East Ramapo Central School District

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East Ramapo Central School District
Type and location
Type Public
Grades Pre-Kindergarten to 12
Country USA
Location 105 South Madison Avenue, Spring Valley, (Rockland County) New York 10977
District information
Superintendent Dr. Joel Klein
Schools 13
Students and staff
Students 8,118 (2011-2010 school year)
Other information
Website www.eram.k12.ny.us

East Ramapo Central School District is a school district headquartered in the Senator Eugene Levy Dr. Jack R. Anderson Education Center in the Town of Ramapo, New York, United States.[1] The district serves areas of eastern Town of Ramapo, including Chestnut Ridge, New Hempstead, New Square, Spring Valley, and a portion of Airmont. The district also serves the hamlets of Hillcrest and Monsey, as well as the Village of Pomona which straddles the borders of Town of Ramapo and Town of Haverstraw.

History[edit]

In 1997, of the 18,000 children transported by the district, 10,500 were students of yeshiva private schools. Joseph Berger of The New York Times said in an article written during that year that this involved "a proportion of public school money to bus private school students that few American towns can match."[2]

During that year 9,500 of the children within the district were private school students from the Village of New Square, Village of Kaser, and the community of Monsey. A 1997 The New York Times article stated that some East Ramapo school district parents said that the high proportion of private school parents to public school parents could threaten the district. Harvey Katz, an Orthodox Jew who served as a school board member, said that "Just because my children are not in the public schools doesn't mean I don't care about all the children. Children are our future, wherever they may be."

During that year the district was one of five districts in New York State where more students were enrolled in private school than in public school due to religious reasons.[3]

In 2005 the Orthodox Jewish population of the district received majority control of the school board. This new board began reducing the budget and lowering taxes. The communities using the public schools have opposed these actions.[4]

In a 2007 magazine article Dr. Mitchell Schwartz, the superintendent of the district, said that growing Hasidic yeshivas resulted in private school enrollment within the district increasing by a 3 to 4 percent increment per year.[5]

By 2010 services due to reduced budgets and lowered taxes, the district's finances had decreased and services were reduced at the schools, forcing students to take five and six year graduation plans instead of four year plans.[6]

During the year 2011 an article titled "Regions Aging Schools Crumble as Finances Falter" by Cathey O'Donnell and Gary Stern, was featured in a local newspaper, The Journal News, which is well known throughout the Lower Hudson Valley of Westchester County, New York. The article was about several old school buildings within the region that were in a current state of disrepair, how much it would cost to fix them and which if any might need to be demolished. One of the school districts mentioned was East Ramapo.[7]

The New York State Education Department ("SED") has directed [the] District to post the following letter of non-compliance (Archive), sent to the District by SED on December 19, 2012.[8]

In March 2013 the Associated Press reported that there is much tension in that school district, because the local school board is accused of favoring private schools at the expense of public schools.[9]

In April 2014, the group Rockland Clergy for Social Justice, which includes clerics from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim groups, asked Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo to intervene in the district.[10]

Demographics[edit]

As of 2013 over 50% of the students are on free lunch or reduced lunch programs. Students from immigrant families make up much of the student body. Benjamin Wallace-Wells of New York wrote that "There are now only a handful of white students" attending district schools.[6] The Orthodox Jewish children living in the district boundary almost all go to private yeshiva schools instead.[6]

Board of Trustees (For the 2012-2013 school year)[edit]

  • Daniel Schwartz (Resigned)
  • Yehuda Weissmandl
  • Moses Friedman
  • Jacob J. Lefkowitz
  • Moshe Hopstein
  • Stephen Price (Resigned)
  • Yonah Rothman
  • Eliyahu Solomon
  • Suzanne Young-Mercer (Resigned)

Schools[edit]

All of the schools are in the Town of Ramapo. Some schools are also located within other municipalities.

