horror of Nazi Germany. He also bears witness to the incredible positive power of quality public education in his own life and in his community.

His story was told by Mark Judelson in “Our Town” newspaper: Decorated WWII Jewish Veteran Gives East Ramapo School Board Lesson in History and in Decency

On September 9, 2015 he attended a meeting of the East Ramapo school board, and delivered a powerful reproach to the board members. Here is a transcript of his speech:

My name is David Lipman, Spring Valley High School, Class of 1939, from the original location on South Main St. Like many of my classmates, I went on to college; I became a professional engineer. Others became doctors, lawyers, teachers, police officers, artists, musicians. One became an actor, with an engineering degree to fall back on. Why? Because we were well EDUCATED. We were given solid foundations in all subjects.

During WWII, we set aside our studies and our lives to go and fight for the freedom of other people. I came home with a Bronze Star and permanently damaged shoulders from the tender care of the Gestapo. One of my brothers, Walter, sacrificed himself in the Pacific Theater to save his air crew. There’s a local Jewish War Veteran’s post named after him, you can look him up. As part of my service I was present at Concentration Camp Dora. There, I saw horrible, unimaginable things; things that do not belong in this room with children.

Then I came home, finished college, raised my family and sent my children to SVHS. My son, Walter is Class of 1972, and my daughter Ruth, 1976. Again, the Lipman family was well served by their excellent public school education. Both my children are professionals, and have a love of learning and reading, with inquisitive minds. Many of their classmates are likewise.

Now, I see what has become of this once fine school system, and I am appalled. I see that the perpetrators of this are largely my own people; people who were the subject of those unspeakable horrors at Dora and places like Dora. Is this how you repay the community to which you came? Is this why the people of this community fought and died- so that 70 years later, you could grind under your heel their grandchildren, as well as the next group of downtrodden immigrants?

I seem to recall two principles from my religious education; one, that we are enjoined to make THE world a better place, not just OUR world; and two, that we were strangers once, enslaved in Egypt. The Torah tells us that we have an OBLIGATION to the stranger- the Gentile- at least three times: Exodus 22:21, Leviticus 19:34 and Deuteronomy 10:19. And yet, this is not what I see. Instead of honey, we have poured bitter herbs on the books of these children, if they have books at all! This defames the memory of both the people of this community who died fighting against the enslavement and horrors of the Holocaust, and those who were its victims. You who are its survivors have a great obligation which you are failing to uphold.

It will take far more than 11 days of repentance to expiate this sin.

Forum Thursday; Yeshiva Boys Deserve Better

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Forum Thursday
2. Cupon Meeting Wednesday
3. Yeshiva Boys Deserve Better
4. Alan Singer for Board of Regents

1)  Forum Thursday

Its time to start thinking about the May school board and budget vote! Last year’s candidates have maintained a presence on social media to give this year’s candidates a head start. The purpose of the forum is to discuss the issues concerning the quality education in our district, and to give those who would like to run for school board in 2016 an opportunity to present themselves to the community. 

What: 2016 School Board Candidates Forum Follow-up
Where: Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center, 110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY 10977
When: Thursday February 11 at 7:00 PM

2) Cupon Meeting Feb 17

Reverend Weldon McWilliams IV, PHD, guest speaker.

Where: Hillcrest Firehouse, 300 North Main St, Hillcrest, NY
When: Wednesday February 17th at 7:00 PM

Note: Parking is available in the rear of the firehouse and across the street. Please do not park on the entry or exit ramps, or in front of the firehouse.

To learn more about Cupon: https://cuponrockland.wordpress.com/

3) Yeshiva Boys Deserve Better

In “Thousands of ill-educated yeshiva boys“, an Op-Ed in the NY Daily News, Naftuli Moster urges public outcry over the Education Department turning a blind eye to the lack of education in boys yeshivas.

Mr. Moster is also featured in a report by BRIC TV: Yeshiva Education in Brooklyn and One Student’s Departure, which includes an excellent analysis by David C. Bloomfield, an education policy expert. I highly recommend watching this news show in its entirety.

4) Alan Singer for Board of Regents

Alan Singer, a professor of teacher education at Hofstra University, has been a strong voice in advocating for state intervention in East Ramapo. He has been interviewed for a position on the NY State Board of Regents. To support his nomination, contact Steven McCutcheon, the State Assembly Program and Counsel Staff at mccutcheons@assembly.state.ny.us.

 

StrongER Needs You!

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. 2016 Candidates Forum Follow-up Feb 11
2. StrongER Needs You!
3. Children’s Legislative Forum Feb 5

1) 2016 Candidates Forum Follow-up Feb 11

Its time to start thinking about the May school board and budget vote! Last year’s candidates have maintained a presence on social media to give this year’s candidates a head start. The purpose of the forum is to discuss the issues concerning the quality education in our district, and to give those who would like to run for school board in 2016 an opportunity to present themselves to the community. 

What: 2016 School Board Candidates Forum Follow-up
Where: Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center, 110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY 10977
When: Thursday February 11 at 7:00 PM

2) StrongER Needs You!

We need to reach all of the New York State Senators, and you can help:

Think of the people (friends, relatives, contacts) who live in New York State.  Send a message to them, pointing them to www.strongeastramapo.org/action, where they can very easily support us by just clicking on the link for their Senator. 

Here is a sample note that you can send to your friends:

Dear Friends,

As you may know, there’s a big injustice happening in the East Ramapo School District. The board has slashed services to the public schools and diverted funding to the exclusive private schools where their own children attend. Two different studies and four different experts have come to the same conclusion: the state needs to appoint a monitor who can reverse the decisions of this board when they are not in the best interests of the public school students. We need to pass a statewide bill in the Legislature to make this local change possible.

I am volunteering to help address this issue, and  I ask you to take just one moment to visit www.strongeastramapo.org/action, and send a message to your State Senator, indicating that you stand in solidarity with me and the children attending public school.

Thanks so much.

3) Children’s Legislative Forum Friday

Child Care Resources of Rockland, Inc., in conjunction with the Rockland Children’s Advocacy Network and its members, host a Children’s Legislative Forum every year to discuss how families, children, youth and the early care and education community are faring in Rockland County.

The Behavioral Health Challenges for Children Birth to Five Years in Rockland County
Friday, February 5, 2016
8:00 am-10:00 am | Breakfast: 7:30 am – Register now

Rockland Community College
Technology Center ● Ellipse Room
145 College Road ● Suffern, NY 10901

Please RSVP: 845.425.0009 x0 | info@rocklandchildcare.org

Time to Start Thinking About May

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. 2016 Candidates Forum January 28 – This Thursday
2. StrongER Needs You!
3. Keep Rockland Beautiful’s Annual Meeting – Wednesday
4. Children’s Legislative Forum Feb 5

1) 2016 Candidates Forum January 28

Its time to start thinking about the May school board and budget vote! Last year’s candidates have maintained a presence on social media to give this year’s candidates a head start. You can help by encouraging others to think about becoming candidates for school board. Or maybe you might be interested yourself?

What: 2016 School Board Candidates Forum
Where: Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center, 110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY 10977
When: Thursday January 28 at 7:00 PM

Those who wish to run this year should fill in this google form.

The purpose of the forum is to discuss the issues concerning the quality education in our district, and to give those who would like to run for school board in 2016 an opportunity to present themselves to the community.

2) StrongER Needs You!

We need to reach all of the New York State Senators, and you can help:

Think of the people (friends, relatives, contacts) who live in New York State.  Send a message to them, pointing them to www.strongeastramapo.org/action, where they can very easily support us by just clicking on the link for their Senator. 

Here is a sample note that you can send to your friends:

Dear Friends,

As you may know, there’s a big injustice happening in the East Ramapo School District. The board has slashed services to the public schools and diverted funding to the exclusive private schools where their own children attend. Two different studies and four different experts have come to the same conclusion: the state needs to appoint a monitor who can reverse the decisions of this board when they are not in the best interests of the public school students. We need to pass a statewide bill in the Legislature to make this local change possible.

I am volunteering to help address this issue, and  I ask you to take just one moment to visit www.strongeastramapo.org/action, and send a message to your State Senator, indicating that you stand in solidarity with me and the children attending public school.

Thanks so much.

3) Keep Rockland Beautiful’s Annual Meeting

Wed, January 27th @ 7:00 PM
Ramapo Cultural &
Performing Arts Center
64 N. Main Street, Spring Valley

~ A festive reception & lively conversation about KRB’s plans for 2016

~ Election of the 2016 Board of Directors

~ Featured Speaker: Richard Fuller

Rich is a Clarkstown resident and author of The Brown Agenda. He will be speaking about how he has been involved in cleaning up some of the most toxic sites around the world, many directly affecting child mortality rates. It’s so inspiring to see what can be accomplished by an individual who is able to think creatively and build coalitions to get things done!!!

KRB is excited to be hosting this event in a wonderful venue in the heart of Ramapo. We are looking forward to building on our relationships with nearby civic organizations, churches/synagogues, schools, government officials, etc. We hope to support the area with growing civic engagement and environmental awareness. So if you know anyone who lives in Ramapo or has an interest in the region, please be sure to invite them along!!

RSVP: info@keeprocklandbeautiful or call (845) 708-9164

4. Children’s Legislative Forum

Child Care Resources of Rockland, Inc., in conjunction with the Rockland Children’s Advocacy Network and its members, host a Children’s Legislative Forum every year to discuss how families, children, youth and the early care and education community are faring in Rockland County.

The Behavioral Health Challenges for Children Birth to Five Years in Rockland County
Friday, February 5, 2016
8:00 am-10:00 am | Breakfast: 7:30 am – Register now

Rockland Community College
Technology Center ● Ellipse Room
145 College Road ● Suffern, NY 10901

Please RSVP: 845.425.0009 x0 | info@rocklandchildcare.org

Parents to Albany: You WILL Fix This!

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. 2016 Candidates Forum January 28
2. StrongER Gets Albany Attention
3. Parents Sue NY State For Education Runaround
4. Children’s Legislative Forum Feb 5

1) 2016 Candidates Forum

What: 2016 School Board Candidates Forum
Where: Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center, 110 Bethune Blvd, Spring Valley, NY 10977
When: Thursday January 28 at 7:00 PM

Its time to start thinking about the May school board and budget vote! Last year’s candidates have maintained a presence on social media to give this year’s candidates a head start. You can help by encouraging others to think about becoming candidates for school board. Or maybe you might be interested yourself?

Those who wish to run this year should fill in this google form.

The purpose of the forum is to discuss the issues concerning the quality education in our district, and to give those who would like to run for school board in 2016 an opportunity to present themselves to the community. 

2) StrongER Gets Albany Attention

Politico NY, “the essential news source for and about the most powerful people in New York”, reported that about 100 parents and supporters traveled to Albany to advocate for a monitor with veto power for East Ramapo, putting East Ramapo in the top tier of advocacy issues at the State of the State event! The event was also covered by our own News 12.

We now need to reach all of the New York State Senators, and you can help:

Think of the people (friends, relatives, contacts) who live in New York State.  Send a message to them, pointing them to www.strongeastramapo.org/action, where they can very easily support us by just clicking on the link for their Senator. 

Here is a sample note that you can send to your friends:

Dear Friends,

As you may know, there’s a big injustice happening in the East Ramapo School District. The board has slashed services to the public schools and diverted funding to the exclusive private schools where their own children attend. Two different studies and four different experts have come to the same conclusion: the state needs to appoint a monitor who can reverse the decisions of this board when they are not in the best interests of the public school students. We need to pass a statewide bill in the Legislature to make this local change possible.

I am volunteering to help address this issue, and  I ask you to take just one moment to visit www.strongeastramapo.org/action, and send a message to your State Senator, indicating that you stand in solidarity with me and the children attending public school.

Thanks so much.

3. Parents to NY State: Stop Passing the Buck!

East Ramapo Parents are sick and tired of getting the runaround from NY State Education Dept. The have filed a lawsuit to force the state to intervene in the governance of the district. The parents are represented pro bono by Brad Elias of O’Melveny & Myers, and David G. Sciarra and Wendy Lecker of Education Law Center.

4. Children’s Legislative Forum

Child Care Resources of Rockland, Inc., in conjunction with the Rockland Children’s Advocacy Network and its members, host a Children’s Legislative Forum every year to discuss how families, children, youth and the early care and education community are faring in Rockland County.

The Behavioral Health Challenges for Children Birth to Five Years in Rockland County
Friday, February 5, 2016
8:00 am-10:00 am | Breakfast: 7:30 am – Register now

Rockland Community College
Technology Center ● Ellipse Room
145 College Road ● Suffern, NY 10901

Please RSVP: 845.425.0009 x0 | info@rocklandchildcare.org

We did it! Here are the next steps:

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. We surpassed our goal!
2. Phone the Governor
3. Martin Luther King Day
4. 2016 Candidates Forum

1) Fundraising Goal Surpassed!

Thanks to everyone who donated to our campaign, and special thanks to those who responded to yesterday’s appeal!

We raised $2,290 in 24 hrs to blow past our $25,000 fundraising goal for this campaign!

2) Call Gov. Cuomo

The debate over how to help the East Ramapo district will be among the top issues facing the state Legislature this year. It deserves to be mentioned in the Governor’s State of the State address on Wednesday.

Please now take 30 seconds to call the Governor’s office. The number is 1-518-474-8390, then press 3 to talk with a person. You can say, “I am calling to ask the Governor to include support for strong oversight for the East Ramapo School District in his State of the State Address.”

3) Martin Luther King Day

The sixth annual Martin Luther King Celebration 2016 will take place on Monday, January 18th. It will be a remarkable event with 117 sponsors and 100’s of supporters. The whole community is invited. The admission is free and food will be provided for everyone free of charge. Weldon McWilliams IV is the keynote speaker and there will be exceptionally good entertainment.

Please help us get the word out so we fill Ramapo High School in a great Unity Celebration which not only honors the great work of Dr. King and the Civil Rights movement but examines what has to be done to make our community, the nation and the world a better place for all.

What: Celebrate the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Where: Ramapo High School, 400 Viola Rd, Spring Valley NY

When: Monday, January 18th from 3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Details: http://mlkmpc.org/2016/01/08/2016-martin-luther-king-day-celebration-ramapo-high-school/

Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1745327839029244/

4) 2016 Candidates Forum:

Its time to start thinking about the May school board and budget vote!

Last year’s candidates have maintained a presence on social media to give this year’s candidates a head start.

We will hold a public forum on Thursday January 28 to give an opportunity for all who would like to run for school board in 2016 to present themselves to the community. 

Our goal is to strengthen the unity in our community, and to provide the very best support to a unified slate of candidates.

You can help by encouraging others to think about becoming candidates for school board. Or maybe you might be interested yourself? The Center for Public Education says a good school board candidate should: have vision and goals for high academic achievement for all students; be able to inspire parents and other stakeholders to have confidence in the local public schools; enhance the mix of skills and backgrounds on the board; and help the school board represent the diversity of the community.

Those who wish to run should fill in this google form.

What: 2016 School Board Candidates Forum

Where: Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center

When: Thursday January 28 at 7:00 PM

Special Edition: Advocates for Justice

Power of Ten

Special Edition: Advocates for Justice

It seems like almost every time you pick up a newspaper there is some new injustice being done to the students of East Ramapo. You may ask yourself why isn’t someone doing something? Well, Advocates for Justice, a public interest, not-for-profit law firm has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit. The lawsuit seeks to hold those accountable to justice, and for the court to order an end to the school board’s abusive and unconstitutional practices.

Advocates for Justice represents parents and students for free, but has undertaken a fund-raising campaign to raise $25,000 for ongoing court expenses.

Thanks to many small donations from community members, to date they have raised $23,452 or 94% of the goal!!!

They have extended the campaign – one last time – to January 15.

With 5 days left, your tax deductible donation is urgently needed.

Please donate today!

Beloved Educator Passes; The Effect of Failed Budgets on Education

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Beloved Educator Passes 
2. Second Monitor Reiterates: No More Aid Without Veto Power
3. The Effect of Failed Budgets on Education
4. Join Us in Albany

1) Beloved Educator Passes

Patricia Simmons, beloved principal of Fleetwood Elementary, passed away on December 27. She was a true friend and cared deeply for the children she served. She was never afraid to speak truth to power.

The Journal News: East Ramapo elementary school principal dies

The Journal News: Simmons lifted her school, her staff, her children

NAACP statement on her passing: Pat Simmons, A Quiet Smile

2) Second Monitor Reiterates: No More Aid Without Veto Power

Dennis Walcott was interviewed by the Journal News about his report to the NY State Board of Regents. He explains his support for a monitor with veto power. He reiterates the findings of Hank Greenberg, who found that the problems are not the fault of any one person or group of people, but is an inherent flaw in the system of delegating control to a local agency.

3) The Effect of Failed Budgets on Education

 4) Join Us in Albany

Last year we rallied and lobbied in Albany for a bill which would have provided a monitor with veto power for East Ramapo. Our efforts were successful in getting the bill passed by the Assembly, but it was blocked from even being considered by the leader of the Senate.

Albany has a two year cycle for bills, which means the bill could still become law in 2016. We will again do everything in our power to make this happen. Not because it is the answer to all of the problems, but because it is the best first step we have at our disposal at this point in time. We are being told that it is possible that the bill will pass, and that the one thing most needed for it to pass is public pressure. From you!

There will be buses, but you must register in advance. You can register for the bus or get information on carpooling or going on your own at: http://www.strongeastramapo.org/jan-13/

 

Senator Flanagan is Wrong. Here’s Why:

Power of Ten Update

Special IssueSenator Flanagan is Wrong. Here’s Why:

Senator Flanagan says “we don’t need any new legislation” for East Ramapo. 

As Senate Majority leader, he is blocking legislation that passed the NY State Assembly, and that Governor Cuomo has said he would sign. This legislation is a compromise bill, which instead of removing the board and taking over the district would simply speed up the process of oversight by the State Education Department.

Senator Flanagan thinks the history of failure to hold the East Ramapo school board accountable is proof that they don’t need more oversight. I think he is wrong, and I hope he will change his mind.

Here is a proof that more oversight is needed:

The East Ramapo school board tried to use the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) as an excuse to use public funds to pay tuition in private religious schools. The NY State Dept. of Education (NYSED) found this was a violation of federal and New York state laws and regulations. The NYSED findings were upheld by the New York State Supreme Court and the NY Court of Appeals. Since the excuse of following the IDEA was invalid, transferring taxpayer funds to private religious schools was a violation of the fiduciary responsibility of the board.

It took NYSED five years and two lawsuits to stop the practice.

About the IDEA: Before of the IDEA, too often children with special needs were segregated and warehoused. The IDEA says children with disabilities must have an opportunity to be educated along with the rest of the children, in the “least restrictive environment”. If a school district is unable to accommodate a disability in a public school, then they must pay for that student to receive an education in a facility that does.

The school board also established a segregated environment within the public schools themselves.

The district used “Yiddish language” as an excuse. Whole wings and floors of buildings were set aside and apart, with different teachers, different schedules, even a different janitor. The NAACP filed a complaint to the Federal Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights. Once again, years went by before the district’s practices were found to be outside of the law. The district has now agreed to a plan, but whether and to what extent they will comply has yet to be seen.

The veto is not an extra power of the state, just a way for it to exercise it’s power in real time, before damage is done.

Altogether, there have been almost 10 years of delays in correcting district actions. These actions have cost the district millions of dollars and have contributed to cuts in programs and a decline in the quality of education. Had there been a monitor with veto power, obviously illegal practices would never have happened.

The board has  engaged in a practice of real estate decisions which have benefited private religious schools and harmed public education.

In 2008, a reorganization review process was flawed by incomplete collection of data on population and housing. The Mayor of the Village of Spring Valley appeared at hearings and testified that a $1 billion urban renewal project was currently underway, and that new housing starts would mean many more new enrollments in the district. He was ignored, and the district’s projections were low by 14%. Instead of declining, enrollment increased by over 1000 students.

The board used the flawed study as an excuse to close and then sell two school buildings. The sales of the buildings continued even after the enrollment increased.

In July 2010 Hillcrest school was sold for $3.1 million to Yeshiva Avir Yaakov (YAY). An appraisal of $5.9 million had been obtained before receiving bids. A second appraisal for $3.2 million, by Avi Vardi of Appraisal Group International, was done after the bids were opened.

Community activists discovered that the second appraisal was a fraud. It misrepresented a “comparable sale” of a school which, in fact, never occurred. That sale was listed as “Comparable Sale #2” of a school building sold for $1.9 million, however, records from the Town of Ramapo indicate “land only”. The property document indicate that it is a parking lot.

An investigation by the NY State Atty. General revealed that someone associated with YAY arranged for Vardi’s services in preparing the appraisal. Then, on July 16, 2010, a member of the East Ramapo Board emailed Vardi’s private cell number and other contact information to the Board’s attorney. Later that afternoon, that attorney hired Vardi to furnish his appraisal of the Hillcrest School to the District in time for a July 28, 2010, Board meeting.

The appraiser was found guilty of filing a false instrument. The Atty. General was unable to pursue the investigation into the role of the school board in obtaining the fraudulent appraisal because the school board sued the AG to prevent release of 1300 documents, claiming attorney-client confidentiality. The case is still open.

The Commissioner of Education annulled the sale. However, the board leased the building to YAY. Commissioner King then annulled the lease. The board then sued the Commissioner, but lost. YAY occupied the building the entire time. An independent valuation of the property concluded it was worth $11.32 million. Its final sale price was $4.85 million.

While the Atty. General was still conducting an investigation of the previous sale, and while the financial monitor, Hank Greenberg, was conducting his investigation, they sold the school again to YAY.

The school board continues to claim that because it has gotten away with all of the above, that is proof that a monitor with veto power is not warranted. Senator Flanagan (so far) agrees with them. I believe that any reasonable, unbiased individual with full access to the facts will come to the opposite conclusion. It is exactly because the school board has been so successful in gaming the system that the appointment of a monitor with veto power is necessary.

-Steven White, editor

PS: Strong East Ramapo is inviting you to accompany them to Albany on Wednesday January 13. I strongly support them and I hope to see YOU there!

