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!


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

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


Facebook Event Page:

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

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

Hon. Toney L. Earl

Hon. Aney Paul

Thank you,

Steven White
Editor, The Power of Ten

#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

The video of her amazing speech is now featured on the homepage


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:

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

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


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 EQUAL EDUCATION for All Children!

Exigimos El RESPETO!
Exigimos IGUALDAD EN LA EDUCACIÓN para Todos los Niños!

Nou Mande RESPÈ!
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:


Event Sunday: Collective Courage

Power of Ten Update

In this issue:

1. Event Sunday: “Collective Courage”
2. Power of Ten Survey

1) Collective Courage

Join CEJJES Institute for a conversation about taking back our economy through alternative economic development and action. Learn about creating a solidarity economy, and the different kinds of cooperative businesses around the country. See how these democratic community-based enterprises serve or can serve communities of color and low-income neighborhoods.

Join us in celebrating the publication of Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s new book: Collective Courage: A History of African American Cooperative Economic Thought and Practice. Jessica Gordon Nembhard will talk about the strong but hidden history of Black cooperatives, and connections between the Black cooperative movement and the Civil Rights Movement.

In conjunction, we will be celebrating one of our founder’s 93rd birthday!

Sunday at 2:00 pm

The CEJJES Institute

5 Cooper Morris Drive, Pomona, New York 10970

RSVP on Facebook:

or call (845) 362-8610

2) Power of Ten Survey

Over the last several years, Power of Ten has focused exclusively on issues related to East Ramapo schools. However, many readers have requested that I include other related issues such as general educational topics and local environmental issues which also affect our families and children. So, I am asking you to let me know if you would like to see these topics included in future editions of the Power of Ten newsletter. Please indicate your preference by filling out this survey: