Public safety codes are routinely ignored inside Rockland County’s non-public schools and little is being done to curb the problem, a **News 12** investigation has found. Rockland’s fire coordinator Gordon Wren says local religious schools have failed to meet fire codes, which he calls “ticking time bombs.” “Most of these codes have dead bodies behind them,” Wren told News 12. He says the fire codes are ignored by dozens of private schools. News 12 spent the past four months investigating the safety of Rockland’s private schools. Many fire safety records were outdated, incomplete or missing and some school officials refuse to comply with the law. News 12 investigative reporter Tara Rosenblum confronts the code violators and finds out who should be enforcing the rules. You can read the reports and access the video coverage played over two days in December here.
Would a ward system where school-board members are elected from specific neighborhoods benefit the East Ramapo district? Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, suggested Thursday that he may consider legislation that would switch the school board’s elections from a town-wide vote to a district-by-district vote. Doing so would better ensure that the various communities within the large district are represented on the board, he said. “Perhaps we should go to a district or a ward-type system, where you give all the communities in that school district the ability to elect a representative,” Zebrowski said on The Capitol Pressroom, a public radio show. That’s another way we could go. Read the complete Journal News story here.
Global Credit Research – 21 Dec 2015 New York, December 21, 2015 — Summary Rating Rationale
Moody’s Investors Service has affirmed the Baa2 rating of East Ramapo Central School District, NY’s $10.9 million in outstanding general obligation debt secured by an unlimited tax pledge. The outlook remains negative.
The Baa2 rating reflects ongoing weakness in the district’s financial position, despite recent improvement. Given its limited liquidity, the district is a regular issuer of cash flow notes to fund operations. The rating also incorporates the district’s substantial tax base, average wealth levels, and minimal debt burden with rapid amortization of principal. [Read more…]
By Yochonon Donn on Hamodia.com
Efforts to impose a state override on an Orthodox- majority school district has anti-Semitic overtones and we’re not doing it, the leader of the New York State Senate told an Agudath Israel of America gathering.
John Flanagan, the upper chamber’s majority leader, said at the Lawrence event Thursday night that installing a veto-empowered monitor at the East Ramapo school board was both unconstitutional and unprecedented in the state. [Read more…]
Robert I. Rhodes Community View in The Journal News
Re “‘Opportunity Deferred’: 19 reforms for E. Ramapo,” Dec. 14 article:
The East Ramapo school board needs a monitor with veto power to protect it from its own constituency. For years, the school board did everything possible to hold down taxes and provide its own Hasidic community with universal busing and appropriate education for its special education students while it told its constituents that any complaints coming from the public school community were unfair and motivated by anti-Semitism.
This message had no real costs for the religious community until national media got involved, clergy organized and went to Albany to complain and the lawsuit of public school parents against the school board progressed to the point where it has become a real threat.
Finally there was also the realization that the deferred maintenance on school buildings could no longer be ignored but a $40 million bond for school maintenance proposed by the board could not survive withering criticism.
Until now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has sat on his hands knowing that while the monitor bill might pass in the Democratic New York Assembly his Republican allies in the Senate would kill the bill.
It will be interesting to see if New York State’s large and growing Hasidic community will allow a real monitor bill to pass in the Senate. In the meantime let us hope that our East Ramapo school board will work to get us out of the hole it created. We must all work together to save our schools.
The writer is chairman of Preserve Ramapo.
“The state Public Service Commission on Thursday directed Suez, formerly known as United Water New York, to abandon the controversial Haverstraw desalination project. The commission also approved Suez’s plan to avoid the need to draw water from the Hudson River by improving conservation, controlling leaks and finding alternative water sources. [Read more…]
“Neighbors of the Manny Weldler town park have taken Ramapo to court for planning to sell what they believe is a portion of the park to a developer. Town Attorney Michael Klein, however, says the 5.64 acres of land at 24 Grosser Lane has never been part of the park, even though paved walkways on the property are connected to the park. “We’ve had the piece of land that’s been unused for decades,” Klein said. “The town decided to surplus the property and sell it.” The Article 78 filing is pending before state Supreme Court Justice Victor Alfieri. [Read more…]
“No compromise this time: East Ramapo needs a monitor, with veto power.That was the clear message from the special monitor team that’s spent the last five months planted in the East Ramapo school district, sifting through financial information, visiting public-school classrooms, interviewing teachers and studying curriculum. [Read more…]
“A three-person board that has spent five months studying the troubles in the East Ramapo school district on Monday offered 19 reforms in a report titled, “Opportunity Deferred: A Report on the East Ramapo.” The panel, headed by former New York City chancellor Dennis Walcott, presented its findings Monday to the Board of Regents, detailing how the district has been beset with turmoil and poor management. [Read more…]
The convictions of two of the Three Men in a Room by Federal Prosecutor Preet Bharara took less than two weeks. Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos was found guilty last week on all eight counts on which he was charged, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver preceded him on November 30 when he was found guilty of the seven federal corruption charges and expelled from the Assembly. [Read more…]