PPS: Advocates for Justice is a public interest, not-for=profit law firm that has taken action on behalf of the children of East Ramapo in Federal Court. They are trying to raise $25,000 before the end of the year, and have almost reached that goal! Please give generously! Donations ARE tax deductible!

Bill for Monitor with Veto Power Gathers Momentum

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:
1. Join Us in Albany
2. Wieder Resigns
3. Superintendent Search Begins
4. Safety Still a Problem in East Ramapo Yeshivas
5. Please Donate to Advocates for Justice

1) Join Us in Albany

Earlier this year we rallied and lobbied in Albany for a bill which would have provided a monitor with veto power for East Ramapo. Our efforts were successful in getting the bill passed by the Assembly, but it was blocked from even being considered by the leader of the Senate.

Albany has a two year cycle for bills, which means the bill could still become law in 2016. We will again do everything in our power to make this happen. Not because it is the answer to all of the problems, but because it is the best first step we have at our disposal at this point in time.

The bill has new support, including the monitors who have been studying the district, The Rockland County Democratic Committee,  a new editorial by the Journal News, and several Jewish organizations. We are being told that it is possible that the bill will pass, and that the one thing most needed for it to pass is public pressure. From you!

There will be buses, but you must register in advance. You can register for the bus or get information on carpooling or going on your own at: http://www.strongeastramapo.org/jan-13/

2) Wieder Resigns

In the last Power of Ten Update, I asked you to contact Rockland County Legislators and urge them not to vote to re-approve Aron Wieder as Majority Leader. Apparently, your voice was heard, and he has withdrawn from the position. Thank you to everyone who participated!

3) Superintendent Search Begins

Many parents and students have expressed their appreciation for the breath of fresh air that Dr. Wortham has brought to our district. Some are already calling for her to remain. The school board has begun the process of deciding who will be the superintendent next year and going forward. They have posted a letter about the selection process, which includes some opportunities for input from the public. 

4) Safety Still a Problem in East Ramapo Yeshivas

A new investigative report by News 12 reporter Tara Rosenblum has revealed that fire safety is still a problem in many East Ramapo yeshivas. You may remember back on October 15 Power of Ten reported that a Spring Valley Fire Captain said many schools were unsafe. Tara Rosenblum deserves credit for doing investigative reporting that may save lives, rather than waiting for the disaster to make the news.

5) Please Donate to Advocates for Justice 

Our lawsuit seeks to return misused public funds to the district, remove the school board members, and ensure proper school board decisions and fiscal management for East Ramapo.

Advocates for Justice lawyers represent us for free, but there are court, deposition and discovery expenses. Please donate so we can continue this fight. Donations are tax deductible.

Please Make Your Tax Deductible Donation Today

 

Demand Better Leadership

The Power of Ten

Special Edition: Call to Action

If there is one person who is most responsible for the degradation of East Ramapo, it is Aron Wieder. In Nov, 2009, Aron Wieder brought Al D’Agostino to East Ramapo. In June of 2011, the school board majority, led by Aron Wieder chose Dr. Joel Klein  for Superintendent of schools. 

Last year, the majority of the Democrats in the Rockland County Legislature supported the oversight bill offered by Assembly members Jaffee and Zebrowski and Senator Carlucci. Mr. Wieder, as the leader of the Democratic majority, should have carried their message to Albany. Instead, he spearheaded the effort to block the legislation.

The Rockland County Legislature Democrats should not allow Mr. Wieder to continue in a leadership role. His record as Majority Leader is inconsistent with Democratic Party values. He put his own opinions ahead of his duty to his fellow legislators.

There are three Democratic Rockland County Legislators who supported the legislation for a monitor in East Ramapo but have not yet indicated if they will oppose a re-nomination of Mr. Wieder. They are Toney Earl, Aney Paul, and Alden Wolfe.

Please call the Legislature at 845-638-5100 and ask to speak to Toney Earl, Aney Paul, and Alden Wolfe. You may be directed to their constituent representatives.

Leave a message:

Thank you for continuing to support strong oversight for East Ramapo. I am calling to ask you not to vote to approve Aron Wieder as Majority Leader. Mr. Wieder does not support strong oversight for East Ramapo. He does not respect our views and he has failed to represent you as your leader.

Then, E-mail the same message:

Hon. Alden H. Wolfe, Chairman
WolfeA@co.rockland.ny.us

Hon. Toney L. Earl
EarlT@co.rockland.ny.us

Hon. Aney Paul
PaulA@co.rockland.ny.us

Thank you,

Steven White
Editor, The Power of Ten

Yeshiva Students Demand State Intervene in East Ramapo

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:
1. Yeshiva Students Demand State Intervene in East Ramapo
2. Dr. Wortham Changes the Tone
3. Demonstrations Continue?
4. Strong East Ramapo Action

1) Yeshiva Students Demand State Intervene in East Ramapo

Thousands of children attending area yeshivas are not receiving adequate education. Now, several graduates and parents are seeking the assistance of the court system in ensuring that all children are educated. This action parallels demands for education in New York City and around the world. Indeed, the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 were education activists.

In Pakistan, Malala was shot for trying to go to school. Thurgood Marshall faced a lynch mob as he fought against laws which prevented African-Americans from receiving an equal education. Education advocates in East Ramapo are not facing the same tactics that Malala faces or that Thurgood Marshall faced, but yeshiva families who speak out risk being shunned, punished financially, verbally abused and even physically assaulted. 

Education cannot only be for some. According to the Supreme Court, it must be for all. However, in East Ramapo, a political deal was made between the school district administrators and the yeshivas: The district would remain indifferent to the lack of education in yeshivas, and in return school budgets would not be opposed. The result has been destruction of education for all. 

Advocates for Justice is bringing lawsuits of behalf of both public school and yeshiva children. They need your support at this time. Will you please help?

2) Dr. Wortham Changes the Tone

The new Superintendent is making friends everywhere with her cheerful attitude. Students have been feeling depressed about all the cuts. Dr. Wortham has made a good effort to increase school spirit. This is not a replacement for restoring programs, but it is a good beginning. For more information about Dr. Wortham see her interview on HNE Network TV.

It is not expected that the board will challenge Dr. Wortham the way they did Dr. Oustacher, with demands to absorb religious schools, create segregated classes, close and sell schools, hire unnecessary or unqualified personnel, file lawsuits against the State Ed Dept. and the Atty. General, etc. As long as the threat of a monitor with veto power is hanging over their heads, they will probably continue to avoid controversy. Hopefully Dr. Wortham will use the opportunity to make improvements.

3) Demonstrations Continue?

There can be no doubt that it was the constant pressure of activism and advocacy that brought about so much change this year. Many of the problems noted in the Greenberg report are being addressed. However, there is much more to accomplish and it would seem that continued demonstrations are inevitable. As we prepare for more activism and advocacy, I am offering the following dialogue between Dr. King and a fellow clergyman of the time as food for thought:

“When rights are consistently denied, a cause should be pressed in the courts and in negotiations among local leaders, and not in the streets.” —Alabama clergymen’s letter to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. April 12, 1963
“You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. … It is unfortunate that demonstrations are taking place in Birmingham, but it is even more unfortunate that the city’s white power structure left the Negro community with no alternative.” —From Letter From a Birmingham Jail, by Martin Luther King Jr., April 16, 1963

4) Strong East Ramapo Action

Please join Strong East Ramapo in their call for Dennis Walcott’s report to include strong language calling for a state monitor with veto power that would restore a sense of confidence in the future of East Ramapo. Mr. Walcott’s report is due December 15, so raise your voice today.

East Ramapo Monitors Midterm Grade

The Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Discrimination!
2. Civil Rights Lawsuit
3. Student Essay: Goodbye Dr. Klein
4. Editorial: Monitors Midterm Grade

1) Discrimination!

The US Dept. of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has issued a blistering report detailing how white special education students have been placed in different settings than Black and Latino students with similar disabilities. The OCR initiated an investigation based on a complaint by Willie Trotman, President of the NAACP Spring Valley Branch. 

2) Civil Rights Lawsuit

Who is holding accountable those who initiated and implemented these policies?

Advocates for Justice, that’s who!

They need your help, won’t you please chip in? The following chart illustrates the need:

a4jappeal

3) Student Essay: Goodbye Dr. Klein

Dear Dr. Klein,
You do not know me… not that you would have ever cared to know me, or for that matter any East Ramapo student. You have seen me many times however. I have shaken your hand at numerous ceremonies where you would stop by and say a 3-4 minute improvised speech and leave right after its ending.  At the award ceremonies, you would tell the recipients to excel but you never gave us the resources to do so. You would call us intelligent and bright but what I think was truly bright was your decision to resign. The community and I thank you immensely. Thank you for finally listening to us. If I may, I suggest you take the Board of Education with you. I am happy that you realized that you are up against a strong and powerful community that will not quit until justice is served to every student in East Ramapo. You will not be missed.

Sincerely an Unapologetic Student,
Ellen Sue Cola
RHS Class of 2016

4) Editorial: Monitors Midterm Grade

Are the state appointed monitors to the East Ramapo school district doing a good job? What exactly have they been asked to do? They were assigned to the district when the NY State Senate failed to pass a bill appointing a monitor with power. The response of the NY Education Commissioner was to appoint a team of monitors without power, but with expertise.  They are keeping us appraised of their actions via a wordpress weblog.

Now the community has had a chance to meet the monitors and the new superintendent of schools, and I think they have shown themselves to be likable, professional, courteous and competent. According to their weblog, they have been charged with providing on-demand technical assistance to the administration, entering in dialog with both the board and the public, and producing updates and reports to the commissioner and the public. 

There is no question that the monitors have engaged in meaningful dialog and engaged the community. They produced a PowerPoint presentation summarizing information about issues in the district. Together with the new superintendent they seem to be creating plans that will improve the educational experience of the children in the district, and they should be commended for that.

However, this district has an underlying foundation of deceit and mistrust, upon which they are erecting their new edifice of education. Like so many buildings in the area, this one appears to have been rushed through the planning department. A failure to properly survey can result in building your castle on quicksand.

The quicksand in this area is the ease with which a school board can pull the rug out from under us. In 2009, Superintendent Oustacher revealed a plan to close one or two elementary schools and use the savings to fund full-day Kindergarten for all. The commitment to Kindergarten was not on a solid foundation, but the drive to close the schools was. Later, both schools were sold to yeshivas, but full-day K was eliminated. The house that Oustacher built sank into the sand.

It wasn’t the first time. Before Oustacher, there was a deal that kept East Ramapo’s budgets in the black. The school superintendent and board (then dominated by public school advocates) promised to ignore neglect of education in yeshivas and in return the yeshiva parents would not vote down the budgets of the public schools. That house of cards came crashing down in 2005 when massive turnout from New Square, Monsey and Kaser knocked off board members Georgine Hyde and Dr. Danielle Bright.

The monitors have assessed fiscal and educational outcomes, but they have misunderstood (so far) the social and racial underpinnings of the crisis.  Just as the monitors have assessed and reported on aspects of education and fiscal problems, they could also assess and report on the social, racial and class conflict which is at the root of those problems. But they will have to open their eyes first. Even when the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights issued a report confirming the NAACP allegations of disparate treatments of students by race, Monitor Walcott says he “still didn’t really see” it. 

It is not impossible for the monitors to apply the same professionalism in understanding racial and social issues as they do for educational and operational issues. It is very disappointing to see the problem framed as “centrists” vs. “extremists”, with no data to support that hypothesis. Both collaboration and confrontation have been tried, but because neither has addressed the underlying inequalities of power, they have failed equally. Without a valid assessment, the plans are doomed. Being colorblind is an impairment to seeing the true nature of the relationships.

For instance, many of the Latino parents work as laborers for families that use yeshivas. Many have difficult working conditions and low pay. Also, much of the housing they live in is owned by businessmen from the ultra-Orthodox community. The rents are high, the living conditions are substandard and even dangerous, and they are bullied by the landlords with threats of eviction if they speak up. Much of Spring Valley is essentially a labor camp. It is not surprising to see that the dominant group is not enthusiastic to educate the children of their servants. Has it ever not been so? Ignoring the intricate socioeconomic relationships of the two groups and claiming not to see discrimination or inequality will severely hamper an accurate assessment of the nature of the problem.

We do not expect the monitors appointed by the education department to solve every problem. They are really only charged with observing and reporting on educational and operational practices. However, they are able to accomplish some important things for our children and for that we are grateful. It is our sincere hope that their future reports will also address the inequalities created by our unique style of segregation and the impact of the rule of a Not so Simple Majority.

Urgent Appeal: Civil Rights Lawsuit

Power of Ten Special Edition:

Our Civil Rights Lawsuit is entering a critical phase!

Your help is needed TODAY to take the case for a students CIVIL RIGHT TO AN EDUCATION to the next step. See the chart below which explains why NOW is the TIME!

Our Goal is to raise $25,000 by November 30

We are at 24% as I write this.

Our lawsuit seeks to return misused public funds to the district, remove the school board members, and ensure proper school board decisions and fiscal management for East Ramapo.

Advocates for Justice lawyers represent us for free, but there are court, deposition and discovery expenses. Please donate so we can continue this fight. Donations are tax deductible.

Please Make Your Tax Deductible Donation Today

a4jappeal

Special Edition: Vote Today

Power of Ten Special Edition: Vote Today

East Ramapo has become a very important political campaign issue in recent years. Informing the readers about candidates who have participated in our struggle is part of Power of Ten’s focus on East Ramapo issues.

Rev. Jacques Michel is running for legislator in District 13. Rev. Michel has passed legislation opposing the closing of elementary schools. He participated in rallies along with parents. 

Betty Carmand is running for legislator in District 8. Betty has been one of the people at the center of our struggle for a long time. She is a plaintiff in the civil rights lawsuit. She helped to recruit others to join that lawsuit. Betty has also filed appeals with the state education department. 

 

 

Sabrina On Board; Advocates for Justice Need Your Help

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Sabrina Charles-Pierre On Board!
2. Urgent Appeal for Civil Rights Lawsuit

1) Sabrina Charles-Pierre On Board!

Sabrina Charles-Pierre, who ran for school board in May, has been appointed to fill the seat of Juan Pablo Ramirez, who resigned after attending just one meeting in July. Sabrina will be the only woman on the board. We hope to add to that next May.

2. Urgent Appeal for Civil Rights Lawsuit

East Ramapo students’ constitutional rights are being violated. Advocates for Justice has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit.

Our Goal is to raise $25,000 by November 30

Our lawsuit seeks to return misused public funds to the district, remove the school board members, and ensure proper school board decisions and fiscal management for East Ramapo.

Our Goal is Justice for the Children

A4J lawyers represent us for free, but there are court, deposition and discovery expenses. Please donate so we can continue this fight. Donations are tax deductible.

Please Make Your Tax Deductible Donation Today

Destruction of Education Can Lead to Tyranny and Death. Anyone Surprised?

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. NAACP Dinner Friday October 16
2. Youth Film Festival October 17
3. Inter-faith Prayer Service October 22
4. Fire Captain: Many Schools Unsafe!
5. Tyranny of the Majority

1) NAACP Dinner Friday October 16

Our Own Luis Nivelo, Andrew Mandel and Rev. McWilliams IV Will Receive Awards from NAACP!

Friday, October 16, from 6:30 to midnight
The Colonial Inn in Norwood, New Jersey.
Tickets include a one-year membership in the NAACP. $85 in advance, $90 at the door. Under 21 $45.
For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Spring Valley NAACP at 845-362-6227.

The Journal News: Spring Valley NAACP honors 8 for community activism

2) Youth Film Festival October 17

October 17th at the Ramapo Cultural Arts Center in Spring Valley, NY at 7:00 PM

The Rockland Youth Film Festival is an international movie festival that celebrates the work of youth from all over the world. RYFF was created for the youth, by the youth of the organization EELEF (Excellence in Education and Living Environments for Families) which is based in Spring Valley. The 2nd annual film festival will be held on October 17th at the Ramapo Cultural Arts Center in Spring Valley, NY at 7pm! Admission is completely free and the show is open to all age groups. Visit our website at Ryff.org and contact Daphnee atdaphnee@ryff.org for tickets.

3) Inter-faith Prayer Service October 22

The Rockland Clergy for Social Justice (RC4SJ) Inter-faith Prayer Service welcoming East Ramapo students and families to the 2015-16 school year will be held on Thursday, October 22 7 -8 p.m. in the Ramapo High School Auditorium, 400 Viola Road, Spring Valley.

This demonstration of Christian, Jewish and Muslim unity reflects the comprehensive religious commitment to East Ramapo students and families in the struggle for equitable educational opportunities.

Please spread the word: the October 22 Interfaith Prayer Service is open to all: students, family members, staff, friends, community organizations and congregations.

Oscar Cohen

4) Fire Captain: Many Schools Unsafe!

LuckyLou Production (YouTube Video): Spring Valley Fire Captain Justin Schwartz calls for fire safety in schools

The Journal News:  Fire captain: Ramapo’s religious schools have unsafe conditions

The Journal News: State called on to act on fire safety issues at Rockland yeshivas (Includes list of schools)

5)  Tyranny of the Majority

The President of the Spring Valley Branch of the NAACP has written a community view to the Journal News:

The NAACP continues to be troubled over the irreparable harm East Ramapo public school students have been experiencing for years resulting from a school board that lacks an understanding of, interest in and commitment to the values and purposes of American public schools. East Ramapo is a district where the majority of public school students are children of color and the majority of the board is largely invested in the interests of children attending religious schools composed mostly of Caucasian children.

Read the whole thing: View: ‘Tyranny of the majority’ in East Ramapo

Time to Celebrate? We Can Change the World!

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Klein Resigns!
2. Public to Monitors: Focus on Justice
3. Board Meeting And Protest Rally October 13
4. Youth Film Festival October 17
5. He Named Me Malala Now at Palisades Mall

1) Klein Resigns!

In June, the state education department rated East Ramapo leadership as ineffective on every measure. Chancellor Tisch called for Superintendent Klein to step down.

On October 7, the school board held an emergency meeting at which they announced Klein would be gone by the end of the month.

The new interim superintendent will be Deborah Wortham.

This change represents just one of the many achievements of the East Ramapo public school activists. This year we have seen:

  • The departure of D’Agostino, the foul mouthed lawyer
  • Interpreters at every board meeting
  • Bilingual classes
  • Return of full day kindergarten for some (a sore point – it should be for all!)

2) Public to Monitors: Focus on Justice

Despite all of the advances, the public has made clear that a school board which has to have these things forced on them is a dysfunctional board. The public is clear that the board itself is the source of the problems and they are demanding a change in the way district leadership is chosen.

The Journal News: 6 takeaways: East Ramapo monitors’ first public forum

3) Board Meeting And Protest Rally October 13

Tuesday October 13 at 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley at 7:00 PM

The next school board meeting will be at the central administration building. We don’t need to bring our “Klein Must Resign” posters anymore, we won that fight! But our students are still lacking many programs, and our school board is only making incremental change under intense pressure. Now is the time to show our persistence. Please make every effort to attend!

4) Youth Film Festival October 17

October 17th at the Ramapo Cultural Arts Center in Spring Valley, NY at 7:00 PM

The Rockland Youth Film Festival is an international movie festival that celebrates the work of youth from all over the world. RYFF was created for the youth, by the youth of the organization EELEF (Excellence in Education and Living Environments for Families) which is based in Spring Valley. The 2nd annual film festival will be held on October 17th at the Ramapo Cultural Arts Center in Spring Valley, NY at 7pm! Admission is completely free and the show is open to all age groups. Visit our website at Ryff.org and contact Daphnee at daphnee@ryff.org for tickets.

5)  He Named Me Malala

He Named Me Malala is now playing at the Palisades Mall in West Nyack. 

Sixteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban for being outspoken about her country’s education system. When the Taliban first came to her town, they focused on banning texts and videos they considered to be profane. This seemed right to many people. Then they started banning TV, the internet, and any other media source they did not control. Ultimately, they started killing those who questioned them and banned girls from attending school.

Malala survived and is now the youngest person to ever be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her activism for female education. This movie is the story of Malala’s fight for a right to education for children everywhere. 

“One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.”
– Malala

 

Forum Tonight; Summit Saturday; Two New Films!

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Monitor’s Forum Tonight
2. Education Summit Saturday
3. Feature Film Being Made in East Ramapo
4. He Named Me Malala Opens October 9

1) Monitor’s Forum Tonight

Monitors Dennis Walcott, Monica George-Fields and John Sipple will be hosting a community forum, so please come with your questions and comments about the East Ramapo crisis.

Thursday Oct 1 at 7:00 PM

Town of Ramapo Cultural Arts Center

64 North Main Street, Spring Valley

2) Education Summit Saturday

“EDUCATING YOUNG MEN OF COLOR FOR SUCCESS”

THIS SAT! OCT. 3RD at Rockland Community College

TO REGISTER CLICK ON LINK: http://cejjeseducationsummit2015rcc.eventbrite.com/

DYNAMIC YOUTH PERFORMERS!!

3) Feature Film Being Made in East Ramapo

THE HUDSON TRIBES: Inspired By Actual Events 

A socio-political crime thriller fueled by racial divides; set in the picturesque Hudson Valley, NY.

Director John Marco Lopez of LPZ Media aims to capture the harsh socio-political divide that exists at the center of the controversial school district in a small Hudson Valley town just north of Manhattan. 

More info: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-hudson-tribes-inspired-by-actual-events#/

4) He Named Me Malala

An intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai and her fight for education for all girls worldwide.

http://www.henamedmemalalamovie.com/

Opens in Theaters October 9. Let’s see it together! send an email to steve@poweroften.us if you would like to catch the Saturday Matinee with me at the Palisades AMC!

 

Ramapo Student: We Cannot Cope!

