Too Much News!

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Forum Postponed
2. Monday Pizza and Justice!
3. Too Much News

1) Forum Postponed

The Candidates Forum that was scheduled for Nov 13 has been postponed to a date not yet determined. 

2) Monday Pizza and Justice!

Are you dealing with mold or other environmental issues in your school, or lack of busing, or access to remote education, or special education? 

The New York Civil Liberty Union wants to share ideas (and pizza) with you!


Monday November 8th
Martin Luther King Multi- Purpose Center
110 Bethune Boulevard, Spring Valley
4:30-6:30 PM

The invitation is to parents, students, and other members of the community. Come and meet the NYCLU Staff and get to know them and their work. A community workshop will be held, and pizza and drinks will be provided as well!

3) Too Much News

A special thanks to those who noticed Power of Ten has been quiet lately. There has been a lot happening, and we are short-staffed. I recommend readers also subscribe to the Journal News, and the Facebook groups “Power of Ten – East Ramapo for the Children” at and “Save Our Schools: East Ramapo” at

A very brief rundown of issues just this school year:

    • Hundreds of students had no bus service, or intermittent service. Parents scrambled to get kids to school, and worried as they came home hours late. The situation may be improving, school board members have requested the numbers from the superintendent. One thing is for sure, many hours of instruction have been missed due to the bus driver shortage. Although there is a national shortage, in East Ramapo much of the blame for the shortage must be placed on the school board, which has over the last ten years sold all its buses and laid off all its drivers. the board was informed that this was bad policy by Superintendent Oustacher, who said when there is an emergency, you will need your own transportation department. The school board knew this was true, because at the same time they were dismantling the public transportation system they were funding a private system that was buying buses and hiring drivers, all on special contracts that commit those buses to only serve private schools. So they knew how important having your own system was, and they made sure it happened for the children that they considered important.
    • Spring Valley HS has been closed due to environmental hazards. The district has attempted to place students elsewhere, but the majority are back to remote learning. The number of students who actually participate, and the quality of that participation is unclear. Why the district did not discover the mold earlier is not known.  This is another instance in which the school board’s actions have directly harmed children’s education. The district has been overcrowded ever since the board sold Colton and Hillcrest Elementary schools. Again, Dr. Oustacher said they should not sell the schools, because future needs are hard to predict. No, he didn’t have a crystal ball, it was just common sense for anyone whose main concern is the operation of the public school system for the good of the public school students. However, our school board has its own agenda, which is not the mission of the district, it is the benefit of their own private school system. 
    • Hundreds of affected parents have attempted to get answers at their schools, at the administration building, and finally at school board meetings. The school board has authorized use of force to prevent parents from entering meetings, resulting in the police being called to prevent school security from harming parents. The school board continues to use tactics to discourage and harass parents from participating in board meetings, including onerous sign in requirements, “losing” speaker cards, and calling the police for no good reason. Rather than an opportunity for dialogue, the board has turned their meetings into a confrontation, using gaslighting tactics to provoke emotional reactions and ultimately discourage parent and community participation.
    • The board created a subcommittee to appoint a community advisory board as required by law, but then overruled their subcommittee to remove Luis Nivelo, Latino Community Activist and public school parent. Mr. Nivelo would have been the only Latino male on the advisory board, he was recommended by the subcommittee. His replacement is highly problematic for a school district where 65% of the students are Latino, and zero percent of the school board is Latino. 
    • The state education department (NYSED) has a constitutional obligation to ensure every child’s right to an education. The first children they abandoned were the ones in private religious schools where not even the most basic education is provided. Many public school advocates also turned a blind eye. However, it is the nature of universal human rights that if they are not ensured for any-one then they are lost for every-one. Tens of thousands of children have already suffered irreparable harm. If not NYSED, who will act? If not now, when? 


Call to Action! NY Must Intervene in East Ramapo!

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. NYSED asks for Comptroller Audit of East Ramapo
2. NYCLU calls for State Intervention
3. Message from Trustee Anderson

1) NYSED asks for Comptroller Audit of East Ramapo

According to The Journal News, state monitors say the district is as much as $30 million in the red and will not be able to meet payroll expenses for the year.

This apparently caught the monitors by surprise, and was only uncovered by the recently hired interim superintendent.

The monitors are now calling for the state Comptroller to immediately examine the district’s finances.

2) NYCLU calls for State Intervention

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is calling on NYSED and Gov. Cuomo to “truly intervene” in East Ramapo.

They call for the state to “remove anyone who failed to meet their educational obligations to students.”

They have developed an online petition.


The executive director of NYCLU, and the president of the Spring Valley NAACP, have written a joint op-ed for the Journal News, calling out the school board for enacting “21st-century Jim Crow education” in East Ramapo. 

Will NY State continue to ignore the plight of the children in East Ramapo? It’s up to US to demand action! SIGN AND SHARE TODAY!

3) Message from Trustee Anderson

This is just a reminder to all to please tune in on YouTube to the ER School Board Meeting on Tuesday at 7:30pm.  I didn’t win a seat on the board, but I did well for Wesley Hills with 759 votes.  My not winning will not stop my advocacy for the public school children of ER.

The children of ER need all of our support more than ever.  ER is in a severe financial crisis!  Dr. Giamartino discovered the problem after using his skill set to examine the books.  Dr. G only has been in the position since September 2020.  He inherited the mess!  The situation is so dire that there isn’t enough money to pay teachers to June.  Cuts to layoff 30 teachers have been proposed.  Constant voting down school budgets, mishandling of finances, hiring of high price attorneys, not settling voting rights lawsuit and bad decision making are some of the causes that have placed the district in this crisis.  A campaign is being launched by NYCLU for community members to write SED Commissioner Rosa, Governor Cuomo, and leaders of the Assembly and Senate requesting immediate State invention.

Please listen in on YouTube to how the board is addressing the problem?  Dr. G has the skill set to solve the problem so let us support him.  Please listen in to how he would like to solve the problem.




Call for Candidates

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Call for Candidates
2. Potential Polling Place Changes
3. Ward System Update

1) Call for Candidates

The school board and budget vote will take place on May 15. Strong East Ramapo will be working hard to get the vote out to pass the budget. Power of Ten will work to identify and assist candidates for the school board positions.

There are certainly many people in East Ramapo who are qualified to serve on the board. 

The Center for Public Education says an effective school board member should:

    • 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 represent the diversity of the community
    • have the commitment to do what is right for all children, even in the face of opposition

Does this sound like someone you know? Or maybe you might be interested yourself?

Those interested in being a candidate please contact

A public forum will be held in the first week of February for the public to meet the potential candidates.

2) Potential Polling Place Changes

Three years ago, Monitor Walcott recommended that an independent election monitor oversee the election process, including designating new polling places. This did not happen. Last year, two new polling places were proposed by the District Clerk, both of which were located in areas where most children are sent to yeshivas.This was not received well by advocates for more resources for public education. Over the past 3 months, a committee led by the District Clerk has been discussing possible changes. The committee included some poll workers, the NYSED monitor, some opponents of increased resources for public education, and some education advocates, including myself. 

Location of polling places can influence voter turnout. Factors which affect turnout include confusion when the school polling place is different from the November polling place, distance to the poll, and finding parking. These may be reasons that voters in the Clarkstown and Haverstraw sections of the district have the lowest turnout.

I provided the committee with a plan to balance the polls from the very first meeting. 

This plan added polls in Haverstraw and Clarkstown, and moved the main location for Spring Valley voters (who support more resources for public education at a higher rate than any other voters in Rockland) to St. Josephs, which is where they vote in November elections, and also the Hillcrest Firehouse, which is where most Hillcrest voters (also strong public school advocates) vote in the November elections. 

Both the Haverstraw and the St. Joseph’s locations were left out of the plans which were sent to the board. St. Joseph’s was not included in any of the three final options because a concern was raised about Orthodox Jews who may have a religious objection. However, NY State Election Law Section 11-300 allows for voting at an alternative location when  “It is against my religious scruples to vote at a polling place located in a premises used for religious purposes.” This option would only apply to a very few people, if any, based on the areas which would be assigned to the St. Joseph’s poll. 

The final decision is with the board. They could include none, some, or all of the polls which are most likely to be used by supporters of public education. It has been shown that they will listen to public opinion, sometimes.

The next board meeting is Tuesday. Please come and express your preference.

When: Tuesday, January 23 at 7:30 PM

Where: 105 South Madison Avenue, Spring Valley

3) Ward System Update

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) with Latham & Watkins LLP, on behalf of the Spring Valley Branch of the NAACP and other plaintiffs, has filed a law suit in federal court challenging the at-large method of electing members of the East Ramapo Central School District Board of Education. The suit claims the at-large system unlawfully denies black and Latino citizens in the District an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.

Under this system, board members are elected by all the voters of the school district rather than voters from individual geographic areas. This allows the majority community—which is white, lives close together, and tends to vote as a political bloc favoring private school education—to control eight of the board’s nine seats. Communities of color, who tend to vote as a bloc for candidates favoring investment in public schools, have not seen their candidates of choice win a contested seat since 2007.

Judge Cathy Seibel of the Southern District of New York is presiding. NYCLU-Latham has requested a preliminary injunction to postpone the scheduled May 2018 board election until after the Court rules on the law suit. The District is opposing the preliminary injunction motion. The Court has scheduled the preliminary injunction hearing (which is similar to a trial) to begin on April 12th. Thus, we expect to know if the Judge intends to halt the election and implement a new voting system in the District before the May 15th elections take place.


Education or Incarceration?

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Strong East Ramapo Event Jan 14
2. MLK Day Event at Ramapo High School
3. Statement of Support
4. Education or Incarceration

1) Strong East Ramapo Event

Strong East Ramapo is hosting a a fun event where people can learn about the ward system, meet others, and helped bring about change. Power of Ten will be there too, and we will be asking if anyone is interested in volunteering for this year’s campaign to elect public school supporters to East Ramapo’s school board in May.

When: Sunday, Jan. 14th, 6 pm
Where: The Hillcrest Fire House, 371 North Main St. (Route 45), in Spring Valley.

There will be a free dinner, so please RSVP to by January 7.

2) MLK Day Event at Ramapo High School

The Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center will hold its annual celebration of the life of Dr. King on Monday, January 15th at 3:00 PM at Ramapo High School. As always there will be fantastic entertainment, food, and exciting speakers. The event is free. 

3) Statement of Support

Strong East Ramapo is asking you to sign their statement of support for the ward system in East Ramapo. Please go to and add your name.

4) Education or Incarceration?

In our struggle to improve the quality of education in East Ramapo schools, it has often been said that a failure to educate will result in a need to incarcerate.  This was actually used as a defense in the trial of one local resident, who served eight years in prison for a crime he says was directly related to being deprived of a quality education.

When he took the stand, his defense lawyer questioned him about how the lack of education had led to his becoming a defendant in this criminal trial:

Lawyer: Let’s talk about you. Specifically, let’s talk about your education. How many years of formal nonreligious education did you take?

Defendant: I — I graduated eighth grade.

Lawyer: What other education in the rabbinical or religious sense have you had?

Defendant: Most of my studies, I went to — I went to — are schools that have English — a Jewish program in the morning and then English program in the afternoon. And then I went to high school, a religious program(…).

The defendant, Sholom Mordechai Rubashkin, currently of Monsey, NY, served eight years of a 27 year term in prison before being released by President Trump.  The cost to society from the failure to educate just this one individual was high.  There are the millions of dollars spent on the trial and the prison.  There was all the harm to the workers and the town and the company he was in charge of.  He was running a meat packing plant.  Accidents at the plant resulted in amputations.  Child labor was common.  The closing of the plant hurt the town and disrupted the supply of kosher meat throughout the whole country.  All of this caused by incompetence due to lack of education.

Thousands of children still languish in schools that don’t educate. The burden on our society is growing. It is only political will that is lacking. How will future generations judge those who sat by and did nothing? Please support, an organization that is working for better education. Together, we can end the yeshiva to prison pipeline.

This is War!

Power of Ten Update
In This Issue:
1. Battle of the Bus Depot Today
2. Declaration of War
3. A Global War on Children’s Education

1) Battle of the Bus Depot Today

Today, August 8, 2017, The East Ramapo school board will meet at 7:30 PM at their headquarters at 105 S. Madison Ave in Spring Valley, with the purpose of laying off bus drivers and selling buses. This is part of their plan to transfer real estate, 45 acres, from public ownership to private hands.

As we have seen with the Hillcrest and Colton school buildings, these “sales” are really land grabs. The school board will be selling, but they themselves are selected by those who will be the buyers. The conditions that create an excuse for the sale are manufactured.

The bus drivers are innocent bystanders. They are just in the way. The same way the children were in the way when schools were taken.

The NY State Education Department is complicit. Both school sales occurred during the tenure of the first “Fiscal Monitor”. The recommendations of the second monitor were ignored with no consequence. The current monitors endorsed a plan to use public dollars to provide extended courtesy busing for yeshivas while public school teachers are still spending money out of their own pockets for school supplies.

As the LifeLock commercial says: “Why monitor a problem if you don’t fix it?

2) Declaration of War

Today’s battle of the bus depot is part of a longer war on our public educational institutions. This became obvious when Aron Wieder appointed Al D’Agostino as the lawyer for the district. Joe Farmer, the Assistant Superintendent at the time, said “This is a declaration of war“.

He went on: “Here is the most unique community in the state of New York …  It’s not fair to destroy the potential of this community … and this community is being taken apart … and just from raw power, selfishness, to take control is not why we are in this business, and these students deserve more, they deserve better.”

3) A Global War on Children’s Education

It’s not only public educational institutions which are under attack in this war. Posters have gone up warning of “crossbreeding Yeshivas” in Israel that teach secular studies including about “other religions like Catholicism and Islam, God forbid.” “The ultra-Orthodox community in the United States will not let that happen under any circumstances.” “The sages already led a war against it.”

Who leads a “war” against Social Studies, Science and Math? Is it dangerous to know what a molecule is? Will learning the meaning of PEMDAS or SOHCAHTOA harm children? Would they be damaged from learning what happened at Harper’s Ferry? 

