Power of Ten Update

In this edition:

  1. Marching Band Director leads list of massive layoffs!
  2. How much did district pay for sending kids to private school?
  3. Budget vote on June 19
  4. Town Hall Meeting at CEJJES Institute
  5. Message from the editor

1. East Ramapo Announces Massive Layoffs

The board has voted on a program of layoffs which are absolutely unacceptable and irresponsible. Leading the list as the most ridiculous personnel move the board has made since it fired Pedro Santana, They have now voted to layoff Michael E. Smith. For 27 years, Mr. Smith has led the World Famous East Ramapo Marching Band to Championships, Film and Television appearances, and over 600 local events. What kind of school leadership would let go an individual responsible for so much success?

Also receiving layoff notices were BOTH Ms. Esquivel and Mr. Forman of Ramapo High School, and Ms. Greene and Mr. Winfield of Spring Valley HS.

There were dozens of other layoff notices, ALL of which will affect the educational program.

The complete list is available at: http://poweroften.us/new/2012-layoffs/

These layoffs are the direct result of choices made by the school board, NOT external financial factors or union contracts.

2. Impact of Non-compliance from NY State Education Dept.

In the last update, we learned that East Ramapo has been forced to post a notice to the community regarding the result of a finding of continuing non-compliance with regulations pertaining to placement of special education students.

We are now stuck footing the bill for these unapproved placements.

It was the school board’s choice to over-rule their own special education committee and NY state regulations. NY State will NOT reimburse these unapproved placements. According to the notice, there were between 86 and 90 such placements over the past two years. Placement in some cases can cost over $90,000 per student!

3. Budget vote on June 19

If you feel that the crass manipulations of the board are making you feel like your vote doesn’t count, take a few minutes when you get home from the poll and WRITE your representative about how you feel AT THAT MOMENT:

NYSED fraud, waste, and abuse line: http://www.oms.nysed.gov/oas/fraud/

Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee: http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Ellen-Jaffee/

Senator David Carlucci: http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/david-carlucci/contact

Governor Andrew Cuomo: http://www.governor.ny.gov/contact/GovernorContactForm.php

NY State board of Regents: RegentsOffice@mail.nysed.gov

Rockland Journal News: ncutler@lohud.com

Rockland County Times: editor@rocklandtimes.com

4. Town Hall Meeting at CEJJES Institute

Saturday, June 30, 2012 6:00 PM

The CEJJES Institute

5 Cooper Morris Drive Pomona, NY

Donation requested Adults $5 Students Free

What is the future of Education in East Ramapo? What does it mean for our children? What does this mean for the community of color? How do we move forward? If you are an administrator, teacher; educator or just a concerned member of the community we want to hear your voice. Please come out and take part in this very important conversation.

rsvp required to: CEJJESinst@gmail.com or 845 362 8610 by June 25th, 2012

6. Message from the editor

The layoffs that were announced this week are unconscionable. Our district has growing enrollment, stagnant teacher salaries, and more students with special needs than other districts in Rockland. Our district receives almost half of its resources from federal and state funding, but more than half of that goes to pay for services to non-public schools. The school board, dominated by members with family and community ties to those schools, chose to send local tax dollars to non-public schools, rather than use them to retain needed staff in the public schools. This is not a pro-taxpayer board. This is an anti-education board. They are being or have recently been investigated by the NY State Attorney General, the NY State Comptroller, The US Department of Education Civil Rights Division, and the NY State Education Department. The investigations come about because of complaints from people like YOU. Please write to your representatives and the other contacts listed above. With pressure, we will achieve a better education for our students and a better balance in our community. – Steven White, editor


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