Elementary schools[edit]

(4-6)

  • Eldorado Elementary School (Chestnut Ridge)
  • Elmwood Elementary School (Monsey)
  • Kakiat Elementary School (Spring Valley) (Formerly Ramapo Freshman Center)
  • Lime Kiln Elementary School (Wesley Hills)

(K-3)

  • Fleetwood Elementary School (Chestnut Ridge)
  • Grandview Elementary School (Monsey)
  • Margetts Elementary School (Chestnut Ridge)
  • Summit Park Elementary School (New City)

(K-6)

  • Hempstead Elementary School (New Hempstead)

(Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten)

  • Early Childhood Center (Spring Valley)

Middle schools[edit]

(7-8)

  • Chestnut Ridge Middle School (Chestnut Ridge)
  • Pomona Middle School (Suffern)

High schools[edit]

Former schools[edit]

  • Merrill L. Colton Elementary School (New Hempstead)
  • Hillcrest Elementary School (New City)

In July 2010 the School Board of the East Ramapo Central School District voted to sell its Hillcrest Elementary School—closed due to budget cuts—to the Hasidic Jewish Congregation Yeshiva Avir Yakov of New Square.[11] In an official response to an investigation of the sale, New York State Education Commissioner David Steiner stated the East Ramapo board “abused its discretion by hastily approving the sale.” The 12 acre campus, assessed at $10.2 million (market value) by the Assessor’s Office of Clarkstown was given only a $3.2 million appraisal by the school board's own attorney, Albert D’Agostino.[12] On June 8, 2011 the commissioner of the NY State Education Department halted the sale of the building stating the board failed its fiduciary responsibility to the district when it approved the $3.2 million deal.[citation needed]

In July, the new state Education Commissioner John King put a hold on the district's sale of Colton Elementary to Congregation Bais Malka/Hebrew Academy for Special Children with similar questions over the appraisal and bidding process as dogged the blocked sale of the Hillcrest school.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "SENTER.jpg." East Ramapo Central School District. Retrieved on April 7, 2011.
  2. ^ Berger, Joseph. "Growing Pains for a Rural Hasidic Enclave." The New York Times. January 13, 1997.
  3. ^ Weinstock, Cheryl Platzman. "Easy City Access In a Ramapos Setting." [sic] The New York Times. March 2, 1997. 2.
  4. ^ Wallace-Wells, Benjamin. "Them and Them." New York magazine. April 21, 2013. p. 1-2. Retrieved on April 23, 2014. "Meria Petit-Bois registered for classes at Ramapo High School in April 2010,[...]"(Page 1)"It had been five years since the Orthodox majority had won ­control of the school board."(Page 2)
  5. ^ Zeliger, Robert. "Culture clash." Rockland Magazine. August 31, 2007.
  6. ^ a b c Wallace-Wells, Benjamin. "Them and Them." New York magazine. April 21, 2013. p. 2. Retrieved on April 23, 2014. "There are now only a handful of white students in the public schools, and more than half the children there receive reduced-fee lunches. “A lot of them are from immigrant families, and they’re looking for that better life,” says Fields. “And I don’t know if it’s going to happen.” Many of the refugees are lingering on five- and six-year paths to graduation."
  7. ^ "Region's aging schools crumble as finances falter." The Journal News. November 13, 2011. Retrieved on April 23, 2014. "In East Ramapo, it's not clear how officials can pay for $34 million in repairs outlined by inspectors. The district, operating on a contingency budget, has cut almost 400 employees since 2008 despite growing enrollment." (p. 3)
  8. ^ see "NYSED Letter of Non-Compliance" (Archive). February 13, 2013 - article on the District's website (www.eram.k12.ny.us) - ERCSD Response (Archive)
  9. ^ Fitzgerald, Jim. "Barbs of racism, anti-Semitism in NY school clash." Associated Press. March 21, 2013. Retrieved on April 23, 2014.
  10. ^ Nicosia, Mareesa. "New clergy group asks Cuomo to fix East Ramapo schools." The Journal News. August 8, 2014. Retrieved on April 23, 2014.
  11. ^ http://www.lohud.com/article/20100729/NEWS03/7290394/District-OKs-sale-of-Hillcrest-Elementary July 29, 2010.
  12. ^ Taylor, Alex (June 8, 2011). "State blocks East Ramapo's sale of Hillcrest school". The Journal News. 

External links[edit]