There is such a thing as right and wrong in the world. It is wrong to deny education to anyone, and it is illegal in NY to deny it to children. Those who would oppose education for their own families, or allow it to happen to their neighbors should not be entrusted with overseeing education of the general public. That applies to the East Ramapo school board and superintendent, and it applies to the NY State Department of Education – Commissioner, Monitors, Regents and all.

Coming to a school board meeting to stand up against laying off school bus drivers may not seem like a big step, but its a lot better than doing nothing. You don’t have to be Malala to make a difference, you just have to do what is there for you each day. Come to a meeting, write a letter, vote, make a donation to YAFFED, even just talking about the problem with your neighbor or co-worker makes a difference. But seriously … see you tonight!!!



50 Years after Selma, Time to March for Civil Rights Again

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:

1. Bus to Albany
2. School Board Election Campaign Event Saturday
3. Protests Continue
4. Call Your Representative
5. Martin Luther King Center Event Sunday

1) Get On This Bus!

On April 28, buses will leave Rockland for Albany, bound to deliver our message of support for the Bill for Oversight for East Ramapo. Fifty years after the march from Selma to Montgomery, students civil right to an education is under attack in East Ramapo. Please join us and our local legislators as we visit Albany to advocate for oversight and change in East Ramapo!

So, take the day off from work. Bring the kids. Bring your neighbors. Bring your friends. If you ever spent a moment asking yourself what you could do that would most help the children to have an opportunity for a better education, THIS IS IT!!!

Sign up right now at


2) School Election Update

The school board election is May 19. You can get involved by coming to an informational event. Learn about the issues and how you can get involved. This campaign period is short. All of us will need to participate and solicit others to help us as well. Please ask your friends and neighbors to join us. We need all of you to help communicate with the voting public so they will be aware of how the school boards fiscal mismanagement is destroying our kids future and our home values. This effort is dedicated to providing the information that every voter need to know.

Date: Saturday April 11, 2015
Time: 2:00 – 4:00pm
Location: Hillcrest Firehouse
300 North Main St, Hillcrest NY
Rear of Building entrance and parking

Please RSVP to if you can come

3) Protests Continue

According to the NYS Fiscal Monitor, the East Ramapo Board “appears to favor the interests of private schools over public schools”. If you do not accept second class status, YOU MUST COME OUT and protest at the school board meetings. Invite your friends! Make a sign! If not now, when? 

The next meeting is scheduled for April 14, at 7:30 PM, the protest will be held at 7:00.

The address is 105 S. Madison Ave, Spring Valley

To receive reminders about meetings or cancellations, text the word POWEROFTEN to 84483 from your mobile phone.

4) Call Your Representative

Both the Assembly and the Senate are not meeting for a few more weeks, so representatives are in their districts for the rest of this week, listening to their constituents.  That means today is the perfect day for you to call your own Assembly Member and/or Senator‘s district office.  (Or to urge the New Yorkers you know to do the same.)
You can call to THANK your representative if he or she has already co-sponsored the bill. That includes Assembly Members Jaffee, Galef, Glick, O’Donnell, Rivera, Solages, Zebrowski, Skoufis, Hooper, Rodriguez, Gottfried, Dinowitz, Paulin, Abinanti, Lavine, Otis, Bichotte, and Senators Carlucci, Krueger, Larkin, Latimer, Savino. 
Otherwise, you can call to URGE your representative to support it.  Here’s what you can say:
Hello!  My name is X, and I am a constituent in your district.  I am calling because I want to urge your office to support [Assembly Bill 5355 / Senate Bill 3821], in favor of state oversight of the East Ramapo School District.  Can I count on your office to support this bill?  I’d love to see the representative’s name as a co-sponsor.
Do not let them tell you that the bill is in the Education Committee and therefore too premature to support.  Many of the names above (like Otis and Savino) are not members of the Committee, nor are from Rockland.  If the offices need more information, they can visit
Send a message to once you’ve called to let us know what happened.
5) Martin Luther King Center Event

The Board of Directors of the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center Inc. is pleased to invite you to its 24nd.Annual Awards Benefit Dinner Dance on Sunday, April 12th, 2015, from 4:00 pm – 9:00pm at the Clubhouse at Patriot Hills, 19 Clubhouse Lane, Stony Point, NY.

Click Here For ticket information and to purchase tickets online.

The Center is experiencing severe financial challenges that are the result of the loss of substantial government funding. Each year we honor a select group of individuals and organizations whose commitment to Rockland County, or to the Center, make them deserving of this tribute. We hope that as we celebrate outstanding Rocklanders, we can continue working together to create a stronger, more inclusive, and non-violent “Beloved Community,” that honors the legacy of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.