Power of Ten Update

In this edition:

  1. Action items: Call the Governor, come to the county legislature
  2. Loss of Band Director hurts district
  3. Message from the editor
1) Action Items!
In a previous update, it was reported that NYSED found the East Ramapo district to be in violation of regulations pertaining to placement of special education students.  A new law has been proposed which would allow the district to make these placements at taxpayer expense.  Only governor Cuomo can stop this bill from becoming law.
The problematic nature of this law has been exposed in the Wall Street Journal and denounced on Huffington Post

Please call Governor Cuomo’s office this week!

Call 518-474-8390 then ext 2. and leave a voice message:

I am (your name), live at (address and county) … I urge Governor Cuomo to to VETO S7722 (SAY THIS NUMBER!!!) – “special education placement bill”.  The bill DOES NOT protect special education children.  The bill favors religious groups over everyone else. The bill will cost public school districts hundreds of thousands of dollars and will create a segregated school system using taxpayer money.

Please  come to the Rockland County Legislature meeting on Tuesday!

County Legislator Joe Meyers is planning to introduce a resolution urging Governor Cuomo to veto the bill.  The public can speak at the beginning of the meeting in support of this Resolution.

Time: Tuesday, July 10th at 7:00 pm (come at 6:15- see the next item)
Place:11 New Hempstead Road, New City

2) Loss of Band Director Michael E. Smith hurts district

According to The Journal News, “For more than 20 years with Smith at the helm, the marching band has proven itself a gem among East Ramapo’s athletic and extracurricular programs even as the district has floundered in other areas.”

What kind of school leadership would lay off  the one district-wide employee most identified as creating an image of success and pride in the district?

This same leadership last year fired Pedro Santana, whose leadership was inspiring a revival in school spirit and renewed optimism among students, teachers and  parents.

These were the two most prominent district-wide employees who were inspiring pride and hope in the staff and the students. Coincidence?

The Rockland County Legislature will honor Mr. Michael E. Smith on Tuesday, July 10 at 6:15 pm. (Please stay to support Joe Meyers’ resolution re: “special education placement bill”)

3) Message from the editor

Please take some time to look over the content on the Power of Ten website.  The story of our struggle is told there in documents such as the Comptroller’s report, the NYSED violation notice, and the Commissioner’s Hillcrest sale decision. It is documented in the videos of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and community members pleading with the board not to destroy our educational system.

For years, those who have been at the helm have cited financial reasons for their actions.  But how does this explain that they created a paid position (treasurer) for a close friend, Israel Bier?  This job had previously been performed by a district employee at no extra cost.  How does this explain that they replaced our long time attorney for one that cost about four times as much per hour? Or trying to sell two schools for a fraction of the appraised value? How about losing track of millions of dollars worth of textbooks loaned to their friends who run non-public schools, or violating regulations of the state to place students in non-public schools at public expense?  Is any of this sound financial policy for the district?

And then they fired Pedro Santana, the most effective and beloved administrator the district has ever seen.  And now they have let the LEGENDARY band leader Michael E. Smith go.

Are the board members  sincerely trying to protect the taxpayer?  The record shows that they have been cited time and again for failure to protect the taxpayer’s interest. The record shows that they have taken actions which hurt the reputation and morale of the district even when there is no financial reason for doing so.

This message is to the school board and the superintendent: as former NFL head coach Bill Parcells would say: “you are what your record says that you are.”

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