“East Ramapo district officials are being told to revise their proposed spending plan for the 2017-18 school year after the state education department discovered the budget would provide busing for private school students on days when public schools are closed.
Although the proposed $231 million budget approved on Wednesday by the school board includes an additional five days of transportation for private school students when district schools are off, state Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia said the budget materials she reviewed and approved two days prior indicated no such increase.
On Friday afternoon, Elia rescinded her approval of the budget, told the district to remove the item and resubmit the documents by April 28. Under the state law, the commissioner is required to review each school district’s proposed budget and present her findings no later than 30 days prior to the annual school budget vote.
“Clearly, given the parameters of the law and the district’s ongoing fiscal situation, I could not and would not have approved a budget that included an additional five days of non-mandated transportation for nonpublic school students,” Elia wrote.
Over the last two years, Superintendent Deborah Wortham has “made commitments to the nonpublic school community” to find a way to partially restore the days, according to Weissmandl. Offering it for five days would cost $135,000, he said.”
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