Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Cuomo Acts!!!
2. School Board turns down Lottery Money
3. Religious Camp and East Ramapo run afoul of zoning laws
4. Survey Results
5. Message from the editor
1) Cuomo Acts!!!
Governor Andrew Cuomo has directed Education Commissioner John King to appoint a fiscal monitor for East Ramapo School District. According to the Rockland Journal News, the Governor said the monitor will “take a look at the accusations that have been made and give us an independent opinion” and Commissioner King said “The goal of a fiscal monitor is to look at how East Ramapo is using its resources, to make sure its use of resources is consistent with federal law, state law and is in the best interests of students.”
The Journal News: East Ramapo schools assigned state fiscal monitor
The Journal News: East Ramapo schools monitor has broad mission
Please call Governor Cuomo and thank him: (518) 474-8390
2) School Board turns down Lottery Money
The Journal News: East Ramapo ‘insulted’ by early lottery aid deal
3) Religious Camp and East Ramapo run afoul of zoning laws
The Journal News: Religious camp preps East Ramapo site without permits
4) Survey Results
Thanks to all those who provided feedback about the direction of The Power of Ten. The feedback was very helpful. One reader suggested that I keep the focus of the messages on East Ramapo, but also provide a page with links to other important groups and stories. This seems like a sensible compromise, and so I have added http://poweroften.us/links-and-events/ to the www.poweroften.us webpage. To suggest a link or event, just send me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org (please send links to your item rather than text whenever possible).
5) Message from the editor
The news about the fiscal monitor is very welcome. It is the direct result of YOUR activism, whether you signed a petition, made a call, wrote a letter, or came out to a rally. Thank you! Special recognition must be given to the new organization “Rockland Clergy for Social Justice”, which has just recently been to Albany to advocate for state oversight.
The reaction of the school board and Superintendent were as predicable as they were ridiculous. The Superintendent said “everything is perfect here” and “we have nothing to hide” (Journal News). This is from the same district that refuses to provide certain documents to the NYS Attorney General as he investigates possible real estate fraud in the sale of an elementary school.
The aversion to oversight is a long practice of the East Ramapo Board. Remember when they tried to stop videotaping of board meetings? Now they are turning down $3.5 million dollars that could be used to restore programs such as Art, Music, Sports or Kindergarten, because they object to “an outside group of people” on an advisory board, apparently a reference to the requirement for a public school parent to be a member.
Another group which has become infamous for aversion to oversight in East Ramapo are private religious schools. There were a number of well publicized cases last year in which local zoning authorities had to act on violations that endangered safety and negatively affected neighbors. Now it seems that East Ramapo has teamed up with a private religious camp in avoiding oversight of swimming pool construction.
Where does it end? It begins to end when you and I refuse to accept second class status. Elections do not confer a privilege to oppress or dominate; they rather obligate a person or a group to serve. The purpose and the mission of a school board is to promote and ensure education, in its best and most beneficial form, for the children and the community. They must guard the flame of knowledge and ensure that its light is shared by all. Even if the elected board is failing their responsibility, the light of knowledge is still shining. Justice is coming to East Ramapo – and YOU can make it happen! – Steve White, editor