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. News from Strong East Ramapo
2. School Board Meeting October 13

3. News from East Ramapo Underground
4. Introducing a New Power of Ten Section!

1) News from Strong East Ramapo

IMPORTANT DATES (Courtesy of Strong East Ramapo)
Thursday, October 1 at 7 p.m.
Monitors Dennis Walcott, Monica George-Fields and John Sipple will be hosting a community forum, so please come with your questions and comments about the East Ramapo crisis.  Some news sources have gotten it wrong, but the correct address is the Town of Ramapo Cultural Arts Center, 64 North Main Street, Spring Valley, as posted on the monitors’ new blog.
 
Saturday, October 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
CEJJES Institute presents an education summit: Educating Young Men of Color for Success. Featuring Dr. Robert Moses of The Algebra Project, Mr. David Banks of the Eagle Academy, and Dr. Edmund T. Gordon of The University of Texas, Austin. The event will be at RCC, 145 College Rd, Suffern, NY. More info please contact skyviewra@yahoo.com.
 
Tuesday, November 3: Election Day
Jacques Michel, a member of the Rockland Clergy for Social Justice who supported the East Ramapo oversight bill, is running to serve on the Rockland County Legislature against incumbent and former school board president Aron Wieder, who actively lobbied against oversight.

2) School Board Meeting October 13

Tuesday October 13 at 7:00 PM

The next school board meeting will be at the central administration building. 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley. Please make every effort to attend!

3) News from East Ramapo Underground

East Ramapo Underground is sharing this article from the Asbury Park Press: Charges filed against Lakewood special-ed official which details how the Monitor (with veto power) in New Jersey’s Lakewood School District is pursuing charges against a district official who allegedly illegally used public education dollars to pay for yeshiva education. East Ramapo officials were found by the state education department to be doing exactly the same thing, but there were no consequences. This is why a monitor with veto power is needed in East Ramapo!  

4) New in Power of Ten: The Student Essay Section

East Ramapo=We Cannot Cope

by Ellen Sue Cola
Ramapo High School Class of 2016

It is no secret that there is work to be done in the East Ramapo Central School District. We are fully aware that parents, teachers, and various advocates are outraged over the circumstances at hand—but what about the students? How are the students coping with the challenges they face on a day to day basis? Well, they aren’t. Students cannot cope with the frustrations and limitations that the school board imposes on them.

Starting at the elementary level, students are creatively deprived. Art and music are expressive arts that allow a child (or anyone for that matter) to show individuality and personality without saying one word. Without such activities offered at a crucial creative time for a child, the child is taught that such art and creativity does not matter and is vain. The students who have a taste for the arts are unable to express him or herself and are forced to become someone they do not want to be.

Vincent Van Gogh, one of the greatest artists to ever live, once said, “I dream my painting, and then I paint my dream.” How do we expect the children of the East Ramapo Central School District to paint their dreams when they do not have paint or paintbrushes? An anonymous musician once said, “Music is the voice of the soul.” Does that mean that the students’ voices of East Ramapo are silenced when they have no music?

One sad story that I heard about the disadvantages of the elementary children was from an older sibling of a 2nd grader at Hempstead Elementary School. On her mother’s birthday, she wanted to make a homemade birthday card with the help of her brother to give to their mother when she came home from work. After providing paper and crayons to her brother, she told him to draw a flower on the inside of the card. After a few minutes, she went to check on her brother to see how the flower came out; however, all that was on the paper was the stem (a straight green line). She asked her brother why he did not finish the drawing and he embarrassingly responded “I do not know how to draw a flower.” This same young boy wanted to become a saxophone player but with his family’s low income (which is unable to afford outside classes) and the district’s “inability” to provide such services, this young boy has to wait five years to even touch a saxophone. This young boy is unable to cope with his circumstances, just like many (if not all) of the other students in the elementary schools.

Moving on to the middle school, problems linger there as well. A Pomona Middle School 8th grader “hates 9th period.” For participating in a program, the school received funds to run a longer school day. With these funds, the school was able to provide sports and music to the students. Sounds like a good plan, right? However, with the longer school day, the school implemented a 9th period (one more than the usual 8 period day). In this period, students are to do homework; however, many students either do nothing in this period or simply skip this period because they resent it. Students rather do homework in the comfort of their home.

This 8th grader argues that the funds that the district uses elsewhere could be used for sports and music so that the 9th period would be no more. She continues to explain that ever since the longer day was implemented, she has not been able to see her mother as often as she would like to. Before, when she came from school she was able to spend about an hour with her mother before she went to work. Now, the student barely sees her mother because when she comes home from school, her mother is going to work. How could a young girl cope with such circumstances?

Lastly, the high schools in the East Ramapo Central School District face numerous challenges and obstacles. High school is that time in a student’s life when they find out what they enjoy best and later they pursue that enjoyment in college. However, the district makes it hard for a student to do so with the limited resources offered. Students who would love to be on a junior varsity girls tennis team are unable to. Boys that would love to play volleyball are told they can not. Aspiring fashion designers have no club to join. Parenting classes are not offered as they once were in the district. Aspiring businessmen and businesswoman are not offered any classes or activities to prepare them for such endeavors. Past rivalry between the two high schools in girls volleyball, tennis, and soccer cannot be enjoyed anymore due to the combination of school sports.

An 11th grader from Ramapo High School was unable to play the viola for an entire year because the orchestra class was not offered when she was available to take it. This young girl had to decide whether or not to take a class that would help her in her medical field career or take a class where she would play an instrument she loved. If the class was offered more times a day, then maybe she would not have to make such a hard decision. With only one music teacher (two including the chorus teacher) in the entire school of 4 different grade levels, the task seems nearly impossible.

In September 2015, the district monitor stated that 14% of East Ramapo students are college ready. This may be because students find no interest in school due to the lack of resources and activities that interest him or her. High school students should not be asked to cope with such dilemmas. Adults should ensure that students have adequate resources so they can focus on their future.

At the end of the day, pretending that students can just “cope” with adversity is not an option. Changes can be made if the adults are committed and willing to do whatever it takes for the future generation. So, yes, parents, teachers, advocates, AND students are all in this together— to repair East Ramapo and save our schools.

Explosive Reports: Public and Yeshiva Students All Victims in East Ramapo

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Monitors Report: District in Distress
2. Picnic Success!
3. Journal News Exposes Neglect in East Ramapo Yeshivas
4. New Questions About Old Treasurer

1) Monitors Report: District in Distress

On Wednesday, September 16, in damning detail, the East Ramapo Monitors presented their findings and actions thus far. The news that only 14% of our youth are leaving high school ready for college is only one of the chilling facts presented by the monitors. A webcast of the presentation is available on the Regents website (go to minute 23:30 for the beginning of the East Ramapo discussion).

The monitors will be holding a community forum on Thursday, October 1 at 7 p.m. at the Cultural Arts Center, 64 N. Main Street in Spring Valley, the public is invited.

2) Picnic Success!

Despite a rainy forecast (and some actual rain) over 100 people attended our Family Picnic. We had delicious food, great music, and honored some of the heroes of our movement. We also raised over $2,000 for Advocates for Justice! Pictures and videos are available at https://www.facebook.com/Power-of-Ten-222126104511971.

If you missed the picnic, please consider making your donation to Advocates for Justice at http://www.advocatesforjustice.net/east-ramapo.html.

Justice is coming, and YOU can make it happen!

3) Journal News Exposes Neglect in East Ramapo Yeshivas

A new report by investigative journalist Adrienne Sanders of the Rockland Journal News blows open a previously unknown world of educational neglect in East Ramapo. Featuring riveting testimonial videos by former yeshiva students, Ms. Sanders details a story of shocking neglect of our most vulnerable population. Most shocking of all is the complicity of the East Ramapo school administration, which is charged with preventing educational neglect and enforcing the truancy laws. Laura Barbieri of  Advocates for Justice is also interviewed.

A similar investigation is being conducted into education at NYC yeshivas, led by Young Advocates for Fair Education.

The Jewish Week is also covering this story, with an excellent piece by Shulem Deen: Chasidic Schools Ensure Ignorance And Poverty

4) New Questions About Old Treasurer

Eight years ago, the Assistant Superintendent of Finance did all the bookkeeping for the district. The school board president at that time was Nathan Rothschild. Elected by the ultra-Orthodox bloc vote, he did not need to provide the public with his educational experience. Only after he was convicted and sentenced to federal prison did we learn he did not have a high school diploma. While it is not required for a school board trustee to have graduated from school, it is something the public will usually want to know about a candidate before giving him or her their vote.

One of the many questionable activities during Mr. Rothschild’s tenure was the appointment of a paid treasurer; an extra cost to the district since the work had previously been done at no extra cost by the assistant superintendent of finance. The treasurer, Israel Bier, has been receiving salary and benefits for eight years. During that time, there were numerous complaints regarding the quality of his work. Over and over, his numbers just did not add up.

Activists who requested Mr. Bier’s qualifications received highly redacted documents. A new report by Failed Messiah has uncovered that Mr. Bier had no formal education in accounting when he was hired. His entire college education is reported as “Talmudical Studies” at Bais Medrash Elyon in Monsey. This college only offers one degree program, Talmudical Studies, for a tuition of $7,800, but 100% of the 30 students who attend receive an average of $10,400 in state and federal financial aid, according to www.CampusExplorer.com. Perhaps that is the accounting lesson they learn there!

The school district, despite having been cited by previous monitor Greenberg for failure to follow NY open government laws, and despite have subsequently received training from the Committee on Open Government, and despite the current presence of a new monitoring team, continues to redact politically embarrassing information from documents that the public has a right to see.

Our educational tax dollars have been wasted on an unqualified an incompetent treasurer whose job was done at no cost to the district prior to his arrival. They have been wasted on a superintendent of schools who has zero cultural competence for the student body he serves and whose administration has received the lowest grade possible from the state education department. The Chancellor herself has called for him to be replaced.

The board is supposedly “collaborating” with the new monitor team. If that is true, then the new monitor team is equally responsible for all that continues to be wrong with our district, or to publicly profess where the “collaboration” ends. If the treasurer is unqualified, and the board is responsible for continuing his paycheck, then any “collaborator” with the board is just as responsible. I think the public has been patient enough. Bier must go. Klein must go. We need a new vision for our children this year, before more irrevocable harm is done.

 

Vote Today; Saturday Picnic Rain or Shine; Unforgettable Veteran at board meeting

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Vote Today
2. Saturday’s Picnic Rain or Shine
3. Voice of a Veteran

1) Vote Today

East Ramapo has become a very important political campaign issue in recent years. Informing the readers about candidates who have participated in our struggle is part of Power of Ten’s focus on East Ramapo issues.

Rev. Jacques Michel is running for legislator in District 13. Rev. Michel has passed legislation opposing the closing of elementary schools. He participated in rallies along with parents. His opponent is Aron Wieder.  Mr. Wieder  spearheaded the effort to block legislation that would have provided a check on the actions of the school board. 

Betty Carmand is running for Legislature in District 8. Betty has been one of the people at the center of our struggle for a long time. She is a plaintiff in the civil rights lawsuit. She helped to recruit others to join that lawsuit. Betty has also filed appeals with the state education department. Her opponent is Toney Earl. He supported the bill for a state monitor. 

2) Saturday’s Picnic Rain or Shine

There is plenty of shelter from the rain at Deerkill Day Camp. We are looking forward to sharing a nice picnic, some fantastic music, and celebrating our accomplishments. We will also be raising funds for Advocates for Justice.

If you cannot attend, you can still contribute. Just go to www.poweroften.us and click “Support Our Lawsuit”.

3) Voice of a Veteran

David Lipman, decorated WWII Veteran and ERCSD alum, class of 1939, came to the school board meeting on Tuesday night. What he said is unforgettable.

 

Picnic and Family Fun Day Sept 12

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Picnic and Family Fun Day Sept 12
2. Join the Delegation to Long Island Sept 8
3. Beloved School Board President Dies
4. Next Board Meeting and Protest Sept 8
5. East Ramapo Parents Will Sue NY State

1) Picnic and Family Fun Day Sept 12

Come and enjoy an afternoon with friends, food, and music! Power of ten and Padres Unidos de East Ramapo will honor three champions of our struggle for quality education for the children of East Ramapo. We will celebrate the amazing work that has been done by Advocates for Justice, the public interest, not-for-profit law firm that has brought a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of our students and taxpayers of East Ramapo, and help them to raise some much needed funds.

Saturday SEPT 12 FROM 1:00 – 5:00 PM
DEERKILL DAY CAMP
54 WILDER RD, SUFFERN, NY

Honorees: Hon. Rodnyse Bichotte, NYS Assembly District 42; Andrew Mandel, Strong East Ramapo; Robert Rhodes, Preserve Ramapo.

Entertainment: Michel Lemorin and His Afro-Caribbean Quintet, Musicos Unidos – Padres de East Ramapo, Student Musicians of East Ramapo and Green Meadow Schools.

$5.00 Taxi Service From Spring Valley by: America Latina Taxi 845-578-1616.

Potluck Style Picnic: Bring A Dish To Share Or An Item For The Grill.

Activities include Live Music, Soccer, Basketball, Playground, Volleyball.

If you would like to help with this event, please contact steve@poweroften.us

Join the event on Facebook

2) Join the Delegation to Long Island Sept 8

SIGN UP TODAY — Calling all East Ramapo advocates to join us for our trip to Long Island on Tuesday, September 8, where we will be building support in advance of the new legislative session in January. Members of a local teachers union, of a local synagogue, and at least one superintendent in Suffolk County are already scheduled to greet us and pledge their willingness to lobby their legislators on our behalf. We will be gathering at 2 p.m. at Memorial Park and travel via carpools to Long Island. Sign up today: www.strongeastramapo.org/action

3) Beloved School Board President Dies

Georgine Hyde, whose legacy epitomizes what a school board trustee should be, passed away on August 28, 2015. She served from 1969 to 2005, when the growing ultra-orthodox bloc vote ousted her and took control of the district.

The Journal News: Georgine Hyde, Holocaust survivor, ex-E. Ramapo board president dies

4) Next Board Meeting and Protest Sept 8

The whole world is watching. If you do not accept second class status, YOU MUST COME OUT and protest at the school board meetings. Invite your friends! Make a sign! If not now, when?

September 8, at 7:00 PM
Chestnut Ridge Middle School
892 Route 45, Chestnut Ridge, NY.

5) East Ramapo Parents Will Sue NY State

New City PATCH: Parents Threaten to Sue State over East Ramapo if Corrections Aren’t Immediate

Protest Tonight at Chestnut Ridge MS; New Monitor Appointed

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Another Monitor Appointed
2. Protests Continue
3. Support Michel for Legislature
4. Trip to Long Island Sept 8

1) Another Monitor Appointed

Commissioner Elia and Chancellor Tisch came to Rockland County Thursday to announce that they were appointing another monitor for East Ramapo.

The Wall Street Journal reported: Former NYC Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott to Serve as East Ramapo Monitor
The AP reported: DISTRICT RIVEN BY RELIGIOUS FAVORITISM CLAIMS GETS MONITOR

Commissioner Elia said she was “extremely troubled” and that “We recognize the seriousness of the situation.” However, the actions the education department is taking seem not to rise up to the seriousness of the problem.

We wrote to the Commissioner of Education in 2009, describing basically the same problems that the fiscal monitor found in 2014. While the state waited to act, hundreds of teachers were fired, programs were cut, and students suffered. The fiscal monitor issued a scathing report, but didn’t call for removal of the board. While he was conducting his study, the board sold two schools for less than their assessed value.

Commissioner Elia set a very different tone when addressing a Buffalo school board meeting. She said “Rest assured, that if the schools do not show demonstrable improvement, someone will come in under my authority and fix those schools.”

We are not ungrateful. We only want equal treatment. We want students in East Ramapo to have an education equivalent to what students in other Rockland districts have. We want NY State to act swiftly to remove the board and place our district in receivership while the issue of governance by a “not so simple majority” is resolved. 

2) Protests Continue Tuesday (TONIGHT)

The whole world is watching. If you do not accept second class status, YOU MUST COME OUT and protest at the school board meetings. Invite your friends! Make a sign! If not now, when?

August 18, at 7:30 PM
Chestnut Ridge Middle School
892 Route 45, Chestnut Ridge, NY.

To receive reminders about meetings or cancellations, text the word POWEROFTEN to 84483 from your mobile phone.

3) Support Michel for Legislature

If there is one person who is most responsible for the degradation of East Ramapo, it is Aron Wieder. In Nov, 2009, Aron Wieder brought Al D’Agostino to East Ramapo. In June of 2011, the school board majority, led by Aron Wieder chose Dr. Joel Klein instead of Pedro Santana for Superintendent of schools. Last year Mr. Wieder (now a Rockland County Legislator) spearheaded the effort to block legislation that would have provided a check on the actions of the school board.

Rev. Jacques Michel previously held the seat the Mr. Wieder now occupies. As a legislator, Rev. Michel passed legislation opposing the sale of elementary schools. He participated in rallies along with parents. He is now running in the Democratic Primary on September 10 (yes, it is on a Thursday). This time, there is no other candidate to ‘split the vote’.

Please join Citizens for Rev. Jacques Michel for a Fundraising Barbecue on Saturday, August 22, 2015 from 6:00 PM– 8:00 PM, at The United Saints Church, 115 South Main Street, Spring Valley, NY. For Information or to RSVP 914.260.4118 or ToPreventCrime@aol.com. Please make all checks payable to: Citizens for Rev. Jacques Michel, 115 South Main Street, Spring Valley, NY 10977. We Hope To See You There!

4) Trip to Long Island Sept 8

The following message is from Strong East Ramapo. I encourage everyone to support this group and join them in thier actions:

Dear Strong East Ramapo,

I am thrilled to announce our first action of the new school year.  While we are glad that Dennis Walcott and his team are in town, we must do the advance work of being prepared for the 2016 legislative session, given that Walcott’s team does not have formal authority to reform the district directly. This means building our support across the state to be ready to pass a strong oversight bill. In a series of actions that will culminate in being ready for an Albany visit in early January, Strong East Ramapo will be leading our first trip to Long Island on Tuesday, September 8 (the day before the first day of school). The trip will aim to forge relationships with allies who will pledge to lobby Senator Flanagan on our behalf for veto power when the time comes.

We plan on leaving Rockland in carpools from Spring Valley starting at 2. Visit www.strongeastramapo.org/action to RSVP and to receive more information.  We need you there!

Thanks,
Andrew

State Oversight for East Ramapo
twitter: StrongERamapo

State Ed Coming Thursday; New Lawsuit asks to Recoup Millions

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. State Education Department Announcement
2. New Lawsuit to Recoup Millions
3. Your Help Needed

1) State Education Department Announcement

Education Commissioner Elia and Chancellor Tisch will be visiting RCC  on Thursday at 1:30 PM to make a major announcement about the state’s plan to address the needs of East Ramapo. Please make every effort to attend so we can fill that room and demonstrate our commitment to quality public education.

Sign up on Facebook (don’t forget to invite all your FB friends): https://www.facebook.com/events/486737178172230/

2) New Lawsuit to Recoup Millions

Advocates for Justice has filed a new lawsuit on behalf of East Ramapo taxpayers and parents seeking to recoup excessive legal fees paid by the school board. As reported in the last update, NY Supreme Court Justice Bucaria found that the school board had overpaid lawyers in one case by over $2 million. Advocates for Justice seeks to recoup that money for the district and prevent the board from further excessive legal spending. Also, A4J has filed an appeal with the Commissioner of Education asking that the school board members be removed for violation of their fiduciary duty. 

School board members in NY are required to exercise the degree of diligence, care, and skill in handling the district’s money that an ordinary prudent individual would use in handling their own personal finances. In the case decided by Judge Bucaria, he said the board spent $2.2 million for legal fees when a reasonable amount would have been $187 thousand. Clearly they were not prudent, not careful, and spent an extraordinary amount of money. The judge’s findings echo the findings of Fiscal Monitor Greenberg. They confirm the initial reaction of parents when they heard about the outrageous legal fees agreed to by the school board.

However, Judge Bucaria was only looking at expenses for one lawsuit. The board has spent millions more fighting dubious lawsuits. These expenses are a major factor in the poor financial condition of the district. The following is a partial list of expensive and disastrous suits begun by the school board:

  • Sued the State Education Department to prevent them from blocking the board’s policy of paying private tuition with public money.
  • Appealed the decision of the NY Supreme Court when they lost that case.
  • Sued the NY Attorney General’s Office to prevent them from accessing records related to the sale of Hillcrest Elementary using a false instrument (an appraisal).
  • Violated the contract of former superintendent Outstacher and had to pay his legal fees.
  • Sued their own insurance company that declined coverage for board members’ conduct.

What other board can you imagine that would actually try to prevent a law enforcement agency from investigating a potential fraud against the corporation that they are entrusted with governing? Can you imagine if the East Ramapo board all ‘owned stock’ in the corporation they govern, would they behave this way? Have they been acting as if guarding the finances of the district was guarding their own personal finances? Or have they abused their power and betraying their oath?

We think it is time for a judge to decide. 

3) Your Help Needed

 Advocates for Justice is a public interest, not-for-profit law firm. They are not charging for the work they do. There is no contract with plaintiffs for payment when the case is decided. There is no charge to the plaintiffs for the work they do, period.

Your  donations are what makes this possible. That the victims have a voice, that they get their day in court, that our system of justice functions not only for those with the money. 

Donations are tax deductible. They can be spread out into monthly payments. They are what sustains the avenue of legal recourse for our families. Please take a moment now to support those who fight for our children, who fight for their right to a sound basic education.

Please Give Today

East Ramapo Board Loses in Court Again

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. East Ramapo Board Loses in Court Again
2. CUPON Protests Ramapo Zoning
3. School Board Protests Continue Tuesday
4. Power of Ten Spanish Version Expands

1) East Ramapo Board Loses in Court Again

NY State Supreme Court has found that East Ramapo has overpaid attorneys $2,055,345.50, more than ten times the amount the judge said was reasonable!

The school board has repeatedly voted to pay legal fees for school board members, former school board members, and district employees who have been sued by parents or taxpayers. The board’s insurance company (NYSIR) refused to cover these costs, saying “the NYSIR policy precludes coverage to the insureds above regarding the “fraudulent, dishonest, malicious, criminal or intentional wrongful act(s) or omission(s)”.

The board then sued its insurance company, but the court found that “the allegations sustained by Judge Seibel, purchasing religious textbooks, paying religious school tuition, and transferring school property to religious schools, were clearly of a deliberate and intentional nature.” Therefore the court ruled that the insurance company was not liable for payments after Judge Seibel sustained the allegations on March 12, 2014.

The board approved spending $2,233,485.50 in legal fees before the judge’s March 2014 ruling. The insurance company called that “excessive”. The judge agreed, saying “a reasonable fee for the legal services provided is $187,500”. Read the full decision here.

This judgement is just one more step on the path to Justice for East Ramapo. None of our legal actions would be possible without your continued support of Advocates for Justice, a public interest, not-for-profit law firm. Please GIVE GENEROUSLY, all contributions are tax deductible.

2) CUPON Protests Ramapo Zoning

CUPON is a group formed to hold our planning and zoning boards accountable. They are holding a Rally at a Zoning Board meeting TONIGHT:

Residents, it is time for us to stand up for our neighborhoods! The Monsey Flats ll project that is being proposed for Hillcrest is on the Ramapo Zoning Board agenda. This destruction of our neighborhoods needs to stop now! We need YOU, Rockland residents, to come out in full force to protest a construction that requires multiple zoning variances.

The Rally and Zoning Board meeting information:
Date: Monday, July 27th, 2015
Location: Ramapo Town Hall 237 Rt. 59, Suffern, NY 10901
Time: rally – 7:00pm
Zoning Board meeting: 8:00PM

3) School Board Protests Continue Tuesday

Please join us in our continuing protest demanding that Klein resign (or be removed), and the public school community be involved in choosing a competent replacement:

Tuesday, July 28 at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave
Spring Valley, NY

4) Power of Ten In Spanish

Last year, with the help of a translator, Power of Ten included some Spanish content. This week, we have added a machine translator, which although not as good as a human translator, has enabled us to greatly increase the number of pages and posts available in Spanish. Every new post will be automatically translated. Bienvenidos to all of our new Spanish speaking readers!

East Ramapo: Supt. Klein will go; Trustee Ramirez resigns in first month on the job

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Klein to be Replaced?
2. New Launch of Strong East Ramapo
3. Saturday Family Fun Day in Spring Valley
4. New School Board Member Resigns After Just One Meeting
5. September 12 – Save the Date

1) Klein to be Replaced?

According to the Journal News, Superintendent Klein will soon be removed by the East Ramapo School Board. One of the most important jobs of a school board is selecting the Superintendent of Schools. In 2011, the school board majority, a group with zero experience in public education, led by Aron Wieder, selected Dr. Klein over the objections of the public school parents, educators, and school board members. Trust us, they said, even though we have no experience and a glaring conflict of interest, take our word that we are acting in good faith

Four years later, our children’s educational system is reduced to wreckage. The state education department finds the administration performing at the lowest possible level in every parameter measured. Now the school board is hinting about parting ways with Supt. Klein, the same way they did with lawyer D’Agostino two years ago. Please join us in our continuing protest demanding that Klein resign (or be removed), and the public school community be involved in choosing a competent replacement:

Tuesday, July 28 at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave
Spring Valley, NY

2) New Launch of Strong East Ramapo

Many have written to Power of Ten asking when we will start working on next year’s advocacy strategy. Strong East Ramapo has taken the lead and wants YOU to be involved:

LAUNCH MEETING — After a month of surveys, conversations, strategic thinking and gathering feedback, it’s time to start the engines of Strong East Ramapo 2015-16. I am looking forward to meeting with everyone who is interested in helping to play a planning role in our efforts to secure an equitable education for the children of the district. We will be:
— Refining our goals for the year
— Planning our first major action of the new school year
— Mapping out our subsequent strategies for the fall
— Establishing roles, as well as ways to communicate ongoing
Date: Sunday, August 9 at 4 p.m-5:30 p.m.
Location: Please RSVP to strongeastramapo@gmail.com by August 1 to learn our meeting place.
Hope to see you there!

3) Saturday Family Fun Day in Spring Valley

“We The People – Rockland County” Presents
1st Annual Spring Valley Family Fun Day And Unity Rally
Saturday July 25th at Tigers Den Park, Spring Valley, New York
Time 11:00am to 5:00pm
Special Guest: DJ Juanyto of HOT 97 fm
Music* Food* Entertainment
Special Thank You to: Dannon, Frito-Lay, Hot97, S2SBB

4) New School Board Member Resigns After Just One Meeting

East Ramapo’s newest school board member resigned today. He told the Journal News he had misjudged the amount of time it takes to be a school board member. Perhaps he should have attended at least one complete meeting before he ran for the board? Perhaps the 6000 people who voted for him should have asked if he had ever sat through even one meeting?

At the heart of the dysfunction in East Ramapo is the passionate participation of thousands of voters whose ignorance of current events in public education is enforced by edicts against reading the newspaper, listening to the radio, watching TV, or going on the internet. School board members have even participated in rallies in support of banning use of the internet.

The result of enforced ignorance of voters has been election of incompetent or abusive school board trustees. Trustees who hold most sessions in secret. Trustees who call members of the public ‘miscreants’. Trustees who tolerate high level employees who verbally abuse students and parents. Trustees who sue the state education department. Trustees who authorize real estate deals with beneficial terms for their friends. They don’t have to worry about the electorate watching their misdeeds analyzed on the evening news, the voters are not allowed to own television sets!

Only now that NY State has beaten them in court and threatens to force them to share power are they dialing back the arrogance a little. But the civil rights of the public school children will never be safe as long as enforced ignorance holds unchecked power.

5) Save the Date

September 12 from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM we will have the First Annual Power of Ten Picnic for Justice. We will have food, games, music and more. Details TBA in the next update. This year we will raise funds for Advocates for Justice, the Not-for -Profit Public Interest Law Firm that has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of East Ramapo parents, students, and taxpayers. However, you don’t have to wait until Septemeber 12 to donate, please do so today

Justice is Coming to East Ramapo, One Step at a Time

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. D’Agostino is Gone!
2. Klein Must Resign!
3. A Brief History of East Ramapo

1) D’Agostino is Gone!

In Nov, 2009, Aron Wieder brought Al D’Agostino to East Ramapo. This action has cost East Ramapo millions of dollars over the past five plus years. The damage to the students is beyond measure.  Mr. Wieder undertook this action against the advice of senior board members and the Superintendent. Many of the problems of East Ramapo can be traced back to this moment. Be sure to watch this video, to know who Mr. Wieder is and what he did to East Ramapo.

Now, thanks to a unparalleled community organizing campaign, Al D’Agostino is gone. The credit belongs to all of you who got involved. Antonio Luciano and Peggy Hatton of East Ramapo Underground, Andrew Mandel with Strong East Ramapo, Willie Trotman and Oscar Cohen of the NAACP, The Rockland Clergy for Social Justice, and the Padres Unidos of East Ramapo deserve the credit for their leadership.

The district now has a reputable and experienced law firm. It is one step, but a very important one in returning quality education for all of our children in East Ramapo.

2) Klein Must Resign!

In June of 2011, the school board majority, led by Aron Wieder (again!) chose Dr. Joel Klein instead of Pedro Santana for Superintendent of schools.  This action has also caused irreparable harm to the students of East Ramapo. The failure of Dr. Klein to provide competent leadership has been documented by the state education department. The most obvious deficiency was the insensitivity of Dr. Klein to the Latino families. This led to massive protests at every school board meeting and even at Dr. Klein’s house. Given that Chancellor Tisch of the Board of Regents has also called for him to be removed, it would seem only a matter of time before he will also be exiting our district. It can’t be too soon.

3) A Brief History of East Ramapo

A Community View in the Journal News has inspired me to take a look back at what has happened to East Ramapo. Titled “Remembering East Ramapo’s Glory Days“, it recalls the long service of school board member Georgine Hyde, a Holocaust survivor who believed that providing a quality public education to all children was the best way to ensure “never again”. The effect of having quality leadership on the board was documented by students and staff in 2004.

However, in 2005 Ms. Hyde was voted off the board and a new, majority Orthodox board was formed. Collaboration with the non-Orthodox community was ended (also voted off the board that year was Dr. Danielle Bright, the only Haitian American on the board) and quality public education started to take a back seat to maximizing funding to Orthodox yeshivas.

Then, in 2008, despite objections from parents, staff, students, and the state education department, Mr Wieder proceeded to implement a series of steps which brought the district to its knees. He brought D’Agostino and Klein soon followed. Two schools were closed and sold. Each of these moves has turned out to be a disaster. Legal costs have skyrocketed. State reports indicate the Klein Administration is incompetent and students are suffering because of it. The Attorney General is still investigating the sale of the schools, while enrollment goes up and overcrowding worsens.

This year, a series of community organizing actions have brought the problems caused by conflicted governance into sharp focus. Elected officials including Governor Cuomo, Assembly Members Zebrowski and Jaffee, and Senator Carlucci have called for change. A bill to give more power to the State Education Department to oversee East Ramapo passed in the NY State Assembly. The federal civil rights lawsuit, first brought in 2012 by Advocates for Justice is wending its way through the court system.

How can you be involved? Come to the protests at the school board meetings. Write letters to the newspaper. Call the radio. Email elected officials. Donate to Advocates for Justice.

Justice is Coming, and YOU can Make it Happen!

Klein Must Resign!

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Senate Stops Monitor Bill
2. Chancellor calls for removal of Superintendent Klein
3. Klein Must Resign!
4. Protest July 7

1) Senate Stops Monitor Bill

What happened? We are all asking ourselves how a local bill bill with 100% local support, including a resolution by the Rockland County Legislature, lobbying by County Executive Ed Day, and the support of the Rockland School Board Association could fail to get a vote in the NY State Senate. 

Capital New York:

“In East Ramapo, where a school board dominated by Orthodox Jewish members is at odds with the parents of a student body that is largely black and Hispanic, in a situation that seemed to be crying out for some resolution at the state level … Governor Cuomo … backed a bill … which passed the Assembly by a close vote … but the Senate did not advance legislation on the issue … Republicans there, including Flanagan, said the Assembly bill would strip local control of schools. He’s likely just as mindful that bloc voting is common in Orthodox communities, and that the G.O.P.’s narrow majority depends on keeping Simcha Felder, a Democrat whose Brooklyn district is heavily Orthodox, in the fold.”

Read the whole article here: http://bit.ly/1C06Lbw

2) Chancellor calls for removal of Superintendent Klein

Following a series of reports which document the failures and incompetence of East Ramapo district leadership, Chancellor Tisch has called for the removal of Superintendent Klein.

Wall Street Journal:

The East Ramapo school board is controlled by Orthodox Jewish men who send their children to private religious schools. Over the past year, a series of state reports have detailed the district’s financial deficits, mismanagement and failure to provide adequate instruction to many of its public school children, most of whom are poor minorities.

In recommending that the board remove Superintendent Joel Klein,Ms. Tisch said, “It’s time for the board of East Ramapo to stop living in this fantasy where the world doesn’t see them as being misguided in their treatment of these public school children, and do something to show…they are going to try to act to repair a very damaged relationship” with the community.

To Access the Full Story, Follow the link on the Power of Ten Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Power-of-Ten/222126104511971

3) Klein Must Resign!

Angelica Infante-Green, the education department’s associate commissioner of bilingual education, described her experience visiting East Ramapo: “What I did see was very little attention paid to (immigrants who speak Spanish).” “The funding that was designated for this population was being misused. It was not going to direct services to students,” she said. “It’s an injustice that these kids have not been served.”

On Sunday Morming, about 75 people gathered in front of Superintendent Klein’s house to demand Klein’s resignation:

Many of the protesters were Latinos, who remembered that the superintendent had made insensitive comments about Hispanic immigrants last year. Now they have read the new reports about how the district is failing to deliver state mandated services for immigrants and English Language Learners. 

4) Protest July 7

There has been a protest at every school board meeting since September 2014. The nest meeting/protest will be Tuesday July 7 at 7:00 PM, at 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley. We hope you will join us. Justice is coming, and you can make it happen!

New Reports: East Ramapo Governance Failing; Call on NY Senate to Pass S3821 For Oversight Now!

Power of Ten Update

In this Issue:

1. NYSED Reports: East Ramapo Administration Fails!
2. Last Day to Make Calls and Send Emails
3. Report from Monday’s Rally and March

1) NYSED Reports: East Ramapo Administration Fails!

Three new reports from NYSED directly tie poor student performance to the failures of the East Ramapo board and administration to provide vision, leadership, and direction. The reports provide devastating detail of lapses in oversight, failure to supervise, failure to evaluate, and colossal arrogance. The summary of the reports is available here. Here is the Compliance Report on English Language Learners, and Here is the report on school district effectiveness.

Capital’s Jessica Bakeman: Education department: East Ramapo failing English learners

“These reports add to already overwhelming evidence that for many years, the East Ramapo school board has not acted in the best interests of its public school students,” Board of Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch, who has advocated strongly for the legislation, said in a statement. “The hardship these students have endured is reprehensible. The Legislature has a moral imperative to act before they leave town for summer vacation. The students in East Ramapo public schools cannot afford to wait another year.”

The Journal News: State report gives E. Ramapo schools low marks

2) Last Day to Make Calls and Send Emails

The Senate session was extended again, with today, Wednesday June 24, being the new last day. That means there is still a chance that the bill for a monitor for East Ramapo could pass this year!

Do your part! Use this link to send email to the NY State Senate (with a copy to Governor Cuomo)

Then make a phone call (or seven if you can). Don’t forget to forward the message to your contacts around the state, their calls count too!

The top person to call remains Senator John Flanagan since he controls what gets voted on by the Senate. But who else could you call to try to help us as we race to the finish line? Check out the list below, in order of priority. (Forward this message and have your friends and family call, too!)

1. Senator John Flanagan (518-455-2071). Given that the East Ramapo oversight bill passed the Assembly, it is more than reasonable to ask him to “bring Senate Bill 3821 to a vote of the full Senate.”

2. Governor Cuomo (518-474-8390, press 3). The Governor has stated his support for East Ramapo oversight more than once, and we are thankful for that. But we need him to “use his considerable influence to convince the Senate to vote on S. 3821.”

3. Senator David Carlucci (518-455-2991). We need Senator Carlucci to champion his original bill. Be clear that you want him to “focus his energy, and his networks in the Senate, to bring Senate Bill 3821 to a vote.”

4. Senator Bill Larkin (518-455-2770). A senator from North Rockland and Orange County, this 87-year-old statesman already supports Senate Bill 3821 and could use his 25 years of seniority to “urge Senator Flanagan to let the S. 3821 to be brought to the full Senate for a vote.”

5. Senator John Bonacic (518-455-3181). A state senator from Orange, Ulster and Sullivan Counties, this 15-year veteran of the Senate has indicated his support for S. 3821. Ask him to “encourage Senator Flanagan to bring the East Ramapo oversight bill that passed the Assembly to the Senate floor for a vote.”

6. Senator Jeff Klein (518-455-3595). The leader of Senator Carlucci’s Independent Democratic Conference, Senator Klein from Riverdale may have chips he can cash in for his allegiance to the Republican majority. Urge him to use some for the children of the district.

7. Senator Carl Marcellino (518-455-2390). The chair of the Education Committee, Senator Marcellino is very familiar with the issues in East Ramapo. As a fellow Long Islander (Syosset), he and Senator Flanagan are tight. Urge him to “do the right thing and ask Senator Flanagan to bring S. 3821 to a vote.”

3) Report from Monday’s Rally and March

What can I say about Monday night? Police estimated 700 people rallied in Memorial Park and marched to the Central Administration Building. They came together to speak with one voice: Pass S3821! Speakers included Assembly Member Ken Zebrowski and Ellen Jaffee, NY State Regent Judith Johnson, Spring Valley NAACP President Willie Trotman, Parents Activist Luis Nivelo and more. 

News 12: Parents demand state monitor oversee E. Ramapo schools

Facebook Video: https://www.facebook.com/1269116671/videos/10206582701587455/?l=4396381180476045668

Rally Monday: Gov Cuomo, Where are You?

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Prayer Vigil for Victims of Charleston Church Shooting Tonight
2. Our Bill Stalls in Senate
3. Rally on Monday
4. Vote on Tuesday
5. Minority Empowerment Forum Thursday

1) Prayer Vigil for Victims of Charleston Church Shooting Tonight

The Rockland County Minsters Alliance will hold a Prayer Vigil in support of the families of the victims of the church shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church located in Charleston, SC. Please come out to Pray for Peace and the Strength to stand up for Righteousness.

The First Baptist Church of Spring Valley NY.6 Hoyt Street, Spring Valley
Sunday, June 21, 2015 6:00pm-8:00pm

2) Our Bill Stalls in Senate

The bill for a monitor for East Ramapo passed the NY State Assembly as A.5355 on June 11 following a spirited and healthy debate. Opponents of the bill were given every opportunity to present their concerns. Assembly Members Jaffee and Zebrowski answered those concerns at length. The majority of the members of the Assembly, having heard both sides, voted to pass the bill. However, Senate Majority Leader Flanagan refused to allow the companion bill, S.3821, for a discussion or a vote in the Senate. Then Senator Carlucci, who represents our area, submitted a different bill, S.5974.

This new bill was submitted as an ultimatum, with no time left for review, discussion, or feedback. Since then the Senate has stayed overtime due to other issues, giving a us a chance to evaluate the new bill. Further complicating the matter, the Senate Bill would have to also pass through the Assembly all over again.

The purpose of creating a bill was to correct problems identified in the Greenberg Report. The report found that many of the decisions of the school board were harming the quality of education. He recommended a change in the relationship between the state and the board. The state, Mr. Greenberg said, should have a monitor on site at the district, with power to prevent further harm.

Senator Carlucci’s bill does not provide for a monitor with the power to intervene. The monitor would only have the ability to send a written objection to the Education Department. The Assembly members who worked to get the original bill through their house tried to work out a compromise which would involve a hearing officer, but Senator Carlucci would not include that the monitor could file a complaint except for violation of law by the school board. This struck many as odd. Why would a law be needed to stop people from breaking the law?

It is the state which bears the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that a sound, basic education is provided. The local school board members are chosen by the local community, but they are acting on behalf of the state to accomplish the objectives put forth by the state. The Education Department already has teams of professionals reviewing the practices of East Ramapo and every other district. The problem in East Ramapo is that the school board refuses to comply. We don’t need another written objection. We need NY State to honor its obligation to the children.

For more details and analysis, I recommend the Strong East Ramapo Facebook page.

3) Rally on Monday

Monday, June 22nd from 7 p.m. in Memorial Park in Spring Valley.

The Senate was supposed to conclude their legislative year this past Wednesday. However, they are returning to Albany on Tuesday for their unfinished business. We want to be clear that strengthening the East Ramapo oversight bill MUST BE part of their last day.

Our goals for the rally are to:
— Demand that our Senate Leadership in Albany do better for the children of East Ramapo, that the current Senate Bill is inadequate and that a monitor must be able to stop the board from violating their responsibilities to the children
— Urge Governor Cuomo to intervene on our behalf
— Unite community around our strength and our determination to not give up regardless of what happens.

Make signs like:
— We need STRONG oversight for East Ramapo
— Senator Flanagan: we deserve more than crumbs
— Put some teeth in the bill
— Albany, don’t let East Ramapo down
— Governor Cuomo, where are you?
— We are not done!

Tell your friends, family and neighbors and spread our message widely. Anyone is welcome that cares about justice for the children of the district. Please plan to attend and bring your friends, neighbors and anyone who feels our children and community deserve better!

4) Vote on Tuesday

The Finklestein Library Budget Vote and Trustee Election will be held on Tuesday, June 23 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Library. Each year one of five trustee seats is up for election. This year it is the seat of Denet Alexandre. Mr. Alexandre is a longtime supporter of public education in East Ramapo. Please come out to the library on June 23 to support your public library and to keep Mr. Alexandre on the board.

Budget information and Biographical information about the candidates is available online here

A review of current issues at the library by Mr. Alexandre is available here: http://www.hnenetwork.com/

5) Minority Empowerment Forum Thursday

The Spring Valley NAACP, We The People, and Tender Steps of NY, Inc. will co-sponsor a “United To Build” event on Thursday, June 25, 6:30pm at the Louis Kurtz Civic Center.

The Black and Latino community make up 30% of Rockland County and it is time to unite and let our collective voices be heard.  Let’s come together and identify social issues that pertain to each community and figure out how we could unite to tackle those problems.

Tuesday: Back to Albany

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Tuesday: Back to Albany
2. Wall Street Journal on Monitor Bill
3. Library Vote June 23

1) Tuesday: Back to Albany

Please join Strong East Ramapo as they travel to Albany one more time in support of the bill for a monitor for East Ramapo:

FINAL WEEK — Now that we have passed the Assembly, join me on Tuesday in Albany for a chance to advocate for East Ramapo oversight in the Senate. This is it. Let’s leave nothing undone. Thank you to members of the Ramapo Class of 2009 for already committing!

http://www.strongeastramapo.org/june-16/

If you can’t make it, you can help from home:www.strongeastramapo.org/action

2) Wall Street Journal on Monitor Bill

The best coverage of the action last week, by Leslie Brody of the WSJ:

N.Y. Lawmakers Approve Monitor for East Ramapo School District

3) Library Vote June 23

The Finklestein Library Budget Vote and Trustee Election will be held on Tuesday, June 23 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the Library. Each year one of five trustee seats is up for election. This year it is the seat of Denet Alexandre. Mr. Alexandre is a longtime supporter of public education in East Ramapo. Please come out to the library on June 23 to support your public library and to keep Mr. Alexandre on the board.

Budget information and Biographical information about the candidates is available online here

Monitor Bill Passes NY State Assembly; Your Help Needed for the Senate Vote

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue

1. Monitor Bill passes in NY Assembly!!!
2. Next Step: The Senate – Your Help Needed!!!
3. Dr. Andrew Mandel talks East ramapo on NPR Radio

1) Monitor Bill passes in NY Assembly!!!

Today was a historic milestone in the struggle for Justice in East Ramapo. The Bill for a Monitor passed 80-56. Thank you to Ellen Jaffee and Ken Zebrowski, as well as Assembly Education Chair Cathy Nolan, Assemblywoman Rodneyse Bichotte, Assemblyman Aubry, and Speaker Heastie.

2) Next Step: The Senate – Your Help Needed!!!

The bill must now pass the Senate. Senator Carlucci told the Journal News that he’s working hard with Senate Leader Flanagan to get the bill to a vote. Then it will go to Governor Cuomo, who has already said he will sign the bill.

Many have already sent email to the Senate rules committee. Please use this link to send another message, which addresses some of the concerns raised by opponents of the bill. 

Use this Link to send Email to NY Senate Rules Committee

We must also keep the phone calls going — and MUST mobilize anyone you know in New York State to call their own local senator (or, even better, show up at the local office). If you know ANYONE on Long Island or upstate New York in particular, this is the time to ask them to help us. No one is more persuasive than the person who votes for you. Think through your own contacts, and reach out to them.

Every phone call matters — particularly now.

When you call the people below, please say:
“My name is X, and I am from Y. I strongly support Senate Bill 3821, and we need your support now. Everyone from the Rockland School Boards Association to the New York City Bar Association considers this a reasonable solution to a crisis that has gone on for way too long. Please support us.”

Priority One List (Rules Committee members)
Hannon (Garden City, Long Island) (518-455-2200)
Little (Lake George) (518-455-2811)
Nozzolio (Seneca Falls area) (518-455-2366)
Seward (Oneonta) (518-455-3131)
Young (Western New York) – (518-455-3563)

Priority Two List (Other Senators who will vote once Rules passes it)
DeFrancisco (Onondaga and Cayuga Counties) (518-455-3511)
Amedore (Ulster County) (518-455-2350)
Funke (Rochester) (518-455-2215)
Murphy (Westchester/Putnam/Dutchess) (518-455-3111)
Ortt (Niagara Falls) (518-455-2024)
Robach (Rochester) (518-455-2909)
Serino (Dutchess/Putnam) (518-455-2945)

Priority Three (Other Senators who will vote once Rules passes it)
Comrie (Queens) (518-455-2701)
Golden (Brooklyn) (518-455-2730)
Gallivan (Geneseo) (518-455-3471)
Marchione (Hudson/Saratoga Springs) (518-455-2381)
O’Mara (Corning) (518-455-2091)
Sampson (Brooklyn) (518-455-2788)
Martins (Long Island) (518-455-3265)

3) Dr. Andrew Mandel talks East Ramapo on NPR Radio

Dr. Mandel delivers a brilliant, educated interesting interview on the WAMC Radio Show “Conversations with Alan Chartock”. Follow this link to listen to the show

East Ramapo Mismanagement Continues Unabated, Anti-Defamation League Supports Monitor Bill

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. School Board loses another lawsuit
2. ADL Supports Monitor Bill
3. NY Senators Need to Hear from YOU!

1) School Board loses another lawsuit

New York’s highest court has ruled against the East Ramapo board in their lawsuit against the NY State Education Department. The school board was cited by the education department for unlawfully placing students in private schools at public expense on August 27, 2010. They were notified again on December 23, 2010, and again on March 29, 2011. They were cited again August 23, 2011 and again on May 24, 2012 and again on December 19, 2012.

On April 12, 2013 the school board sued the education department. On December 20, 2013, the NY state Supreme Court ruled against the school board. Despite the court finding that the board had “wholly failed to meet its burden”, the board decided to sue again in the appellate court.

All of these expensive lawsuits were against a state agency enforcing federal law designed to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment, recklessly using funds taken from the education of children.

The board continued its reckless course even while the fiscal monitor, Hank Greenberg was conducting his inquiry and even while Assembly Members Jaffee and Zebrowski and Senator Carlucci were writing the bill for a monitor, and even while they were lobbying Albany that they did not need more oversight!!!

The complete disregard for US law and the regulations of the NY State Education Department are proof that oversight without veto power is completely ignored by this board. The remedy proposed by Mr. Greenberg represents an absolute minimum. There is no more time to lose. Action is needed immediately!

2) ADL Supports Monitor Bill

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today issued its support of an oversight monitor for East Ramapo, indicating that the legislation will be an important first step in restoring trust in the community.

3) NY Senators Need to Hear from YOU!

The Senate Education Committee has not scheduled any more meetings, and so it will be the Senate Rules Committee which can place the Monitor Bill on the calendar.

Now is the time to write the Senators and urge them to pass the bill!

Follow this link to send a message Today!!!

 

East Ramapo Bill Support Multiplies as it Passes the Education Committee

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Monitor Bill Passes Assembly Education Committee
2. Join Strong East Ramapo in Albany on Wed, June 10
3. School Board Association supports monitor for East Ramapo
4. NY Times Op-Ed slams board, supports bill
5. Rabbi calls board actions “flagrant violation” of Jewish values
6. Governor Cuomo reiterates support for monitor bill
7. Last Call: Please Join me at the NYCLU Dinner

1) Monitor Bill Passes Assembly Education Committee

The NY State Assembly Education Committee voted today to support the bill for a monitor for East Ramapo school district! This is one very important step towards the bill becoming a law. This law would protect the civil rights of the children in East Ramapo. Next steps are passage by the full Assembly and the Senate Education Committee.

2) Join Strong East Ramapo in Albany on Wed, June 10

With the New York Legislative session ending June 17, the clock is ticking for Assembly Bill 5355 and Senate Bill 3821. A group of supporters for East Ramapo’s children have decided we need to make another trip to Albany. We will be traveling by individual cars and gathering at 9:30 a.m. in the Legislative Office Building for a special event before meeting with lawmakers throughout the day. We will conclude at 3 p.m.

Join Strong East Ramapo on the June 10 trip

If you cannot go, you can still make phone calls. Call Assembly Members Colton (518-455-5828), Cahill (518-455-4436) and Ramos (518-455-5185), as well as Speaker Heastie (518-455-3791). Call Senate Minority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins (518-455-2585) and Senate Education Committee Chair Marcellino (518-455-2390). Say “The children of East Ramapo need your help. Please support Senate Bill S-3821 and Assembly Bill 5355.”

3) School Board Association supports monitor for East Ramapo

The Rockland County School Board Association, representing all eight school districts in Rockland County, has endorsed the bill for a monitor! They Join the Rockland County Legislature, Reform Jewish Voice of New York, The NYC Bar Association, The Alliance for Quality Education, and many, many more.

The endorsement of the school board association is particularly important because the East Ramapo school board is itself a member. It shows how far the board has gone astray from it’s mission. What is the mission of a school board? From the National School Board Association: “Education is not the first priority of a school board. It is the ONLY priority.”

4) NY Times Op-Ed “When a School Board Victimizes Kids”

Chancellor Merryl Tisch and David Sciarra (head of the Education Law Center) have written the op-ed in the New York Times.

They cite “overwhelming evidence” that the East Ramapo school board has “utterly failed” the children.

They say the bill for a monitor is a “crucial step toward reversing the district’s disastrous decline and repairing the deep rifts in the community”.

This is a must-read: When a School Board Victimizes Kids

5) Rabbi Hart: board actions are a “flagrant violation” of Jewish values

In an opinion piece in “The Forward” (the most widely read Jewish newspaper) Rabbi Ari Hart calls on fellow Orthodox Jews to “find a way to both advance our interests and needs while taking the needs of our fellow citizens into account”. He believes an independent monitor would build trust, which would be “ultimately … the best path for everyone”.

Another “must-read” An Immoral Use of Jewish Power in Upstate New York

6) Governor Cuomo reiterates support for monitor bill

Capitol New York’s education reporter Jessica Bakeman reports that NY Governor Andrew Cuomo said he supports the bill for a monitor and is pushing for the Legislature to pass it. During a visit to Nyack on June 3rd, he said “There’s no reason why they can’t do it. They have two weeks left.” Cuomo also said charges of anti-Semitism against bill supporters are just politics. “they’ll say whatever they have to say,” Cuomo said.

7) Last Call: Please Join me at the NYCLU Dinner

Lower Hudson Valley Chapter Annual Dinner 2015

Please Join Us As We Honor: Arlene Popkin, Oscar Cohen, Willie Trotman & Steve White

Keynote Speaker: Norman Siegel, Civil Rights Attorney and Former NYCLU Executive Director

The Riverview
One Warburton Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York 10706

June 9, 2015
Reception 6:00 pm
Dinner 7:00 pm

Please purchase your tickets online at www.aclu.org/secure/lhv-dinner-2015.

Correction

Power of Ten Update

Correction:

In the last update, I failed to include all the information you need to make phone calls.

Here is the complete information:

Call Speaker Carl Heastie (518) 455-4800 and say: “I support Assembly Bill A-5355 for oversight of the East Ramapo school district. Please bring it to the floor for a vote immediately”.

Call Senate Education Committee Chair Carl Marcellino (518) 455-2390 and say, “The children of East Ramapo need your help. Please support Senate Bill S-3821 and get it through the Education Committee immediately.”

Please Make these Calls Today! Then:

Thank the Assembly Members who are already supporters: http://poweroften.us/thank-an-assembly-member/

Even More Support:

There have been two more letters in the Journal News:

East Ramapo needs a monitor

A sad legacy for East Ramapo alumni

Support for East Ramapo Oversight Surges; Your Help Needed Now!

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Monitor Bill- Your Action Needed!
2. Election Results
3. Fundraiser for Tender Steps – June 6
4. NYCLU Honors East Ramapo Activists – June 9

1) Monitor Bill- Your Action Needed!

Since the last time I wrote, there have been many new supporters of the new law to provide oversight for East Ramapo.

Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, chair of the Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus
Assembly Member Kimberly Jean-Pierre
Assemblyman Charles Barron
The New York Civil Liberties Union
The Rockland County Legislature
Diane Ravitch
Pearl River, Nyack, Ramapo Central and South Orangetown school boards
Nyack Schools Superintendent James Montesano
Nyack Mayor Jen Laird-White

What you can do to help:

Call Speaker Carl Heastie and say: “I support Assembly Bill 5355 for oversight of the East Ramapo school district. Please bring it to the floor for a vote immediately”.

Call Senate Education Committee Chair Carl Marcellino and say, “The children of East Ramapo need your help. Please support Senate Bill S. 3821 and get it through the Education Committee immediately.”

2)  Election Results:

From FaceBook:

Andrew Mandel: ABSOLUTELY VALIANT EFFORT — School board results are in, and sadly two incumbents and their hand-picked “running mate” have won. East Ramapo policies will once again be decided by the religious private school community. A huge ovation to Sabrina Charles-Pierre, Natashia Esperanza Morales and Steven White for stepping forward and representing the children attending district schools. With the incredibly huge turnout (highest in Rockland/Westchester/Putnam, 10x that of Nyack or Nanuet, twice that of Clarkstown), no one can say that the district was not mobilized. The special interests are just too powerful, which only affirms the need for oversight in order to protect the actual users of the public system. Albany, I hope you are watching.
2015 results

Sabrina Charles Pierre: First off, I would like to say thank you to all those who have supported since day one, to all who joined half way and to all those who will continue to walk with us to the finish line.

Let us look on the bright side, even though we did not make it to the board, I must say we are all winners. As we were all shy 2,000+ votes, we must remember that majority of our student body are students with parents who are unable to vote, which would have reached beyond in numbers on top of the amount of votes received. We are winners because for once I can say our community came together to allow their voices to be heard as this has become not only known nationwide, but also internationally.

Let us not look at the negative aspects of the situation as a downfall, but more so as a way to come up with a solution to equalize the justification that our children and our community needs. We didn’t make it this far to stop.
Let this be a sense of motivation to strive and fight harder for what is right. We must not back down and allow the kids to know that we are still with them and shall continue to stand behind them.

No one said this would be easy. Change is not going to happen over night. Our sense of UNITY in our commUNITY has been challenge. How bad we want it can only be determined by how far we decide to go from here. Time heal all wounds. We must recover, but not stay sleep. We as a commUNITY have so much more to offer if not so divided. What will it take? How much more damage will we allow?

Let us not feel sorry. Let us walk with our heads held high. Lets be positive and come together. I will only consider us losers if we fall apart from here. We’ve come to far. Grab the rope and hold on tight for there is work to be done. 

ONCE AGAIN THANK YOU TO ALL!

3) Fundraiser for Tender Steps

Tender Steps Of NY, Inc. wants to make a difference in an underserved demographic within East Ramapo district. We seek to be the bridge to better communication within the Latino community and enrich the quality of their lives.

With over three years of research and budget cuts, we have seen this community suffer and want nothing more than to aid. Lead personnel of TSONY, Inc. come from humble backgrounds and making difference is at the core of our purpose. We have found issues like language barriers, domestic abuse, lack of education, teen pregnancy, drug abuse and illegal residency to be some of the big issues we seek to improve. We have partnered with EPIC (Every Person Influences Children), Early Childhood Center and will be launching many helpful programs to begin making a difference.

We want people to know we are a trusted resource making a difference. It is so important for us to gain the confidence of our community.

The event takes place at The Chalet at Spook Rock Golf Course on June 6th from 12pm to 4pm.  We will be serving a buffet style lunch and live blues and soul music. 

Tickets can be purchased at www.tenderstepsofny.eventbrite.com>

Sincerely,

Evelyn Bautista-Miller, LMSW, SDA
Founder and Executive Director of Tender Steps of New York, Inc.

4) NYCLU Honors East Ramapo Activists

Lower Hudson Valley Chapter Annual Dinner 2015

Please Join Us As We Honor: Arlene Popkin, Oscar Cohen, Willie Trotman & Steve White

Keynote Speaker: Norman Siegel, Civil Rights Attorney and Former NYCLU Executive Director

The Riverview
One Warburton Avenue
Hastings-on-Hudson, New York 10706

June 9, 2015
Reception 6:00 pm
Dinner 7:00 pm

Today: Vote! Rally in New City!

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1) Vote Today!
2) Rally at County Legislature at 6:30 PM

1) Election Day is Today

The Public School Candidates this year are: Sabrina Charles-Pierre, Natashia Morales, and Steven White.

Your Polling Place for school elections is NOT the same as for other elections. Info on where to vote is available on the district webpage: http://www.eram.k12.ny.us/

There are no political parties in a school election, so each candidate has a different line on the ballot. Here is a sample to make finding our candidates easier:
sample ballot

We will be celebrating at El Mana Restaurant, 28 N Main St Spring Valley after 10 PM. Join us!

2) Rally at County Legislature at 6:30 PM

The Rockland County Legislature will HOPEFULLY vote on a Memorializing Resolution in support of State Assembly Bill A.5355 and State Senate Bill S.3821 calling upon the State Legislature to appoint a State Monitor to work with the East Ramapo Board of Education and Superintendent, and to ensure fairness and equity FOR ALL OUR CHILDREN.

When: Tuesday, May 19, at 6:30 PM
Where: 11 New Hempstead Rd, New City NY

The following County Legislators are on the record as supporting the East Ramapo oversight bill:

Alden H. Wolfe
Douglas J. Jobson
Michael M. Grant
Jay Hood Jr.
Lon M. Hofstein
Toney L. Earl
Christopher J. Carey
Harriet Cornell
Joseph L. Meyers
Aney Paul
Patrick J. Moroney
John A. Murphy
Nancy Low-Hogan, Ph.D.

We are asking that you come to the meeting of the Legislature Tonight to support these Legislators and to make sure that they follow through. Our children’s future is at stake, we cannot afford to take anything for granted. Bring a sign!!! Wear Your Button!!! Let them know you care!!!

 

Rally, Vote Tuesday; Overwhelming Support for Oversight Bill; News 12 East Ramapo Special All This Weekend

Education Chair Cathy Nolan Greets East Ramapo Students

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. May 19 Vote!
2. Rally at County Legislature
3. Overwhelming Support for Oversight Bill
4. Watch The News 12 East Ramapo Special All This Weekend

1) Election Day: May 19

The Public School Candidates this year are: Sabrina Charles-Pierre, Natashia Morales, and Steven White.

Your Polling Place for school elections is NOT the same as for other elections. Info on where to vote is available on the district webpage: http://www.eram.k12.ny.us/

There are no political parties in a school election, so each candidate has a different line on the ballot. Here is a sample to make finding our candidates easier:
sample ballot

Join us for phone banking on Monday Evening and Tuesday, or handing out flyers on Tuesday. Just send a message to: steve@poweroften.us for the info on where to go. We will be celebrating at El Mana Restaurant, 28 N Main St Spring Valley after 10 PM.

2) Rally at County Legislature May 19

Yes, the same day as the vote!!!

The Rockland County Legislature will HOPEFULLY vote on a Memorializing Resolution in support of State Assembly Bill A.5355 and State Senate Bill S.3821 calling upon the State Legislature to appoint a State Monitor to work with the East Ramapo Board of Education and Superintendent, and to ensure fairness and equity FOR ALL OUR CHILDREN.

When: Tuesday, May 19, at 6:30 PM
Where: 11 New Hempstead Rd, New City NY

The following County Legislators are on the record as supporting the East Ramapo oversight bill:

Alden H. Wolfe
Douglas J. Jobson
Michael M. Grant
Jay Hood Jr.
Lon M. Hofstein
Toney L. Earl
Christopher J. Carey
Harriet Cornell
Joseph L. Meyers
Aney Paul
Patrick J. Moroney
John A. Murphy
Nancy Low-Hogan, Ph.D.

We are asking you to call these Legislators and say: you fully support them; you support this bill; and failure to pass the Memorializing Resolution in the County Legislature is not an option. Let them know you are in their corner and they are doing the right thing.
To contact your county legislator go to this link: http://rocklandgov.com/departments/county-legislature/

We are asking that you come to the meeting of the Legislature on Tuesday to support these Legislators and to make sure that they follow through. Our children’s future is at stake, we cannot afford to take anything for granted.

3) Overwhelming Support for Oversight Bill

Several New Endorsements of the East Ramapo Oversight Bill confirm what the supporters have been saying, and completely disprove what the critics of the bill have been claiming.

Supporters say this bill upholds the civil rights of children to an education, critics say that the bill is anti-Semitic bigotry. The Unon for Reform Judaism says: “Judaism calls on us to cherish education” and “we strongly urge the state to pass this bill”.
Reform Jewish Voice Newsletter

Supporters of the bill say it is fiscal mismanagement that is the chief cause of the district’s problems. Critics say it is only lack of state funding. The Alliance for Quality Education, the most vocal advocate for increased state funding for education in NY says: “It is AQE’s position that a state monitor is appropriate and necessary in the highly unusual circumstance where a board found to be favoring private schools is determining public policy.” and “The fact that public school students need protection from their own school board deserves immediate attention”.
aqe

Supporters of the bill say NY law must protect the constitutional right to an education. Critics claim the bill is unconstitutional. The NYC Bar association says “The East Ramapo school board has violated the state constitution” and ” state intervention via the proposed bill is appropriate for East Ramapo’s unique situation”

Even the New York State School Boards Association, which has long opposed any state intervention in local districts does not oppose this bill. They find that “the legislation respects the democratic electoral process by leaving the elected board of education in place and allowing the potential for their continued role in governance.”

So, there you have it. Every single criticism of the bill is completely disproved by respected authorities on the issues.

4) Watch The News 12 East Ramapo Special All This Weekend

News 12 will be airing an extended special piece about the East Ramapo school district Saturday and Sunday, May 16 and 17.

If you have Cablevision, tune in to Channel 12, if not, find a friend or neighbor who does! You can even watch it on your laptop or smartphone!

Here are the times it will air: 5:00 AM – 7:00 AM; 8:30 AM; 11:30 AM; 2:30 PM; 4:30 PM.

Justice is Coming, and YOU are making it happen!!!

Candidates Forum TODAY; Make Those Calls!

Assembly Members Jaffee and Zebrowski, along with Education Chair Nolan, meet with students from East Ramapo who are delivering a petition with over 6,000 signatures asking for state intervention.

Power of Ten Update

In this Issue:

1. Candidates Forum TODAY
2. Make Those Calls!
3. New York City Bar Association Supports the East Ramapo Bill

1) Candidates Forum TODAY (May 13)

East Ramapo Central School District Board of Trustees Election Forum:

Wednesday, May 13th, 2015 at 7pm
Kakiat Elementary School
265 Viola Road, Spring Valley, NY

Hosted by:
Spring Valley NAACP
JAMCARR
East Ramapo PTA

All Candidates are invited, please come and participate!

Election Day is May 19, have you told everyone you know yet?

Do it the easy way on FaceBook at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1549573511978541/

2) Make Those Calls!

Have you called the NY State Senate Education Committee yet? The chairman of the committee has just been named Majority leader of the Senate! He needs to hear from you about why you support oversight for East Ramapo. While you are at it, why not call those friends and relatives around NY and ask them to call their Senators and Assembly Members too? If they are not familiar with East Ramapo, refer them to the Power of Ten webpage, where they can listen to the fantastic NPR radio show, or peruse the many newspaper articles (and Power of Ten emails) archived on the page.

To Summarize: We are asking you to

3) New York City Bar Association Supports the East Ramapo Bill

The New York City Bar Association has issued a multi-page legislative report in favor of A. 5355 and S. 3821. They found that students in the district are being denied a sound, basic education, that the board has failed to fulfill its fiduciary duties, and that the legislation is reasonably tailored to avoid overreach. The report, being distributed to members of the Legislature as we speak, punctures the argument that this bill is somehow an inappropriate use of state authority.

Special Issue: Call to Action

Power of Ten Special Issue

This week we are engaging in a special action to support the East Ramapo oversight bill. Please take the time to make a few phone calls to key decision makers.

1) Use the table below to call state representatives

2) Urge your own Rockland County legislator to support the local resolution in support of the state resolution. Find your legislators contact info here: http://rocklandgov.com/departments/county-legislature/

It is very important that we make these calls this week. Please do not delay.

