Wednesday, March 16, 2016

East Ramapo: Resolution supporting monitor passes Rockland Legislature 

Rockland county legislators voted overwhelmingly to support a monitor with veto power for the East Ramapo school district.

The largely symbolic resolution passed across party lines during the Rockland Legislature's regular meeting Tuesday.

"It shows that all of Rockland cares about East Ramapo," said Antonio Luciano, a longtime advocate for public school students. "Not just East Ramapo parents."

Supporters hope the vote will add power to the argument that the state Legislature should appoint a monitors to the troubled school district.

All 13 legislators voted in favor of the resolution except for four who did not attend the meeting: Ramapo Democrats Aron Wieder, Ilan Schoenberger, Philip Soskin and Alden H. Wolfe.

Wolfe said in a statement he issued Wednesday that he supported the measure but was not at the meeting because of a "medical issue."
Weider, Schoenberger and Soskin represent areas with large Orthodox and Hasidic communities.

People in those communities have argued against a monitor with veto power over the school board, pointing out that the board was elected by a majority.

Reports done by two separate teams of monitors both recommended a monitor with veto power over the board, which the reports said made poor financial decisions.

Behind the scenes: East Ramapo Monitor Dennis Walcott

The Board of Education is dominated by Hasidic and Orthodox men who send their children to private schools. The reports confirmed the claims by public school advocates that the board has favored the needs of private school students over public school students.

A proposal before the last session of the state Legislature to appoint a monitor with veto power passed the Assembly but was stymied in the state Senate.

Rockland legislators have said they will try again during this session.

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