Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
- School Board Loses Two More Lawsuits!
- School Board Appeals NY Supreme Court Decision
- School Board says NO to Veterans
- Chestnut Ridge Middle School to be leased to Orthodox day camp
- Receiving Power of Ten Messages
1) School Board Loses Two More Lawsuits!
In 2010, the East Ramapo school board voted to sell Hillcrest Elementary to Yeshiva Avir Yakov. That sale was stopped by the NY State Commissioner of Education. The appraiser used by the district has since been arrested for his role in that matter. Commissioner Steiner also cautioned the board regarding its future plans for the school. However, in 2013 NY State had to step in again, this time over the rental price given to Yeshiva Avir Yakov. Once again, the district had made a deal with the yeshiva without adequately attempting to find the best return for the taxpayers. The district responded by suing NY State. On January 29, the court upheld the actions of the Commissioner.
The Journal News: Hillcrest lease set to be nullified
Last April, the East Ramapo School Board sued its insurance company for denying coverage regarding the civil rights lawsuit filed against individual board members and administrators. On January 13, the court upheld the denial of insurance. The full opinion is available here. Here is an excerpt:
Members of a school board might inadvertently advance religion in various ways, such as by closing school, or avoiding scheduling extra-curricular activities, on religious holidays. However, 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. Thus, these acts come within the exclusion for fraudulent, dishonest, malicious, criminal or intentional wrongful conduct. The District has not established that any of its board members are innocent insureds in that they had no knowledge of the fraudulent and dishonest conduct. The court concludes that New York Schools has established as a matter of law that there is no possible factual or legal basis on which it might eventually be obligated to indemnify the District for the actions alleged in the Establishment Clause causes of action.
2) School Board Appeals NY Supreme Court Decision
East Ramapo has been cited by the NY State Education Department three times for failing to follow State and Federal Law in regards to the placement of Special Education. In order to stymie NYSED in regards to any enforcement action, the Board sued NYSED, but lost. Now they are appealing. See it on YouTube.
Legal expenses for the district have skyrocketed since the longtime lawyer for the district was summarily fired and replaced with the current law firm. One can only imagine that if the district still had its previous lawyer, he would have advised against all of the actions that the district has taken, from violating the contract of the superintendent, to placing children in private school at taxpayer expense, to suing the NY State Attorney General and the Education Department. When the change was made, the public complained about the doubling of the hourly rate- they had no idea of just how many unnecessary lawsuits were coming, or that even more expensive lawyers would be hired to defend the new lawyer. ALL of these outrageous expenses are coming from your tax dollars that are supposed to provide for the education of the children of the district. The civil rights lawsuit filed by Advocates for Justice seeks monetary damages from the people who brought this disaster to our district. Please support Advocates for Justice.
3) School Board says NO to Veterans
The Governor recently signed the Veterans School Tax Exemption. This law allows local school boards ability to decide whether or not to bring this matter up for a vote. They may also decide not to take any action. There is no deadline for them to act. However, the deadline for Veterans to file for the New York State Tax Exemption is March 1st of each year.
East Ramapo apparently is not going to participate in this program to help veterans. See it on YouTube.
4) Chestnut Ridge Middle School to be leased to Orthodox day camp
Last Fall, an Orthodox day camp advertised on its web page that its new location for 2014 would be the Chestnut Ridge Middle School. Requests for documents from East Ramapo were repeatedly denied. Now a vote has been taken to approve a lease. Parents and Taxpayers are increasingly concerned that a building which was built with their hard earned tax dollars, which had up until recently been available as a summer spot open to ALL children, will now be operated by an entity which can exclude children based on religion. There is also a serious question, based on the school boards prior actions, that the price which has been negotiated may represent a gift.
The Journal News: East Ramapo school district to lease middle school to Jewish day camp
5) Receiving Power of Ten Messages
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