 

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Huge Turnout for Albany Trip; Calls and Protests Continue

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Huge Turnout for Albany Trip
2. Protests Continue at Board Meetings TONIGHT!
3. Cablevision Special Report on East Ramapo Wednesday
4. NYCLU Honors East Ramapo Activists

1) Huge Turnout for Albany Trip

Over 350 parents, students, and supporters convened in Albany to support the legislation for oversight for East Ramapo. They made a dramatic impression on the senators and assembly members. Many reacted to the personal stories of the students who detailed the impact of the crisis on their lives. The parents made it clear to lawmakers that it is the State of NY which has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring a sound basic education, and that they welcome action from the state to ensure that right for their children. Right now only 15% of East Ramapo students are proficient in Math, and 14% in English. These statistics are unacceptable. Taxpayers told legislators that they know East Ramapo already receives more state and federal aid than any other school district in Rockland County, while delivering the lowest graduation rate. They know the district has been cited by the education department multiple times for illegally diverting funds to private religious schools, and is even being investigated by the Attorney General for selling district property below market value. They agree with Hank Greenberg: “Not one more cent without oversight”.

Opponents of the bill have been in Albany spreading misinformation, claiming that the problems are due to lack of state aid, and that critics are only motivated by bigotry. These claims were categorically refuted by the diverse group that went to Albany; the truth has been nicely summarized in an op-ed piece in the Journal News, jointly authored by Rev. Weldon McWilliams IV and Rabbi Adam Baldachin:

View: Albany must help East Ramapo

After the visit several legislators joined on as cosponsors, and Sen. Carlucci got the Senate Education Committee to agree to place it on their agenda.

As a follow up, a call in campaign has been launched on FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1572409903046680/

Stay tuned for the next steps to support this innovative and fair solution for the crisis in East Ramapo.

2) Protests Continue at Board Meetings

Parents and students have been attending board meetings and voicing their concerns about the impact of fiscal mismanagement and insensitivity of the administration and board members. Please join us at the next meeting:

Tuesday, May 5th (TONIGHT!) at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison ave, Spring Valley

3) Cablevision Special Report on East Ramapo Wednesday

Cablevision News 12 will air a special report “A Tale of Two Districts”, featuring Emmy Award winning journalist Tara Rosenblum, on Wednesday, May 6 at 5:00 PM.

4) NYCLU Honors East Ramapo Activists

The New York Civil Liberties Union Lower Hudson Valley Chapter will present the Myron Isaacs Community Service Award to Arlene Popkin, Longtime NYCLU Board Member and Legal Aid Attorney, and Oscar Cohen, Willie Trotman and Steven White, Advocates for Educational Equality in East Ramapo.

The Keynote Speaker will be Norman Siegel, Civil Rights Attorney and Former NYCLU Executive Director.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015
Reception 6:00 | Dinner 7:00
The Riverview
One Warburton Ave.
Hastings-on-Hudson, NY
www.riverviewcaterers.com

Tickets and dinner journal ads are available for purchase at: https://action.aclu.org/secure/lhv-dinner-2015

Buses are Full; How You Can Help Right Now

Education Chair Cathy Nolan Greets East Ramapo Students

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. April 28 Buses are Full
2. School Board Campaign Hits the Streets Saturday
3. Send a Message to Your Legislator
4. Help Spruce Up Ramapo HS

1) April 28 Buses are Full

All of the buses to Albany for the Day of Advocacy for East Ramapo are full. If you have registered, you should have received a confirmation email or phone call with the details. if not, please contact Kim Foskew at kimfoskew@gmail.com or 914-282-1387. Also, if you would like to drive up and meet us in Albany, contact her for the details. Thanks to all who helped us to fill the buses.

2) School Board Campaign Hits the Streets

We will be gathering at the BRAVO parking lot (corner Eckerson Rd and Rt 45) on Saturday at 11:30 AM. for a door to door canvassing session. 

If going door to door is not your thing, you might want to make some phone calls or host a meet and greet fundraiser. Just send me a note at steve@poweroften.us and let me know what you are willing to do.

Of course, EVERYONE can make an online donation at: https://charlespierremoraleswhite.wordpress.com/donate-to-the-cause, The amount you give is completely up to you.

3) Send a Message to Your Legislator

You can help the bill for a monitor pass without even leaving home. Send a message to the Rockland County Legislature asking them to support the bill with a resolution.

A Memorializing Resolution, sponsored by County Legislators Nancy Low-Hogan, Harriet Cornell, Michael Grant, Toney Earl, Aney Paul, Christopher Carey, Joseph Meyers and Lon Hofstein, in support of NYS Senate Bill S.3821-2015, and NYS Assembly Bill A. 5355-2015, to authorize the Commissioner of Education to appoint a State Monitor to oversee the East Ramapo Central School District and to establish the powers and duties of the State Monitor, will be reviewed by the Legislature’s Multi-Services Committee on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the Legislative Chambers in New City.

Please click here to send a message to the members of the Multi-Services Committee (Chairman Phil Soskin, Legislators Ilan Schoenberger, Aron Weider, Aney Paul, Toney Earl, Lon Hofstein, and Patrick Moroney) asking that they approve this resolution, at the April 28 committee meeting, for consideration by the full legislature without delay.

4) Help Spruce Up Ramapo HS

Saturday April 25 from 10 AM to 3 PM at Ramapo HS, 400 Viola Rd, Spring Valley, NY

Bring your own garden tools and help spruce up Ramapo HS!
More info: 845-634-7828 x125 or rocklandchurches@gmail.com

Hitting the Street in Albany and East Ramapo

Assembly Members Jaffee and Zebrowski, along with Education Chair Nolan, meet with students from East Ramapo who are delivering a petition with over 6,000 signatures asking for state intervention.

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. School Board Campaign Hits the Streets
2. Protests at School Board Meetings Continue
3. Volunteer Opportunity at Ramapo HS
4. Former Board Member Favors Monitor
5. Message from the Editor

1) School Board Campaign Hits the Streets

Many of those who attended last weekend’s campaign event volunteered to talk to their neighbors about the issues and the upcoming (May 19) election.

YOU can also participate! Just send me a note at steve@poweroften.us, and I will set you up with handouts and instructions.

If going door to door is not your thing, you might want to make some phone calls host a meet and greet fundraiser. Just send me a note and let me know what you are willing to do.

Of course, EVERYONE can make an online donation at: https://charlespierremoraleswhite.wordpress.com/donate-to-the-cause/, The amount you give is completely up to you.

If you would like to go with a group, we will be gathering at the BRAVO parking lot (corner Eckerson Rd and Rt 45) on Saturday at 11:30 AM.

2) Protests at School Board Meetings Continue

According to the NYS Fiscal Monitor, the East Ramapo Board “appears to favor the interests of private schools over public schools”. If you do not accept second class status, YOU MUST COME OUT and protest at the school board meetings. Invite your friends! Make a sign! If not now, when?

The next meeting is scheduled for April 21, at 7:30 PM, the protest will be held at 7:00.

The address is 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

To receive reminders about meetings or cancellations, text the word POWEROFTEN to 84483 from your mobile phone.

3) Volunteer Opportunity at Ramapo HS

Saturday April 25 from 10 AM to 3 PM at Ramapo HS, 400 Viola Rd, Spring Valley, NY

Bring your own garden tools and help spruce up Ramapo HS!
More info: 845-634-7828 x125 or rocklandchurches@gmail.com

4) Former Board Member Favors Monitor

Former East Ramapo School Board member Mimi Calhoun has written a letter to the Journal News which succinctly makes the case for a monitor.

View: In East Ramapo, it’s about governance

5. Message from the Editor

Over the past several years, multiple independent organizations have looked at the actions of the East Ramapo School Board. The Education Department has cited them multiple times for failure to comply with federal and state law. The Commissioner ruled the board “abused its discretion” in the sale of Hillcrest Elementary school.  The State Attorney General prosecuted one individual involved in the sale, the appraiser, who plead guilty to filing a false instrument. The investigation continues, and the Commissioner has ruled that the board cannot spend public dollars on a lawyer defending board members from the Attorney General’s inquiries. In the media there have been multiple investigations, most notably on “This American Life“. The attention culminated with an investigation at the request of Governor Cuomo, and the report by respected former federal prosecutor Hank Greenberg confirmed what all the others (and especially the students and parents) had been claiming.  The problems in East Ramapo are not the fault of the state formula, or the parents, or the teachers. NY State did not cause this crisis, but it is ONLY NY State that can solve it. We will be visiting Albany on April 28 to advocate that the bill for a monitor in East Ramapo becomes law. I want to thank all of the readers of this newsletter for your continued support, and encourage you to redouble your efforts now at this crucial moments, when a legal remedy to our crisis is within sight.

50 Years after Selma, Time to March for Civil Rights Again

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Bus to Albany
2. School Board Election Campaign Event Saturday
3. Protests Continue
4. Call Your Representative
5. Martin Luther King Center Event Sunday

1) Get On This Bus!

On April 28, buses will leave Rockland for Albany, bound to deliver our message of support for the Bill for Oversight for East Ramapo. Fifty years after the march from Selma to Montgomery, students civil right to an education is under attack in East Ramapo. Please join us and our local legislators as we visit Albany to advocate for oversight and change in East Ramapo!

So, take the day off from work. Bring the kids. Bring your neighbors. Bring your friends. If you ever spent a moment asking yourself what you could do that would most help the children to have an opportunity for a better education, THIS IS IT!!!

Sign up right now at http://www.strongeastramapo.org/april28/

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1420180211628079/

2) School Election Update

The school board election is May 19. You can get involved by coming to an informational event. Learn about the issues and how you can get involved. This campaign period is short. All of us will need to participate and solicit others to help us as well. Please ask your friends and neighbors to join us. We need all of you to help communicate with the voting public so they will be aware of how the school boards fiscal mismanagement is destroying our kids future and our home values. This effort is dedicated to providing the information that every voter need to know.

Date: Saturday April 11, 2015
Time: 2:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Hillcrest Firehouse
300 North Main St, Hillcrest NY
Rear of Building entrance and parking

Please RSVP to miller66@optonline.net if you can come

3) Protests Continue

According to the NYS Fiscal Monitor, the East Ramapo Board “appears to favor the interests of private schools over public schools”. If you do not accept second class status, YOU MUST COME OUT and protest at the school board meetings. Invite your friends! Make a sign! If not now, when? 

The next meeting is scheduled for April 14, at 7:30 PM, the protest will be held at 7:00.

The address is 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

To receive reminders about meetings or cancellations, text the word POWEROFTEN to 84483 from your mobile phone.

4) Call Your Representative

Both the Assembly and the Senate are not meeting for a few more weeks, so representatives are in their districts for the rest of this week, listening to their constituents.  That means today is the perfect day for you to call your own Assembly Member and/or Senator‘s district office.  (Or to urge the New Yorkers you know to do the same.)
You can call to THANK your representative if he or she has already co-sponsored the bill. That includes Assembly Members Jaffee, Galef, Glick, O’Donnell, Rivera, Solages, Zebrowski, Skoufis, Hooper, Rodriguez, Gottfried, Dinowitz, Paulin, Abinanti, Lavine, Otis, Bichotte, and Senators Carlucci, Krueger, Larkin, Latimer, Savino. 
Otherwise, you can call to URGE your representative to support it.  Here’s what you can say:
Hello!  My name is X, and I am a constituent in your district.  I am calling because I want to urge your office to support [Assembly Bill 5355 / Senate Bill 3821], in favor of state oversight of the East Ramapo School District.  Can I count on your office to support this bill?  I’d love to see the representative’s name as a co-sponsor.
Do not let them tell you that the bill is in the Education Committee and therefore too premature to support.  Many of the names above (like Otis and Savino) are not members of the Committee, nor are from Rockland.  If the offices need more information, they can visit www.strongeastramapo.org.
Send a message to strongeastramapo@gmail.com once you’ve called to let us know what happened.
5) Martin Luther King Center Event

The Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center Inc. is pleased to invite you to its 24nd.Annual Awards Benefit Dinner Dance on Sunday, April 12th, 2015, from 4:00 pm – 9:00pm at the Clubhouse at Patriot Hills, 19 Clubhouse Lane, Stony Point, NY.

Click Here For ticket information and to purchase tickets online.

The Center is experiencing severe financial challenges that are the result of the loss of substantial government funding. Each year we honor a select group of individuals and organizations whose commitment to Rockland County, or to the Center, make them deserving of this tribute. We hope that as we celebrate outstanding Rocklanders, we can continue working together to create a stronger, more inclusive, and non-violent “Beloved Community,” that honors the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Get On This Bus!

The Power of Ten

In This Issue:
1. Get On This Bus!
2. Justice for East Ramapo is a Civil Rights Issue!
3. Protests Continue
4. School Election Update

1) Get On This Bus!

On April 28, buses will leave Rockland for Albany, bound to deliver our message of support for the Bill for Oversight for East Ramapo.

I am making a personal plea to every person reading this message. Get on this bus. Take the day off from work. Bring the kids. Bring your neighbors. Bring your friends. If you ever spent a moment asking yourself what you could do that would most help the children to have an opportunity for a better education, THIS IS IT!!!

Sign up right now at http://www.strongeastramapo.org/april28/

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/events/1420180211628079/

2) Justice for East Ramapo is a Civil Rights Issue!

The Rockland County Civil/Human Rights Hall of Fame will induct two East Ramapo Justice Advocates:

Judith Johnson and Steve White

Wednesday, April 8, 2015, Nyack Seaport,
21 Burd Street, Nyack, NY 10960, 845-353-3200
$40 per person (Checks payable to Commissioner of Finance)
RSVP: Human Rights Office 845-364-3886
email to Jean_GiD@co.rockland.ny.us
11:30 AM chck in Lunch Reception 12:00 to 3:00 PM

Also inducted this year:
Harry Edelstein (Posthumously)
Irving Feiner (Posthumously)
Earl Miller
Dwaine Perry
Bayard Rustin (Posthumously)

The New York Civil Liberties Union Hudson Valley Branch will honor Oscar Cohen, Willie Trotman, and Steven White at their annual dinner, Tuesday June 9th at 6 PM at The Riverview, One Warburton Ave, in Hastings-on-Hudson NY. More info at lowerhudsonvalley@nyclu.org

3) Protests Continue

Even when the school board cancels, the community still shows up to protest. This past Tuesday, 75 people stod out in the cold. Some did not know the board had canceled at the last minute for lack of a quorum (again!). Others came to show that we cannot be distracted from our goal. How sad is it that our school board members are so often unable to make meetings.

The next meeting is scheduled for April 14, at 7:30 PM, the protest will be held at 7:00.

The address is 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

To receive reminders about meetings or cancellations, text the word POWEROFTEN to 84483 from your mobile phone.

4) School Election Update

The school board election is May 19. You can get involved by coming to an informational event. Learn about the issues and how you can get involved. This campaign period is short. All of us will need to participate and solicit others to help us as well. Please ask your friends and neighbors to join us. We need all of you to help communicate with the voting public so they will be aware of how the school boards fiscal mismanagement is destroying our kids future and our home values. This effort is dedicated to providing the information that every voter need to know.

Date: Saturday April 11, 2015
Time: 2:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Hillcrest Firehouse
300 North Main St, Hillcrest NY
Rear of Building entrance and parking

Please RSVP to miller66@optonline.net if you can come

Another Attack; Another Protest; Your Help Needed

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Another Attack On Supporters of Public Education
2. Important Protest on Tuesday
3. School Board Campaign Needs Help

1) Another Attack On Supporters of Public Education

Today, I received an 8 x 10 glossy mailer attacking Assembly Member Ellen Jaffee, someone who has stood steadfast for children’s issues and for quality education for all children. Remember in a previous update, school board supporters had photo-shopped her head into a picture with the Ayatollah. This time, she is being accused of serving unnamed “special interests”. They want her to support a bill which would give $1 billion of public money to private investors. This is a bill which would subsidize the worst education system in America, an education system that graduates call “a fraud” and “a pretend education”. This bill would support the same “school” that got such a nice deal from the East Ramapo school board when they sold the Hillcrest Elementary school. A deal so nice that the appraiser is now a convicted felon and the Attorney General is continuing the investigation! A school which is not allowed to issue a New York State diploma, and yet state tax credits would be given to those who create “scholarships”.

Please call Ellen Jaffee’s office at 845-624-4601 and thank her for standing up for public school children.

Please send a message to NY lawmakers to Protect public education: Reject the private school tax credit

2) Important Protest on Tuesday

According to the NYS Fiscal Monitor, the East Ramapo Board “appears to favor the interests of private schools over public schools”. If you do not accept second class status, YOU MUST COME OUT and protest at the school board meetings. Invite your friends! Make a sign! If not now, when?

Tuesday, March 24 at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

Join the Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/387763254738338/

3) School Board Campaign Needs Help

Candidates for school board, including myself, are getting geared up to hit the streets with literature, put up signs, etc.

We are going to need your help, especially as the weather gets better. For right now, what we need is a little startup money! 

Won’t you please visit our webpage: https://charlespierremoraleswhite.wordpress.com/ and make a donation?

Thank you!!!

Support for Oversight Grows; Tax Credit for ‘Pretend’ Education Opposed

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. County Legislators Send Message to Governor Cuomo in Support of State Monitor for ERCSD
2. NAACP: Remember Selma by fighting for East Ramapo
3. Yeshiva Parents: ‘Our Children Deserve an Education Too’
4. Questions and Answers from a former New Square Yeshiva Teacher
5. NYCLU: Tax Credit Bill would transfer our public tax dollars to private and religious schools.

1) County Legislators Send Message to Governor Cuomo in Support of State Monitor for ERCSD

Rockland County Legislators sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo in support of NYS Senate and Assembly bills (S.3821/A.5355) that if passed, would authorize the State Commissioner of Education to appoint a state monitor to oversee the East Ramapo Central School District. Copies of the letter have been sent to state legislative leaders and the Commissioner of Education.

A four month-long investigation authorized by the State Commissioner in June of 2014 determined that the district is fiscally stressed, failing academically, with graduation rates well below the statewide average.

Legislator Nancy Low-Hogan said, “We as public officials in Rockland County feel it is our obligation to ensure that all children in the County receive their constitutionally guaranteed right to a ‘sound, basic education.’ Even though school districts have local control, ultimately it is the State’s responsibility to ensure that these constitutional rights are met, thus the need for this legislation.”

The Journal News: Rockland lawmakers back East Ramapo oversight bill

2) NAACP: Remember Selma by fighting for East Ramapo

Those who fought for social justice in the past will always tell you the best way to remember their accomplishments is not by solemn ceremony or joyous celebration, but by continuing the struggle for justice.

Lohud: NAACP leaders support East Ramapo oversight

3)  Yeshiva Parents: ‘Our Children Deserve an Education Too’

An organization called YAFFED has been formed which wants NY State to remember the right to a quality education is guaranteed for ALL children:

The Jewish Week: Bid For Better Secular Ed In Yeshivas Heading Toward Court

Listen to these interviews from The Jewish Daily Forward: Struggle and Triumph of College for Hasidim: “The lack of education is criminal”… “My diploma was not recognized” … “it’s a pretend education” … “In totality, it’s a fraud”.

You can help YAFFED build their campaign here

4) Questions and Answers from a former New Square Yeshiva Teacher

A young father in the insular Skverer sect, Shulem Deen took the one job available to him: teacher. In an exclusive excerpt from his forthcoming memoir, “All Who Go Do Not Return,” which chronicles his painful journey from 18-year-old newlywed to being expelled from New Square as a heretic, he recounts how the need to provide for his growing family led him to practices he would later question.

The Jewish Daily Forward: Lessons of Crime and Punishment in New Square Yeshiva

5)  NYCLU: Tax Credit Bill would transfer our public tax dollars to private and religious schools.

You can help stop this very dangerous law which could cost One Billion dollars over four years, and would help subsidize even the “pretend” education that you heard about in the previous item.

Please send a message to NY lawmakers to Protect public education: Reject the private school tax credit

 

Important Meeting Tuesday; Smear Tactics Exposed

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Important Meeting Tuesday
2. Judith Johnson Picked for Board of Regents
3. Assemblyman Zebrowski: Monitor Bill Balances Rights, Responsibilities
4. School Board Supporters Invoke Ayatollah, Nazis to smear Clergy, Lawmakers
5. 2015 School Board Campaign Getting Underway

1) Important Meeting Tuesday

Tuesday will be the first meeting since the East Ramapo Oversight Bill was introduced. It is very important that we show up and express our support. Bring a Friend! Make a Sign!

Tuesday, March 10 at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

The March 3 meeting was cancelled due to snow. Even with the weather getting better, we may still run into cancellations. The board cancelled several meetings last year for lack of a quorum. Power of Ten has a new notification mechanism specifically designed for reminders of important events and quick notice of cancellations. Just text POWEROFTEN to 84483. (84483 is the number you enter where you would normally enter a phone number, enter POWEROFTEN where you normally enter the text of your text message). The service is free, but standard text message charges may apply from your wireless provider, depending on your text message plan. If you have an unlimited text messaging plan, then there would be no additional charge.

2) Judith Johnson Picked for Board of Regents

Journal News: Judith Johnson picked for Board of Regents

Lohud Editorial: Johnson a smart choice for Regents

Congratulations Regent Johnson!

3) Assemblyman Zebrowski: Monitor Bill Balances Rights, Responsibilities

Assemblyman Zebrowski provides the clearest explanation of the Board of Regents Study results and the bill that addresses them in a letter to the Journal News.

Community View: Zebrowski explains basics of East Ramapo bill

4) School Board Supporters Invoke Ayatollah, Nazis to smear Clergy, Lawmakers

After the unbelievable vulgarity of the school board attorney, and the equally dishonorable rehiring of his firm, you might think nothing would surprise you about this board or their supporters again. You would be wrong.

