Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Cuomo recommends fiscal monitor for East Ramapo schools 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling on the state Education Department to install a fiscal monitor for the troubled East Ramapo school district in Rockland County.

Cuomo's office told Gannett's Albany Bureau that the governor will recommend that Albany attorney Hank Greenberg, a former counsel for Cuomo in the Attorney General's Office, be appointed by the Education Department to the role.

Oscar Cohen, a retired school administrator who chairs the education committee of the Spring Valley chapter of the NAACP, said he was pleased to hear that Cuomo would be stepping in.

"That’s what we’ve been asking for," Cohen said. "The district currently is dysfunctional. The governance is dysfunctional. And the children going to the public schools are suffering by massive cuts -- and intervention would be a beginning of transparency and perhaps relief."

In April, religious leaders called on Cuomo to help resolve the district's difficulties. But Cuomo had previously maintained that his role is limited: the state Education Department and the Board of Regents oversee the district.

But Cuomo's intervention would undoubtedly increase pressure on the state Education Department to act. There was no immediate comment from Education Department or the school district.

The district has been criticized for financial mismanagement and budget cuts that have slashed art and music programs, sports and hundreds of teaching positions.

East Ramapo is a unique situation. Its nine-member school board is controlled by white Orthodox Jewish and Hasidic men, and the district includes twice as many private-school students as public-school students.

Most private school students are Orthodox Jews who attend yeshivas, while public school students are mostly black, Latino and Haitian.

In 2011, the Education Department appointed Greenberg as a special investigator to review alleged improprieties involving student assessments.


Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Chaptzem! Blog