East Ramapo board loses in court again; segregation undermines education;

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:
  1. School Board Loses Another Lawsuit
  2. East Ramapo decline tied to increasing segregation
  3. Reminder: MLK Day event Monday
  4. Green Meadow Waldorf School offers free tutoring
  5. Message from the editor

1) School Board Loses Another Lawsuit

The Journal News: Court: East Ramapo broke law on special-ed placement practice

2) East Ramapo decline tied to increasing segregation

The Journal News Community View: East Ramapo board a symptom of community’s segregation

Read the essay in text only format

3) MLK Day Event Monday:

Martin Luther King Day Event Now includes VH1 celebrity guest Puma Robinson

4) Green Meadow School Offers Free Tutoring

The Journal News: A new tutoring program offered by Green Meadow Waldorf School could give students in East Ramapo and other districts a leg up on their grades in 2014.

5) Message from the editor

The East Ramapo School District used to have a local, reasonably priced lawyer who served the interests of the district well.  This lawyer was summarily fired for no reason and replaced with a much more expensive lawyer.  The new lawyer advised the district regarding the practice of special education placements deemed illegal by NY State.  This lawyer advised the district regarding breaking the contract of the Superintendent and then lost an expensive lawsuit in which that superintendent recouped the salary owed him.  This lawyer advised the district regarding the process of selling and leasing schools which led to investigation by the NY State Attorney General’s office, the arrest of the appraiser involved, and the annulment of a sale and a lease. Good legal advice would have kept the district out of all this trouble.  Now the district has lost another lawsuit, in which it was ridiculously suing the NY State Education Department for doing its job.

The money to pay all these legal fees is coming out of your tax dollars which are supposed to be for the purpose of educating children.  The school board, which is supposed to be a steward of those funds, has been acting as if they are purposely trying to wreck the district.  Can there be any solution to this problem?  Actually, the NY State Education Department has proposed the solution as a new law.  The bill has been sitting in committee since 2011.

Dr. McWilliams points out: “Many local politicians have yielded to the organized political voting bloc as a means to maintain their political seats…” He continues: “The East Ramapo public school community can no longer afford to wait on the politicians to correct the imbalance…” 

On Nov 5, 2013 Preserve Rockland candidates Ed Day and Emilia White won landslide victories, Public education advocates have shown that they will not only organize, mobilize, demonstrate, protest, and petition; they are now voting in a block. We demand that the governance of East Ramapo be changed, and new stewards be put in place who will once again make the education of EVERY child the ONLY mission of the school district, This is the recommendation of the NY State Education Department, This plan was endorsed by the Journal News. It has been sponsored by our state representatives.

It is now five years since the school board hired their scandal plagued law firm and 7 months since they said they would part ways with them. It is clear that public outrage, even international attention means nothing to this board.  Only an action by NY State to remove them will change the course of our district and our county. – Steven White, editor of The Power of Ten

Sad News; Strange Bedfellows; A Day to Celebrate

Power of Ten Update

In this issue:

  1. Rev. Brightman has passed
  2. School board member resigns
  3. An outrageous choice
  4. School board still paying lawyer who cursed at student
  5. Martin Luther King Celebration Jan 20 at SVHS

1) Rev. Brightman has passed

The Rev. Walter Brightman Jr. passed away last month at the age of 81. Rev. Brightman often spoke about the East Ramapo children and the need for them to receive a quality education. He really cared about the kids. Rev Brightman will be missed by all of us.

The Journal News: Spring Valley activist Brightman dies at 81

2) School Board Member Resigns

East Ramapo Board of Education member MaraLuz Corado stepped down in December after serving less than six months on the board. She was the FOURTH member of the East Ramapo School Board to resign in 2013!!!

The Journal News: E. Ramapo board member resigns

3) An Outrageous Choice

Democrats at the County Legislature officially selected former East Ramapo School Board member Aron Wieder as the Legislature’s Democratic Majority Leader. SMH!

Preserve Ramapo: An Outrageous Choice

4) School board still paying lawyer who cursed at student
“…after much public pressure, the East Ramapo School Board president Mr. Yehuda Weissmandl announced on July 8 that the district would “transition to other legal representation”. Six months later this firm is still in place no disciplinary action has been taken by the school district in either case. Given that the original “transition” from an existing law firm to Minerva & D’Agostino took all of one school board meeting, I find it insulting to our community that six months later, tax dollars are still being paid to this law firm.” – Rockland County Executive Ed Day
5) Martin Luther King Celebration Jan 20 at SVHS
The Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center and Spring Valley High School celebrate 50 years of civil rights history and honor the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on January 20, 2014 from 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM at Spring Valley High School, 361 Rte. 59, Spring Valley, NY.
Program will include keynote speakers Dr. Weldon McWilliams IV and Ms. Mercedes Smith.
Entertainment including Chiku Awali Dancers. Arthur Lorde’s Motherland Rhythms, JAMCCAR’s Ekklipse Steel Band and Christ Centered Ministry’s Voices of Praise.
The event will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center in Spring Valley, the 50th anniversary “Freedom Summer”, and the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act.
Also featured will be performances by Spring Valley High School students.
Admission and light refreshments are FREE.