Strong East Ramapo: Behind the PR Smear Campaign, Follow The Money in East Ramapo

5)  2015 School Board Campaign Getting Underway

May 19 is the school board and budget vote. We are very lucky to have two wonderful young women, Natashia Morales and Sabrina Charles-Pierre, who are running for the school board. They are both graduates of East Ramapo and parents of children attending East Ramapo schools. The third candidate is the editor of this email newsletter, Steven White. Together we say: East Ramapo is in crisis.  We MUST do better! The kids deserve better! Join us: www.charlespierremoraleswhite.wordpress.com

Your Action Needed, In Person and Online

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Protest Discrimination Tuesday
2. Bill for Monitor Has a Dozen New Sponsors
3. Civil Rights Lawsuit Still Needs Your Help

1) Protest Discrimination Tuesday

According to the NYS Fiscal Monitor, the East Ramapo Board “appears to favor the interests of private schools over public schools”. If you do not accept second class status, YOU MUST COME OUT and protest at the school board meetings. Invite your friends! Make a sign! If not now, when?

Join the event on FaceBook

Take this opportunity to show your support for legislation for state oversight of East Ramapo!

Tuesday March 3rd, 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave Spring Valley

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2) Bill for Monitor Has a Dozen New Sponsors

Over 2,500 people have signed the petition in support of the bill for a monitor.

12 members of the NYS Assembly have joined our local representatives in supporting the bill, with more joining every day..

Please keep the momentum up by signing the petition at http://www.strongeastramapo.org/

3. Civil Rights Lawsuit Still Needs Your Help

Advocates for Justice is working tirelessly to hold accountable those who have caused irreparable harm to thousands of children by damaging their educational system. The lawyers who are defending our cause have put in thousands of hours at no charge to the plaintiffs. The school board has dug deep into the district’s budget to defend its members, taking millions of dollars away from education to pay high priced law firms to try to get the case dismissed on technicalities. Advocates for Justice is being outspent ten to one, and yet still has kept the case alive so it can one day be heard by a jury. 

Donations are desperately needed to counter the massive legal attack. We know we will win, and our opponents do too, which is why they are trying so hard to keep this case from ever going to trial. Your support at this time is crucial. Please go to http://poweroften.us/links-and-events/donate/ and make a tax deductible donation. Thank You!

State Help Is On The Way; Sign The Petition For A Strong East Ramapo!

Power of Ten

In This Issue:

1. State Monitor Bill is Here!
2. Clergy for Social Justice Press Conference
3. Candidates for May 19 School Board Election

1) State Monitor Bill is Here

Acting on the recommendations made to the NY Board of Regents last year, Assembly members Jaffee and Zebrowski and Senator Carlucci have introduced a bill to authorize the commissioner of education to appoint a state monitor to oversee the East Ramapo central school district.

The Journal News: East Ramapo oversight bill gives monitor veto power

The Journal News Editorial: Guidance for East Ramapo, then aid

There are several more steps before this bill becomes law. Fortunately, the East Ramapo Alumni group StrongER is already working hard with over 1000 signatures on a petition supporting the bill.

Please sign the petition at www.strongeastramapo.org

2) Clergy for Social Justice Press Conference

This group is calling for children in East Ramapo to receive an education which is equal to any of the other seven districts in Rockland.

The Jewish Daily Forward: Non-Orthodox Jews Find Voice as Sharp Battle Lines Drawn in New York Suburb

The following videos are courtesy of Antonio Luciano of East Ramapo Underground. I strongly recommend viewing all of these videos. They represent an unfaltering commitment to education as a moral imperative.

Reverend Weldon McWilliams IV opening Press Conference http://youtu.be/g6HOeHRYA-8

Pastor Joel Michel of the French Speaking Baptist Church http://youtu.be/hJpmkXVk1Vc

Rabbi Paula Mack Drill of the Orangetown Jewish Center  http://youtu.be/6CxColw3FnI

Azeem Farooki, Trustee of the Islamic Center Rockland htt p://youtu.be/5D09WMmMX1Q

Rabbi Ari Hart Uri L’Tzwdek, Orthodox for Social Justice http://youtu.be/2wvYn1cSGqY

Reverend Weldon McWilliams IV makes a closing statement and introduces all the clergy http://youtu.be/t7a32hdv5qc

3) Candidates for May 19 School Board Election

Three alumni of East Ramapo have joined together in a campaign to serve as trustees of the East Ramapo school board. They will need your support to achieve this goal.  You can start by liking them on FaceBook!

Gov. Cuomo Visits East Ramapo

Power of Ten Update

In this Issue:

1. Gov Cuomo Visits East Ramapo
2. Gov. Cuomo Proposes Receivership Model for Failing Schools
3. Rockland Clergy for Social Justice Press Conference Wednesday
4. Community Forum Thursday
5. PTA Barnes and Noble Book Fair Monday and Tuesday
6. Bond Vote Fails

1) Gov Cuomo Visits East Ramapo

Governor Cuomo made a stop in the Nanuet section of East Ramapo on Friday. He expressed confidence that legislation will be passed which will implement the recommendations of the fiscal monitor’s report which was done last year.

The Journal News: Cuomo: East Ramapo oversight bill expected by June

2) Gov. Cuomo Proposes Receivership Model for Failing Schools

Gov. Cuomo has adopted the recommendation of Chancellor Tisch and proposed a law based on the Massachusetts receivership approach. He has asked that the NY State Education Department do a comprehensive analysis of the successful Massachusetts model, with an added approach that includes promoting community schools with wrap around services.

A letter from Gov Cuomo’s director of operations to Chancellor Tisch is available here: https://www.governor.ny.gov/sites/governor.ny.gov/files/atoms/files/LetterMalatrastoTisch_0.pdf

The Buffalo News: Governor wants study of school district takeover model

This letter represents a renewed commitment by the State Board of Regents and the Governor’s office to uphold the state’s constitutional responsibility to ensure education for its children. If the state chooses to delegate to a local agency, that can be an effective solution, but when the local agency is corrupt or incompetent, that does not absolve the state of its responsibility.

I support this initiative by Governor Cuomo. Join me in thanking him here.

3) Rockland Clergy for Social Justice Press Conference

Wednesday, February 18, 1 p.m.
First Baptist Church, Spring Valley, 3 Hoyt Street, Spring Valley

The public is encouraged to attend. Rabbis, ministers, pastors, imams, elders and trustees call for New York State legislation authorizing State oversight of the East Ramapo Central School District by a person who will have incontrovertible authority over Board and administrative decisions. 

Speakers: Reverend Weldon McWilliams IV, PhD, First Baptist Church Spring Valley; Rabbi Paula Mack Drill, Orangetown Jewish Center, Orangeburg; Pastor Joel Michel, French Speaking Baptist Church, Spring Valley; Azeem Farooki, Islamic Center of Rockland; Rabbi Ari Hart co-founder Uri L’Tzedek (Orthodox for Social Justice)

On Tuesday March 3rd Rockland Clergy for Social Justice will travel to the New York State Capitol to meet with legislative leaders and members of the Executive Chamber seeking support for legislation to implement Mr. Greenberg’s and the Board of Regents recommendations.

4) Community Forum Thursday

East Ramapo will be the topic of discussion at a community forum sponsored by “We The People” from 7 – 9 PM on Thursday, February 19, at the Martin Luther King Multipurpose Center at 110 Bethune Blvd in Spring Valley.

5) PTA Barnes and Noble Book Fair Monday and Tuesday

We need volunteers to: read to other children, recite poetry, sing, dance, play a musical instrument, act, – etc….ANYTHING that would be entertaining for them and the other students. PLEASE help make this PARP event a success: you will get more out of helping others than you know, AND we appreciate whatever time you can give!

To schedule a slot contact Ramona Jones, PTA Council President, at alaram4ever@gmail.com

6) Bond Vote Fails

Voters soundly rejected the school board’s proposal to borrow $40 million dollars. The vote was 626 to 472, a solid 57% majority voting NO. Turnout was expected to be very low due to the frigid February weather and the almost non-existent publicity. One thing which was accomplished was an opportunity for discussion of the way the board handles real estate decisions.

Much of the deferred maintenance that the district is experiencing is the result of failed budgets and budget proposals that did not meet the needs of the district. Superintendent Outstacher acknowledged that it was the ‘private school community’ which prevented him from introducing budgets which met district needs. He did not want to propose a budget that would be voted down by ‘private school’ parents. 

According to the only study of the issue that we know of, done by the district in 2007, district spending on the ‘private school community’ is already much more than the taxes paid by private school parents. The same private school parents that are guaranteed these benefits and subsidies have the power to vote down budgets that maintain programs and buildings used by the public school students. Local spending for public education is lower in East Ramapo than any other district in Rockland.

Just this year two schools were sold to yeshivas for about $10 million total. That sale price should represent the total value of the land and the buildings. These were the only two schools that NY State evaluated as not needing major spending to fix. 

So the current board, which was put in place 100% by the users of private schools, who are being subsidized by the other taxpayers, and who have voted down any reasonable school budget which could have maintained the school buildings, now is asking the taxpayers to borrow millions of dollars to make the repairs, and at the same time opposing any oversight from the state that would prevent them from just transferring the buildings at bargain basement prices to yeshivas.

While some public school parents very understandably are wanting the bond to pass, because the conditions are unacceptable, most are just not going to agree to anything without a state monitor with veto power, at the very least. Unless the ‘private school community’ decides to support it, another vote (before a monitor is appointed) is unlikely to pass. If those voters did pass it, that would only serve to increase the distrust. People would think “If they are willing to spend to fix up buildings, is it because they have their eye on them? If they are willing to spend on that, why not spend on full day Kindergarten?” 

Making the problem worse is the divisive rhetoric coming from the board and the superintendent. The truth is that if the bond passed, schools would not be miraculously fixed the next day. It would be a long process, and along the way there would still need to be emergency repairs. There would would still be kids in unsatisfactory schools. Managing a $40 million dollar project would be a challenge even for a district that was fully staffed.

A good place to start rebuilding the district is by rebuilding the trust. Propose and pass a budget that provides the programs necessary, and retains a fund balance for ongoing repairs. Stop wasting taxpayer dollars suing the State Education Department and the NY Attorney General. Try following the law instead. Accept the $3.5 million dollars the state wants to give you, which you rejected rather than have a community advisory board. Accept a monitor, or any other help from the state. If the school board fails to earn the trust of those who use the schools, the result could be a state takeover, or nightmarish social unrest. It is not too late.

Bond Vote Tuesday; Upcoming Forums

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Bond Vote: Feb 3
2. CCRR Children’s Legislative Forum: Feb 6
3. Community Forum for East Ramapo: Feb 11

1) Bond Vote Feb 3

There is no disagreement that the physical infrastructure of East Ramapo Schools is suffering from what people in the real estate industry politely refer to as “deferred maintenance”.

On Tuesday, voters will vote either “YES” to borrow money to put in new roofing, windows, etc, or “NO” to further delay repairs. However, the point of contention does not seem to be whether the repairs are needed, but rather whether the current school governing body can be trusted.

The argument to borrow and spend is made by school board president Weissmandl in this letter to the editor of the Journal News: View: East Ramapo bond will improve schools

The argument to delay the major repairs is made by East Ramapo Underground Host Antonio Luciano on Facebook: Why to Vote No on the Capital Repair Bond on Feb 3, 2015

Information about the vote, including places and times is available on the district clerk’s webpage

2) CCRR Children’s Legislative Forum

Friday, February 6, 2015 8:00 am – 10:00 am
Rockland Community College / Technology Center / Ellipse Room / 145 College Road, Suffern, NY 10901

Join us in a discussion about the needs and services for children and youth in Rockland County

Please RSVP: (845) 425-0009 x0 or info@rocklandchildcare.org

3) Community Forum for East Ramapo

Wednesday, Feb. 11 from 7-9pm
Green Meadow Waldorf School, Arts Building
307 Hungry Hollow Rd., Chestnut Ridge, NY 10977
845.356.2514 x311

Hosted by Green Meadow Waldorf School and led by a diverse planning committee, the goal of this forum is to create simultaneous, facilitated student and adult conversations that build bridges between the often-divided communities in our county and school district: private and public school communities; Latino, Black, White, Asian, multicultural, Hasidic, Orthodox, other faith, and secular communities. We aim to create an open and safe space for dialogue that promotes understanding and compassion and catalyzes change for the benefit of all who live here. Separate student-led and adult conversations will beheld. Both conversations will be facilitated.

Free transportation provided. Buses begin running at 6pm from the Spring Valley bus/train station.

SOS Call for East Ramapo

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:

1. Hillcrest School Sale Saga Continues
2. Bond Vote
3. Community View

1) Hillcrest School Sale Saga Continues:

The East Ramapo School Board, dominated by yeshiva supporters, closed and sold Hillcrest Elementary School in 2010 to Yeshiva Avir Yakov of New Square (Hillcrest borders New Square). The NYS Commissioner of Education voided that action, saying “the board abused its discretion by hastily approving the sale” and “prior to selling Hillcrest in the future, the board must take reasonable steps…to secure the best price obtainable for Hillcrest.” The board then went on to rent the school to the same yeshiva, which was also challenged and the lease was annulled. During this period of time, the NYS Attorney General was alerted by activists to fraud in the appraisal used by the district, and the appraiser was arrested. The board sued the NYS Education Department and proceeded to sell the school again to a mysterious entity. It turns out this entity was incorporated the same day they made a bid for the school, and then withdrew their bid, activating a clause in the lease (yes, the lease the state annulled) which allowed them to give the school to the yeshiva for the same price as the mystery bidder. The board did all this while the fiscal monitor was doing his investigation, while the appraiser was being convicted, and while the Attorney General’s investigation into the first sale was still ongoing!!! Now the parents and taxpayers have had to intervene again, calling on the State Education Department to annul the sale yet again.

The Journal News: E. Ramapo parents challenge 2nd Hillcrest sale

2) Bond Vote February 3rd:

The school board is proposing to borrow millions of dollars. They are claiming this money will be used for repairs to school buildings and grounds. Specific details are available on the district website.There is no doubt that repairs are needed, and yet many are hesitant to authorize more taxpayer money be given to this board. The last two board members elected with any support from the public school users resigned, citing incomplete or inaccurate financial data, budget analyses, cash flow data, and borrowing requirements, and incorrect reports from the treasurer. Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the East Ramapo school district’s debt rating to two steps above junk status. Fiscal Monitor Henry Greenberg  recommended that “not one penny” should be given without oversight. All of this could have been avoided if the state had responded to the issue of “governance without consent of the governed” back in 2008 when we first wrote to them. The Education Department and the Board of Regents have been ignored by Governor Cuomo, Speaker Silver, and Senators Skelos and Klein. They were in charge while this ship in their fleet was sinking, and while the ship’s captain was busy punching holes in the hull. Now someone has got to fix the ship to save the passengers, but ought we not decommission the captain first?

3) Community View

A very important opinion was published in the Journal News today. It represents the voices of our activists and leaders who are calling on NY State to intervene. Even though the state is not ready to relieve the captain of his command (to continue our nautical metaphor) they may be ready to put a rear admiral on board to ensure the comfort and safety of the passengers. The letter is written by www.strongeastramapo.org. It calls on NY State to authorize a monitor with broad-reaching power. It says “Our students deserve leadership with vision, respect for their needs, and the proactive authority to set the direction of the district.” It defines the crisis as a civil rights issue. 

Read the letter in the Journal News: View: East Ramapo needs oversight now

 

 

 

Rally for Respect Continues Tuesday

Power of Ten Update

In this Issue:

1. Protest Continues January 13
2. “A Radical Dreamer” Lecture January 15
3. Charter School Forum January 18
4. Martin Luther King Day Celebration January 19

1) Protest Continues:

This will be the ninth protest in the series. There has been a protest with at least 100 people at every board meeting this school year. (even in the rain, even when the meeting was cancelled). If you have not been to one of these yet, come and see what you have been missing!

We Demand Respect!
We Demand Excellent Education!
We Demand Equal Education for All Children!

Tuesday, January 13 at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley NY

2) A Radical Dreamer:

Rev. Dr. Weldon McWilliams IV will examine the post “I Have a Dream” years in Dr. King’s life. After this speech, Dr. King slowly but surely becomes more disenchanted with the political, economic and social structures of the United States and begins to advocate for systemic change as opposed to mere integration. Come out to what is promised to be a dynamic lecture!

Thursday, January 15, 2015 7:00 PM
CEJJES Institute
5 Copper Morris Drive
Pomona, NY 10970

Space is Limited. Please contact Rabia Nagin at skyviewra@yahoo.com or 845.362.8610 to RSVP
Please consider a donation to encourage further community interaction and dialogue

3) Charter School Forum:

The Legacy Charter School of Innovative Thinkers Presents: A Charter School Community Forum

January 18th, 2015 – 2:00 pm at the Louis Kurtz Civic Center, 9 North Main Street, Spring Valley, NY 10977

More information: Joanne Thompson 845-200-0038 thelegacycharter@gmail.com

4) King Day Celebration:

The Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center Inc. Unity Celebration
Honoring the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 19, 2015 Doors Open – 4:30 pm
Spring Valley High School, 361 E. Route 59, Spring Valley, NY

Free Admission & Refreshments

More info: http://mlkmpc.org/events/2015-martin-luther-king-day-celebration/

Join Us Monday: Rally for Respect!

Power of Ten Update

In This Edition:

1. Meeting and Protest Schedule Changes
2. Legislative Advocacy Update
3. Graduation Rates Fall Again
4. School Board Sues State Education Department Again
5. NAACP President’s Community View

1) Meeting and Protest Schedule Changes

Latino parents and supporters have held protests at the past seven board of education meetings, even on two occasions when the meetings were cancelled by the board. This Tuesday would have been the eighth meeting, but it has been cancelled. That is right, three of the eight meetings this school year so far (37%) have been cancelled!

There will be a special meeting Monday Jan 5th at which the board will receive Open Meeting Law training as mandated by NYSED following the recommendation of the fiscal monitor. There will be a silent protest at that meeting. The new schedule for the rest of January is:

Monday, January 5 at 7:00 PM
Silent Protest at Freedom of Information Law Workshop

Tuesday, January 13 at 7:00 PM
Protest Rally immediately preceding 7:30 Board Meeting

Tuesday, January 20 at 7:00 PM
Protest Rally immediately preceding 7:30 Board Meeting

All will be at the District Administration Building, 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley NY

 2) Legislative Advocacy Update
Two letter writing campaigns have addressed the legislation currently being written in response to the fiscal monitors recommendations. If you have not participated yet, please do so now!
3) Graduation Rates Fall Again
The state has released the latest data, read about it in this Post by East Ramapo Underground.
4) School Board Sues State Education Department Again
According to the Journal News, “East Ramapo officials are again taking the state to court in their battle against what the state says is repeated noncompliance with a law covering disabled students’ education.”
5) NAACP President’s Community View
The President of the Spring Valley Branch of the NAACP has written a Community View published in the Journal News:

Legislative Advocacy Update

Two letter writing campaigns have addressed the legislation currently being written in response to the fiscal monitors recommendations.

StrongEastRamapo urges lawmakers to write a law that includes “strong state intervention for East Ramapo”. Many people wrote, asking the state to empower a monitor with the authority to: direct the superintendent proactively to take actions necessary to ensure an excellent education for the children of East Ramapo, not just reactively veto the poor decisions of the board; and to be able to dismiss the superintendent if he fails standard performance reviews, and to hire a new one. If you have not participated yet, please do so now!

Power of Ten also has a letter addressing the financial crisis which the fiscal monitor described. The monitor recommended more state funding, but did not make any statement about what the source or mechanism should be. Our analysis led to our recommendation to amend the Contract for Excellence law which provided extra funding to high-need districts. The money would only be available for approved uses, such as providing full day kindergarten or reducing class sizes. East Ramapo is not currently eligible, that is why we are asking the lawmakers to amend the law to allow East Ramapo to be added.

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski has replied to those who participated in the Power of Ten letter writing campaign.

He wrote:

Thank you for writing my office regarding funding for the East Ramapo School District and the Contracts for Excellence Program.

The Contracts for Excellence were accountability measures that were placed upon school districts that received increased funding in 2007. These accountability measures provided oversight over the allocation of increased funds. To my knowledge, this program remains in place for most districts that received funding in 2007 but is not a recurring program that school districts are added to.

Please be assured that one of my top priorities for the upcoming legislative session is passing a bill with appropriate oversight over the East Ramapo School District. I am currently in the process of working with my Rockland colleagues to develop a bill that can be introduced within the next couple weeks. In conjunction with this oversight we will be working to significantly increase State Aid to the district in order to protect and restore programs for the students. The mechanism for that increase is being discussed and researched amongst the Rockland delegation and will likely be debated over the next several months. The final product will hopefully be secured in the next State Budget which must be passed on April 1st.

Thank you again for your email and suggestion regarding the Contracts for Excellence program. I will continue to research this program, and others, as we address the need for State oversight and increased funding.

Sincerely,

Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski

A Power of Ten reader wrote back to the Assemblyman:

Dear Assemblyman Zebrowski,

Thank you for your reply. I understand that C4E as it is currently exists does not allow for the addition of new districts. That is why I’m asking that you seek to amend it to include East Ramapo.

C4E targets many of the programs, such as smaller class sizes, all-day kindergarten, students performing below standards, English language learners, and students with disabilities, that are currently at issue in East Ramapo. Furthermore, C4E includes a mature, well-defined, and most importantly, effective method for monitoring performance and ensuring accountability from the district that the funds are being used appropriately and achieving their intended purpose.

Changing the school funding formula is controversial, and getting such a change passed may be difficult, since any change would have impacts and consequences far beyond the borders of East Ramapo. Likewise, any attempt to pass a “custom” solution for East Ramapo will face an uphill battle. On the other hand, C4E already exists, already has a source of funding, and already has a proven track record. It may be easier to obtain the votes needed to add East Ramapo to this program than it would be to obtain the votes needed for the other options.

