Tuesday, May 11, 2010

East Ramapo residents voting with their pocketbooks, while others voting for education 

East Ramapo school district residents voted their pocketbooks today against a property tax increase, while others supported the $198 million budget to maintain educational programs for their children's future.

The budget being voted on today would raise taxes 10 percent, if the district doesn't get $10 million in state and federal aid.

The spending plan also includes significant cuts such as the loss of more than 100 full-time staff members and the closure of the Hillcrest Elementary School.

Both sides handed out leaflets or little cards pressing their positions and targeting their prospective voters outside polling places. There are 10 polling places across the county's largest and most diverse school district of 8,000 public school students and 17,000 private school students.

Three school board seats were up — with one contested race between public school parent Antonio Luciano and Moses Friedman, whose children who attended private religious school. Susan Young-Mercer and Stephen Price were running unopposed on the ballot.

Outside the Lime Kiln Elementary School in Wesley Hills and Ramapo High School, Orthodox Jewish men handed out cards in English and Hebrew urging their voters to oppose the budget and a separate proposition earmarking $700,000 for 10 school buses.

Orthodox Jews choose to pay for private school education for their children, but still pay taxes for public schools.


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