Board says it should be able to defend claims it runs district poorly
“A judge will decide next month if the East Ramapo Board of Education will be allowed to intervene in a lawsuit filed by parents that claims the state has failed to bring oversight to the troubled Rockland County school district.
The school board, in an April 5 motion, asserted that it has a right to defend itself against claims that it deprived children of receiving an education and that it believes the plaintiffs are merely in pursuit of “a political regime change in East Ramapo.”
Ten days later, parents fired back with a motion opposing the request, saying the board has no business inserting itself into proceedings because the lawsuit targets the New York State Board of Regents and State Education Department for not taking action “to remedy the board’s failure” with running the district.
The petition was filed in January by David Curry, Luis Nivelo and Romel Alvarez, who are being represented pro bono by Brad Elias of O’Melveny & Meyers, as well as David Sciarra and Wendy Lecker of the Education Law Center, an advocacy group.
Lecker said the board’s desire to involve itself with the lawsuit was only going to hurt students further.
“We are dismayed that East Ramapo’s board of education would waste even more money on high price lawyers in this baseless attempt to intervene in this case,” she said.
Oscar Cohen, education chairman of the Spring Valley branch of the NAACP, said the district was within its rights to file that motion, but within the context of the big picture he believes it shows a pattern.
“The lawsuit is to try and restore services to children and they’re spending the children’s money to pay for lawyers to fight restoring services for children,” he said. The NAACP is not part of the legal action.”
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