Sincerely,
David A. Curry

 

Special Edition: State Aid Analysis and Action

Power of Ten Update

Special Edition: State Aid Analysis and Action

As a result of the fiscal monitor’s report, which detailed the reckless mismanagement of the school board over the past eight years, NY State is currently considering helping East Ramapo with more funding. The school board has been lobbying hard for a change to the “formula” which is used by the state to decide how much money to give to school districts. Is this the right way to help East Ramapo? The wealthiest districts in New York get much less state aid, averaging less than $2000 per pupil, while the poorest get over $10,000. East Ramapo has been getting about $6,000 per pupil, less than the terribly poor districts upstate, but about double our closest neighbors in Rockland. That’s because the aid formula takes into account that we have more non-public school students, more English language learners, and more low income students. An analysis is available at http://poweroften.us/state-aid-q-and-a/

Money will be needed to resolve the problems caused by the school board’s actions. That money must come with controls to prevent a repeat of the last eight years. Fortunately, there is already an existing program that does exactly that. It is called the “Contracts for Excellence” grant program. The Contracts for Excellence (C4E) Program was established in 2007 to provide additional accountability for increased State Aid for low performing school districts. C4E is a comprehensive approach to targeting fiscal resources to specific allowable programs proven to raise the achievement of the students with the greatest educational need. Districts required to enter a contract must document the schools, programs, and student subgroups to be targeted for funding, along with specific, achievable performance improvements that will result.

Sign the petition at: http://poweroften.us/demand-excellence/ to urge NY State decision makers to require East Ramapo to enter into the C4E program as a way of providing more funds that are targeted to our needs.

#TheLast child denied an education

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Malala Accepts Nobel Peace Prize
2. East Ramapo Underground Radio Today
3. FOR Winter Solstice Event Sunday
4. Teach-In in Spring Valley Next Saturday

1) Malala Accepts Nobel Peace Prize

2014 Nobel Peace Prize recipient Malala has started a new movement called #TheLast child denied an education.

I have joined, and I’m asking you to stand with me.

Here’s what Malala said that inspired me to act. I hope it inspires you as well:

“I had two options, one was to remain silent and wait to be killed, the second was to speak up … and wait to be killed.”

“I chose the second one. I decided to speak up … so it becomes the last time that we see a child deprived of education”

“Let this end with us. And let us begin this ending … together … today … right here, right now.”

Join me at http://www.malala.org/?sp_ref=91058743.272.10962.e.42367.2&source=email

The video of her amazing speech is now featured on the homepage http://poweroften.us/

Thanks!

2) East Ramapo Underground Radio Today

The next East Ramapo Underground Radio Show is this Friday, December 12 at 10am on WRCR-1300AM. Many things have happened since the last show. Most importantly is the Fiscal Monitors’ Report about the school district. We will discuss what we like and don’t like about his report.

Who will be the Heroes and Zeroes of the month? Who gets coal in their stocking this year?
The number to the show is 845-362-0013

The board hired another law firm in a frivolous article 78 lawsuit against NYSED. Find out who the board is now paying $650 per hour as they claim they are broke and need more money from the state. Watch the video here: http://youtu.be/Yg4FghjtPEM

East Ramapo Underground

3) FOR Winter Solstice Event Sunday

FOR USA opens the doors of its national headquarters at Shadowcliff, 521 N. Broadway, Upper Nyack, for community warmth & fun. As always, please bring a savory or sweet dish to share; beverages will be provided.

During the celebration, the 2014 Nyack Local Peace Awards will be presented to the Nyack Center with Executive Director Kim Cross and local philanthropist Herb Kurz. This year’s musical guests include: Regret the Hour, Lisa Sokolov, Bill Vanaver, Naaz Hosseini & Peter Blum, Steve & Emilia White, Answer the Muse, and more.
Suggested donations: $15, $35-Families, $100-Earth Angel.

RSVP/INFO: 845.358.4601, S. Hope Altkin, ext. 32, or Jonette O’Kelley Miller, ext. 29.

Sunday December 14th 1:00pm-6:00pm
at the FOR- Shadowcliff 521 North Broadway, NYACK NY

https://www.facebook.com/events/367362736764330/

4) Teach-In in Spring Valley Next Saturday

Are We Listening:
America’s Message to the Black Man

Rev. Dr. Weldon McWilliams IV will be imparting his perspective and proposed solutions to a myriad of problems affecting our people in special teach in lectures starting with a focus on recent tragedies by law enforcement and the criminalization of Black Men throughout American history.

What is AMERICA telling Black Men & the Black Community, how are we responding and is it the proper response?
Saturday, December 20, 2014 5:00 PM

First Baptist Church of Spring Valley
6 Reverend McWilliams Way (Hoyt Street)
Spring Valley, NY 10977
*In the Lower Auditorium*

Please consider a donation to encourage further community interaction and dialogue

Sponsored by: WeldonWorks LLC

Contact: info@drweldonworks.com

Time to stand up and be counted

The Power of Ten Update

In This Issue: 

1. Next Protest is this Tuesday, December 2
2. Diversity Training Mandated for School Board Members
3. East Ramapo Education Activists Featured in Story on Diversity in Schools

1) Next Protest is this Tuesday, December 2

Please join us in a rally right before the next regularly scheduled school board meeting.

It is Time for us to stand up and be counted. We refuse to be ignored any more!

Tuesday, December 2 at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

We Demand RESPECT!
We Demand EXCELLENT EDUCATION!
WE Demand EQUAL EDUCATION for All Children!

Exigimos El RESPETO!
Exigimos EDUCACIÓN EXCELENTE!
Exigimos IGUALDAD EN LA EDUCACIÓN para Todos los Niños!

Nou Mande RESPÈ!
Nou Mande BON KALITE EDIKASYON!
Nou Mande EGAL EDUCATION pou Tout Timoun!

2. Diversity Training Mandated for School Board Members

NY State has ordered that the school board and administrator go for diversity training.

The Journal News: State will require diversity, open meetings law training for school board by winter

3. East Ramapo Education Activists Featured in National Story on Diversity in Schools

The Journal News: Diversity presents opportunities and challenges for schools

Fiscal Monitor Gives His Report

Assembly Members Jaffee and Zebrowski, along with Education Chair Nolan, meet with students from East Ramapo who are delivering a petition with over 6,000 signatures asking for state intervention.

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:
1. Fiscal Monitor Gives His Report
2. Latino Parents Protest Grows
3. Hillcrest Elementary is Sold
4. Local Peace Awards to be Presented at Winter Solstice Concert
5. New Alumni Group Forms

1) Fiscal Monitor Gives His Report

This week the fiscal monitor appointed at the request of Governor Cuomo gave his report. For Power of Ten readers, it was familiar material. From fiscal mismanagement to favoritism to lack of transparency, we have been bringing you the story with documentation, and corroboration from major media for years. But the Governor wanted another pair of eyes to verify. Mr. Greenberg provided a brilliant summary, and there was a lot of media coverage!

Videos of the presentation:

Full presentation: Presentation of Hank Greenberg to the NYS Board of Regents

Excerpt: Regent Rosa’s Comments: she says she was presented with evidence that public funds were spent on religious texts. If that would be considered illegal anywhere else, why not in East Ramapo?

Excerpt: Regent Finn’s Comments: “the people who relegated my ancestors to those Jim Crow schools didn’t want to give up on it, because they had no respect for people being people, and I smell that here.”

National and International Media Coverage:

The New York Times: East Ramapo School Board Is Criticized by New York State Monitor

The Wall Street Journal: State Monitor Says East Ramapo Schools Mismanaged

WNYC: Report Finds “Absymal” Fiscal Management in East Ramapo

The Huffington Post: Racism in East Ramapo, New York: It’s Time to March

The Journal News:

State calls for East Ramapo watchdog

East Ramapo: Board quiet on report calling for watchdog

East Ramapo monitor invokes Brown v Board of Ed

East Ramapo monitor’s report: Diversity training

Crafting East Ramapo ‘watchdog’ bill no easy feat

Editorial: East Ramapo monitor’s report a call to action

The recommendations of the report represent a step back from where the Board of Regents and Commissioner King had been for the last couple of years. The Legislative Agenda for the Board of Regents last year included a bill with this language: “Upon a determination by the Board of Regents that governance problems are a substantial factor in a district’s chronic underperformance, allowing the Regents to appoint a three-member Education Oversight Board with all the powers and duties of the board of education. Such a finding would result in the removal of the board of education and, upon recommendation of the Oversight Board, the superintendent as well. An education oversight board would report directly to the Commissioner and the Board.”

The monitor’s report does seem to indicate that  governance problems are a substantial factor in East Ramapo’s chronic underperformance. It is up to our elected officials to review the report and recommendations, and to pass legislation that will align the state’s power’s with its responsibilities. It is NY State which is ultimately responsible for ensuring education for all children, and the state which decides which system of governance will ensure that it meets those responsibilities. If it does not, you can count on parents to never, ever let it go.

2) Latino Parents Protest Grows

There have now been six protests since Dr. Klein singled out Latino immigrants. Each time the numbers have grown. They have stood in the rain; they have held protests even when the board cancelled the meeting (twice!). PLEASE come to the next protest and join them!

Photos of the Nov 18 protest and meeting

Next Protests: December 2 and 9 at 7:00 PM (immediately preceding board meetings) at 105 S. Madison Ave in Spring Valley, NY

3) Hillcrest Elementary is Sold

It has been almost four years since I first wrote to Attorney General Schneiderman about the false instrument used in the sale of Hillcrest Elementary.  To date, only one person, the appraiser Avi Vardi, has been charged.  He received his sentence for filing a false instrument in July, 2014. However, during this period of time, the same school has been sold again to the same seller, with no action from Schneiderman’s office. There is a summary of the alleged scheme on the Preserve Ramapo website, based on the initial charges filed by Attorney General Schneiderman against the appraiser. This alleged scheme included actions of public officials, acting under color of law, defrauding the public and causing irreparable harm to thousands of schoolchildren. I cannot imagine any fraud case which should have a higher priority. The Attorney General says the investigation is “ongoing”, but in the meanwhile it would appear that the activity being investigated may also be “ongoing”!
4) Local Peace Awards to be Presented at Winter Solstice Concert
This year’s recipient’s are Kim Cross and Herb Kurz. Congratulations to them both! Last years honorees (Myself and my wife Emilia) will be back this year as part of the concert!
5) New Alumni group forms
There is a new group of alumni and allies that is sending informational updates and enabling online action. You can join them here:  www.tinyurl.com/strongeastramapo
 

 

Power of Ten en Español

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:
1. Protests continue at school board meetings
2. Next protest is this Tuesday
3. Power of Ten en Español

1) Protests continue at school board meetings

This school year over 400 people have come to protests. There have been protests at every school board meeting.
On October 21, they rallied in the rain!
Pictures are available at: https://picasaweb.google.com/109077540544836974769/EastRamapoSchoolBoardRally
Video from October 21 is here: http://youtu.be/wEUOG3zH-Gw
On November 4th, the school board cancelled their meeting, but the protest went on. They may not have a quorum, but WE DO!
Video from the Nov 4th protest is available here: http://youtu.be/uXOW6igXXzs

2) Next Protest is this Tuesday, Nov 18

Tuesday, November 18 at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

We Demand RESPECT! We Demand EXCELLENT EDUCATION! WE Demand EQUAL EDUCATION for All Children!
Exigimos El RESPETO! Exigimos EDUCACIÓN EXCELENTE! Exigimos IGUALDAD EN LA EDUCACIÓN para Todos los Niños!
Nou Mande RESPÈ! Nou Mande BON KALITE EDIKASYON! Nou Mande EGAL EDUCATION pou Tout Timoun!

3) Power of Ten en Español

El sitio web “Power of Ten” está volviendo bilingüe! (The Power of Ten website is becoming bilingual!)

Ahora puede seleccionar para ver el sitio en inglés o español. (You can now select to view the site in either English or Spanish.)

Esté atento a más contenido en español más adelante este año. (Watch for more content to be translated later this year!)

Klein in Trouble Again; Rally Tonight at 7 PM

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:

1. Superintendent Klein in Trouble Again!
2. Rally tonight – Oct 21 at 7 PM
3. Ward system forum canceled
4. East Ramapo Play Thursday

1) Superintendent Klein in Trouble Again!

The superintendent of East Ramapo school district has faced protesters calling for his resignation because of comments he made about Latino students. You might think that now he would be more careful with his words, but you would be wrong. When the Spring Valley NAACP wrote to him politely requesting clarification of his comments, he wrote back a less-than-polite response, and sent a copy to the state. Well, the NYSED fiscal monitor found there was cause for concern in both Dr. Klein’s comments and his tone with the NAACP. He is now requiring the district to show how they are providing education to English Language Learners.

The Journal News: East Ramapo: Compliance on immigrant rights questioned

2) Rally tonight – Oct 21 at 7 PM

The comments made by the superintendent of schools have brought into question the districts commitment to serving all of its students, and even its understanding of the law that requires it to serve all equally. 

Please join us in a rally right before the next regularly scheduled school board meeting.  We will once again call for Dr. Klein to resign. As the districts highest paid employee, he should be held to the highest standard.

Tuesday, October 21 at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

3) Ward system forum canceled

The forum about the ward system which had been scheduled for Thursday October 23 at the Kurtz Center in Spring Valley has been canceled.

4) East Ramapo Play Wednesday

The Journal News: East Ramapo conversation, play, at Threefold on Wednesday

When: Wednesday, October 22 7-9 pm FREE
Where:Threefold Auditorium, 260 Hungry Hollow Rd., Chestnut Ridge, NY
Information: Contact Abigail Dancey
abigail@threefold.org or 845-352-5020 X25.

Nobel Prize goes to Education Activists

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:
1. Malala wins the Nobel Peace Prize!!!
2. Protest Discrimination Continues October 21
3. East Ramapo the play returns on October 22
4. Community Forum on the Ward System Proposal for Ramapo October 23
5. Panel on Environmental and Racial Justice in Nyack October 23

1) Malala wins Nobel Peace Prize!!!

On winning the prize, she said “This award is courage and hope for me and all those who fight for education.”

I want to share this message with all of you you fight for education in East Ramapo. This is courage and hope for all of us.

malalaHer full comments: Today, I was honoured to learn I will receive the Nobel Peace Prize.

I am proud I am the first young person and first Pakistani to win this prize. It is an honour I share with Kailash Satyarthi — a hero in the fight for children globally. More than ever, our world needs more heroes like Kailash.

I believe the Nobel committee didn’t give this award to me. I believe they have done this because they believe education is the best weapon through which we can fight poverty, ignorance and terrorism.

I believe they did this because they don’t believe in just one girl, but in all the girls whose voices need to be heard, who are under the darkness of conflict or poverty. This award is for my powerful sisters who have not been listened to for far too long.

And I raise their voices, I stand together with them.

I believe they did this because they believe we are #StrongerThan any challenge. We are #StrongerThan fear. This award is courage and hope for me and all those who fight for education.

When I found out that I won today when I was in school, studying Chemistry. I told my teacher I needed to finish my school assignment. Education is my top priority. I was learning with my friends, where I believe every child should be. But 57 million of them are still out school. We still have a lot to do.

The road to education, peace and equality is very long. But I know millions of children are walking beside me. If we go together, we will achieve our goals and we will complete our journey. We have to walk together.

I am honoured to walk this road with Kailash. I am honoured to walk it with you.

With Gratitude and Hope,
— Malala
www.malala.org

2) Protest Discrimination Continues October 21

Superintendent Klein has made comments which are offensive to immigrants. He has failed to apologize. No school board member has called on him to apologize. Now we must call for his resignation. We will continue the protest on October 21st.

Superintendente Klein ha hecho comentarios que son ofensivos para los inmigrantes. Ha fallado a disculparse. Ningún miembro de la junta escolar ha hecho un llamado a él para pedir disculpas. Ahora tenemos que pedir su dimisión. Vamos a continuar la protesta el 21 de octubre.

Tuesday, October 21, at 7:00 PM
East Ramapo District Office Building
105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

3) East Ramapo Play Returns

EAST RAMAPO, written by Mark Judelson, is a dramatic series of monologues and conversations of individuals directly involved in the East Ramapo Central School District. The evening will begin with a conversation facilitated by internationally known facilitator Roberta Wall (steps2peace.com) about the issues surrounding our school district. Using the principles of Nonviolent Communication ( wwww.cnvc.org ) Roberta will guide us in a model of conversation and small group processes that are meant to create connection around each point of view and the humanity of each speaker. This model will lay the basis for continuing a new type of conversation and connection among all of us. A special performance of East Ramapo will follow.

When: Wednesday, October 22 7-9 pm FREE
Where:Threefold Auditorium, 260 Hungry Hollow Rd., Chestnut Ridge, NY
Information: Contact Abigail Dancey
abigail@threefold.org or 845-352-5020 X25.

4) Community Forum on the Ward System Proposal for Ramapo October 23

A community Forum on the Pros and Cons of a ward system for Ramapo. Sponsored by Wake Up Rockland.
Come out to lean the Who, Why, Where, When and How of the Yes-Yes and the No-No vote on the referendum!!! Hear from all sides of the debate, plus experts in the field.
And you thought politics was boring!!!

When: Thursday, October 23, 6:00-8:30pm FREE
Where: Louis Kurtz Civic Center, 9 North Main Street, Spring Valley, NY 10977

5) Panel on Environmental and Racial Justice in Nyack October 23

What are the common links and solutions? Come help us find the answers…
Keynote speaker and Panelists:
Brian Jones Green Party Candidate for Lt. Governor
Marilyn Elie – Indian Point Safe Energy Coalition
Haley Pessin – Rockland Coalition to End the New Jim Crow

Where: The Fellowship of Reconciliation 521 N. Broadway Nyack NY
When: Thursday October 23 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Admission is free and there will be free Refreshments

Public calls for Superintendent Klein to Resign

Power of Ten Update

In this Issue:

1. Speakers at Rally Demand Supt. Klein Resign over Offensive Remarks
2. Justice Walker in Spring Valley Friday
3. General Election Candidates’ Forum Oct 15

1) Speakers at Rally Demand Supt. Klein Resign over Offensive Remarks

As the days and weeks have passed since Supt. Klein’s offensive remarks at an August board meeting, the unanswered calls for an apology have turned into a demand for his resignation. Adding insult to injury, Klein claims that the video was not a true representation of his words. Each missed opportunity for an apology is another offense to our students. The board fails to hold him accountable, just as they failed to hold Chris Kirby or Al D’Agostino accountable. It is because of the terrible power wielded by the bloc vote that elected officials can condone such offensive behavior.

The Journal News: East Ramapo protesters: ‘It’s discrimination’

2) Justice Walker in Spring Valley Friday

NYS Supreme Court Justice, Hon. Sam Walker will be the guest speaker at this Friday’s JAMCCAR meeting. The topic will be “Law Enforcement and Us: Ferguson and Beyond” – October 10 at 7:30 p.m. at the Louis Kurtz Civic Center, 9 North Main Street, Spring Valley, New York

3) General Election Candidates’ Forum – next Wednesday, October 15 at 6:30 p.m.

Hosted by Spring Valley NAACP, Nyack NAACP and JAMCCAR.
Louis Kurtz Civic Center, 9 North Main Street, Spring Valley, New York
Candidates for:
United States House of Representatives 17th District
New York State Senate 38th District
New York State Assembly 96th, 97th, and 98th Districts
Legislator 5th District
Town of Ramapo, Town Justice
Village of Spring Valley Trustee
Village of Nyack Trustee
County Court Judge

Protest Rally Today; Election Results; Playing Field Embarrassment

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Protest Discrimination
2. Election Results
3. Football Fields an Embarrassment

1) Protest Discrimination Today: Tuesday, October 7

The offensive comments made by the superintendent of schools have brought into focus the many ways the district is failing the majority of its students. Community members are calling for the superintendent to resign, asking for an apology, demanding a quality education, and asking that the board return its focus to providing that education.

Please Join us in a rally right before the next regularly scheduled school board meeting:

Tuesday, October 7 at 7:00 PM
105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

2) Election Results (or lack thereof)

There are no results to be reported because of possible fraud.

CBS Channel 2 News: Ramapo Town Election Results On Hold Due To Criminal Investigation

The Journal News: Judge orders Ramapo referendum votes impounded

If you have information such as:

  1. Being turned away by your polling station and not allowed to vote either because you were not registered or your name did not appear on the registration rolls.
  2. Witnessing people entering the polling station with affidavit ballots already filled out.
  3. Being turned down for an absentee ballot by the Town Clerk.
  4. If you were a poll worker at a polling station and were told to turn people away who were not registered to vote or if you are aware of whether your polling station had affidavit ballots available to people who were not registered to vote. We are interested in what your training was and what you were told to do.

Please contact Joseph Meyers at joe@legislatorjoemeyers.com
More information on what to do at: www.preserveramapo.org

3) Former Coach reports on conditions at games

Just came back from the SVHS football game. It is embarrassing to have anyone come to a game. The bleachers were closed because they are falling apart. The weeds have grown around the fence and track. The once beautiful rock backdrop is overgrown with weeds and bushes and generally looks like many of the homes in Monsey. No band. No cheerleaders. Visiting teams parents sit on ground or bring their own chairs. No snack bar. The fields are dry and dusty and generally disgusting.

This cannot be the Spring Valley my wife grew up in. It cannot be the Spring Valley I worked and Coached in for all those years. This B of E has made this a mockery. I really feel bad for those kids who dream of sports and their future in college. I see how our kids are being degraded and in spite of the B of E they made a great game and always conducted themselves with class and sportsmanship.

Tiger football is blessed to have great coaches who teach respect and fairplay. Unfortunately the same can’t be said of those leaders of the district who claim to educate children. Perhaps the coaching staff should be on the B of E. Great work Coach Delva and staff. -Mark Katz SVHS Football Coach retired but not forgetting the Orange and Black.

SVHS

Reminder: Election Today, vote YES and YES for more democracy

Power of Ten

Reminder: Election Today, vote YES and YES for more democracy

Please personally contact 10 people and remind them to vote!

Polls are open until 10:00 PM.

Perhaps the best explanation why we should vote YES and YES is this letter from Democratic Assembly members Jaffee and Zebrowski: http://www.ellenjaffee.com/assemblymembers-jaffee-and-zebrowski-encourage-ramapo-residents-to-vote-yes-on-proposed-ward-system/

According to a report in the Journal News, you do not need to be a registered voter to vote today!!!

More information on the ward system is available at: http://www.vote6wards.org/