“Public-school parents in East Ramapo are urging voters to cast “no” ballots next week during the annual school budget referendum because they believe the $232.6 million spending plan favors private-school students.
The district plans to spend $1.4 million to fully restore busing to private schools when public ones are closed, but parents believe the school board should use that money to bring back other programs, activities and services that have been cut from public schools over the years. On Monday evening, the board held its public hearing on the budget, which drew almost 75 people to weigh in.
Kathy Tolf read a statement prepared by her employer, David Lipman, a lifelong district resident and 1939 graduate of Spring Valley High School, who told the board he believes they have “failed miserably” in the task of ensuring the education of all children in East Ramapo.
“This budget will fail, foundering on the shoals of non-mandated busing. Perhaps your next budget in June will be realistic and have input from both sides of the affected population,” he wrote.
Alexandra Manigo, a public school parent running for school board next week, called on the community to vote down the budget “as a way to demand better from the school board.”
“I do not come to this opinion lightly. My son is in kindergarten. Do I worry about the state of the schools? Of course. That is why I am running for school board. Do I think this board should do better with a second version of the budget, put to voters in June, as the law allows? Yes, again,” Manigo said.
The proposed budget calls for $232.6 million in spending, with $152 million to be raised through taxes — a 2.49 percent increase from this year. The tax-levy increase will require approval by 60 percent of voters since state law requires districts proposing budgets with levies above the cap to obtain a super-majority.”
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