Thursday, August 13, 2015
The state education commissioner is stepping into the bitter battle over control of an unusual New York school district.
Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has scheduled an announcement for Thursday afternoon involving the East Ramapo district in Rockland County.
The district has a board dominated by Orthodox Jews who don't use the public schools. Most public school pupils are black or Hispanic.
Many parents have complained that the board shortchanges the public schools while supporting Jewish yeshivas.
The board blames state funding.
A report commissioned by the Education Department concluded last year that the board favored Jewish schools. It called for a state monitor who could veto the board's actions.
The state Legislature, however, failed to pass a bill that would have installed a powerful monitor.
East Ramapo has been in crisis for years, with public school parents at odds with a school board controlled by Hasidic and other Orthodox Jews who send their children to private schools, The Journal News reported. Last fall, state fiscal monitor Hank Greenberg issued a scathing report citing fiscal mismanagement and governance problems, and called for long-term oversight of the district, the Journal said.
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