“A federal judge today (Nov 20, 2019) denied the East Ramapo Central School District’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging how the district elects its school board members.
The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Cathy Seibel sets up a two-week trial in February that could alter how votes in May’s school board elections are tallied.
The lawsuit filed in 2017 by the Spring Valley chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and several black and Latino voters sought a dramatic change in the district’s election process.
Under the current at-large setup, every registered voter in the district can vote for all open seats on the nine-member board. The NAACP wants a switch to a geographically-based, ward system, which they say would increase the number of minorities on the board.
“We’re very delighted with the decision,” said Willie Trotman, the president of the Spring Valley chapter.
Three member seats come up for election in May.
Seibel will decide the case herself after a bench trial slated to start Feb. 10 in U.S. District Court in White Plains.
The trial is expected to feature a showdown of experts from both sides as well as testimony from school board members and district superintendent Deborah Wortham.
The NAACP’s experts have concluded that if the district were to turn to a ward system minority voters would make up a majority of the voting age population in four of the nine districts. Currently, three of the board’s members are black.”
Read the complete Journal News story here.