Wednesday, January 13, 2016

East Ramapo puts plan for lobbyist on hold 

The East Ramapo School Board put on hold a controversial decision Tuesday about rehiring a powerful Albany lobbying firm that helped defeat an initial plan for a state monitor to oversee the troubled district.

Parents spoke both for and against a plan to spend $42,000 to rehire Patricia Lynch Associates, the lobbying firm that worked to convince state lawmakers not to approve a proposal from Rockland lawmakers to appoint a monitor with veto power over the school board.

A proposal for a monitor passed the state assembly but languished in the senate in the final days of the last legislative session.

Many parents said that the perpetually cash-strapped district should focus on spending money on education, not lobbyists.

"This $42,000 should be spent on books, and pencils and rulers," Luis Nivelo told the board. "We need this money to go to the right place."

But others said the board needs to make sure Albany understands the needs of East Ramapo, a district where approximately 24,000 of  the 32,000 students attend private schools, mostly yeshivas, which get public funds for some services, including transportation and special education.

A monitor appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized the Board of Education, which is dominated by Orthodox and Hasidic men whose children attend private schools, for mismanagement and favoring the needs of students who attend yeshivas over the needs of public school students.

Resident Eli Weiner spoke in favor of rehiring the lobbyist to represent the district's interests.

"Most of our politicians have turned a blind eye toward us," he told the board, referring to support from Rockland lawmakers in Albany for a monitor.

"The district doesn't have money to spend on students, so how does it have money to spend on lobbyists to fight a second exhaustive study by the State Education Department?" asked Andrew Mandel, who leads the public school advocacy group Strong East Ramapo.  "If Pat Lynch does not teach kindergarten, she should not be hired by East Ramapo."


Comments: Post a Comment

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

Chaptzem! Blog