Fiscal Monitor Gives His Report

Assembly Members Jaffee and Zebrowski, along with Education Chair Nolan, meet with students from East Ramapo who are delivering a petition with over 6,000 signatures asking for state intervention.

Power of Ten Update

In This Issue:
1. Fiscal Monitor Gives His Report
2. Latino Parents Protest Grows
3. Hillcrest Elementary is Sold
4. Local Peace Awards to be Presented at Winter Solstice Concert
5. New Alumni Group Forms

1) Fiscal Monitor Gives His Report

This week the fiscal monitor appointed at the request of Governor Cuomo gave his report. For Power of Ten readers, it was familiar material. From fiscal mismanagement to favoritism to lack of transparency, we have been bringing you the story with documentation, and corroboration from major media for years. But the Governor wanted another pair of eyes to verify. Mr. Greenberg provided a brilliant summary, and there was a lot of media coverage!

Videos of the presentation:

Full presentation: Presentation of Hank Greenberg to the NYS Board of Regents

Excerpt: Regent Rosa’s Comments: she says she was presented with evidence that public funds were spent on religious texts. If that would be considered illegal anywhere else, why not in East Ramapo?

Excerpt: Regent Finn’s Comments: “the people who relegated my ancestors to those Jim Crow schools didn’t want to give up on it, because they had no respect for people being people, and I smell that here.”

National and International Media Coverage:

The New York Times: East Ramapo School Board Is Criticized by New York State Monitor

The Wall Street Journal: State Monitor Says East Ramapo Schools Mismanaged

WNYC: Report Finds “Absymal” Fiscal Management in East Ramapo

The Huffington Post: Racism in East Ramapo, New York: It’s Time to March

The Journal News:

State calls for East Ramapo watchdog

East Ramapo: Board quiet on report calling for watchdog

East Ramapo monitor invokes Brown v Board of Ed

East Ramapo monitor’s report: Diversity training

Crafting East Ramapo ‘watchdog’ bill no easy feat

Editorial: East Ramapo monitor’s report a call to action

The recommendations of the report represent a step back from where the Board of Regents and Commissioner King had been for the last couple of years. The Legislative Agenda for the Board of Regents last year included a bill with this language: “Upon a determination by the Board of Regents that governance problems are a substantial factor in a district’s chronic underperformance, allowing the Regents to appoint a three-member Education Oversight Board with all the powers and duties of the board of education. Such a finding would result in the removal of the board of education and, upon recommendation of the Oversight Board, the superintendent as well. An education oversight board would report directly to the Commissioner and the Board.”

The monitor’s report does seem to indicate that  governance problems are a substantial factor in East Ramapo’s chronic underperformance. It is up to our elected officials to review the report and recommendations, and to pass legislation that will align the state’s power’s with its responsibilities. It is NY State which is ultimately responsible for ensuring education for all children, and the state which decides which system of governance will ensure that it meets those responsibilities. If it does not, you can count on parents to never, ever let it go.

2) Latino Parents Protest Grows

There have now been six protests since Dr. Klein singled out Latino immigrants. Each time the numbers have grown. They have stood in the rain; they have held protests even when the board cancelled the meeting (twice!). PLEASE come to the next protest and join them!

Photos of the Nov 18 protest and meeting

Next Protests: December 2 and 9 at 7:00 PM (immediately preceding board meetings) at 105 S. Madison Ave in Spring Valley, NY

3) Hillcrest Elementary is Sold

It has been almost four years since I first wrote to Attorney General Schneiderman about the false instrument used in the sale of Hillcrest Elementary.  To date, only one person, the appraiser Avi Vardi, has been charged.  He received his sentence for filing a false instrument in July, 2014. However, during this period of time, the same school has been sold again to the same seller, with no action from Schneiderman’s office. There is a summary of the alleged scheme on the Preserve Ramapo website, based on the initial charges filed by Attorney General Schneiderman against the appraiser. This alleged scheme included actions of public officials, acting under color of law, defrauding the public and causing irreparable harm to thousands of schoolchildren. I cannot imagine any fraud case which should have a higher priority. The Attorney General says the investigation is “ongoing”, but in the meanwhile it would appear that the activity being investigated may also be “ongoing”!
4) Local Peace Awards to be Presented at Winter Solstice Concert
This year’s recipient’s are Kim Cross and Herb Kurz. Congratulations to them both! Last years honorees (Myself and my wife Emilia) will be back this year as part of the concert!
5) New Alumni group forms
There is a new group of alumni and allies that is sending informational updates and enabling online action. You can join them here: