School Board Monitors in Lakewood & East Ramapo

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  • #1157026

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    The ER School Board should do the following:

    A) Do not invite the school monitors.

    B) Cancel all open purchase orders for which goods or services haven’t been provided except for Special Ed., lunch program and busing.

    C) Funds saved should be used to fund a legal defense fund protecting the board from the monitor and the state.

    D) Next years school budget 2016-2017 should have a 10% cut on everything except busing, special ed and the lunch program to fund the Board’s legal defense fund.

    They didnt invite the school monitors, the state forced them in. If they refuse the board can be removed from office and thrown in jail along with heavy fines.

    If they spend their money on Legal Defense funds, they can also be removed from office and thrown in jail as they did not provide the legally required education.

    Spending money on Lawyers and not kids will really backfire.

    #1157027

    Joseph
    Participant

    ZD: The ER monitor has no mandate under the law. The board is free to legally ignore him and disinvite him from any participation. Their cooperation is completely voluntarily.

    #1157028

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Once we are on crazy ideas…..

    1: The state should send all East Ramapo children who go to regular public schools outside the district.

    2: They should subtract any school funding provided by the state to pay for out of district costs and busing. All district buildings will be rented out, but held in lien towards those costs.

    3: Let the district figure out how to fund itself without state help.

    #1157029

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    GAW in Lakewood it definitely is a republican mentality.

    Hillary clinton was banned from Lakewood by Rav Shneur Kotler ZT”L 30 years ago already

    If only Lakewood was the same shittos of 35 years ago! Under the leadership of Rabbi Aaron Kotler, Shlitah, Lakewood has become a taker, not a giver (or neutral).

    Ask yourself a simple question: What is the purpose of government?

    1: To get what you can out of it, and figure out how to pay later using other people’s money?

    2: To provide for necessary “commons” which would otherwise not be provided for, paid by all based on their abilities?

    #1157030

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Since the real issue is money and they need the state to bail them out the only solution I see is the following

    Tax increases to the district and state money coming in,

    They will have to give more proportinal representation to those people who attend the district so they have a voice in proportion to their resprensentation of the student body vs district wide population but with a greater need for the money than Yeshivas since Public school is considered a right and not a choice.

    They will need to stop litigating everything and waste taxpayers money on lawyers

    #1157031

    Joseph
    Participant

    And if the voters vote down any tax increase at the ballot box what will happen? Mandated services including busing of private school children cannot be cut. If Yiddish can be cut out of special ed so can Spanish be cancelled out of special ed.

    #1157032

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    ZD – all which would be illegal, especially giving different amounts of representation to different types of people!!

    I like my idea better. The state has the responsibility to provide public schooling. As the district seems unable to do so (due to lack of tax funding and no fault of their own), that responsibility should be taken away from the district.

    #1157034

    Mammele
    Participant

    Who should stop litigating everything? In this great country of ours the “minhag” is if one gets sued they counter-sue. Hence the vicious cycle here. I don’t think we can enforce a no suing the Board of Ed policy for parents of special Ed children that don’t get the placement they want, Preserve Ramapo ” tzaddikim” that don’t fargin the frum anything, or parents of PS children that want drama etc. reinstated.

    #1157035

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Abba,Joseph, please listen to what you’re proposing, all for the sake of courtesy bussing?

    A. I presume that the parents chose the current yeshiva taking into consideration the school’s hashkofos and excellence. Should parents accept second or third best just for courtesy bussing?

    B. Do you want to subject kids to longer bus rides?

    C. You hope that the drivers will be delayed waiting for a school to open. The company is not buying new busses. What will happen is that children on the drivers next route will be forced to stand at their bus stop in cold and or rainy weather for extended periods of time. Is that want you want?

    #1157036

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There is no way if the voters vote down a tax increase is the state going to pay, other districts will do the same thing, they will all vote down their school budgets and make “others” pay.

    The suing is more complicated and I cant really comment on a paragraph or 2 since I am more familiar with how it works than most. I can tell you that its much harder in general to sue the local board of Ed in most suburban Districts than it is in East Ramapo.Try suing in the 5 towns or Teaneck, you are unlikely to win what you get in EP (Or for that matter NYC, which is a bit easier to win) Most Suburban districts would not give you want people want in ER

    #1157037

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I am fairly certain the state can make a tax increase against the voters will, I think it has already happend in other juristictions like Roosevelt

    #1157038

    Joseph
    Participant

    The State cannot impose a local tax increase without the voter’s approval. Didn’t happen in Roosevelt and can’t happen in E. Ramapo or Lakewood.

    #1157039

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    There is no way if the voters vote down a tax increase is the state going to pay, other districts will do the same thing, they will all vote down their school budgets and make “others” pay.

    Other districts will not “do the same”, as they want the best for their children who go to public school (whether they are public school parents or not). It is only in those areas such as Lakewood and East Ramapo (and for some reason not the Five Towns) that the voters just don’t care to fund the public school system, and not even to fund their own complementary busing (as in Lakewood).

    #1157040

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    In the Suburbs property taxes (School Taxes) are voted on regulary, In NJ most of the school budgets were rejected while in NY most are approved. However not all all approved and some when rejected the tax increase occurs anyway.

    Not all districts are as rich as the 5 times. Many are poor like Roosevelt. and they really cant afford things that are mandated.

    Some things are not subject to School tax voting like teacher pay or benefits

    #1157041

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    “Not all districts are as rich as the 5 times.”

    Pun intended? 🙂

    Are you saying that Lakewood wants to get busing from the government even though they can’t afford to fund the government that needs to pay for it?

    #1157042

    Joseph
    Participant

    No, when a tax increase is rejected by the voters it cannot occur anyways unless a revote is held and it is approved the second time by the voters. If it is rejected the second time, then the school budget, by law, must be reduced (from the non-mandated portions like art, pre-k, etc.)

    #1157043

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I am not as Familiar with the laws of NJ vs the Laws of NY. I dont know what is manadated vs what is not and I dont know the Laws in NJ if a Budget is rejected.

    I do know that in NY Busses can be put in Austerity if the budget is rejected and nobody gets busses

    #1157044

    Joseph
    Participant

    Abba, the bus companies and drivers would have been notified in advance that effective Jan. 30 the yeshiva will be opening later and no school officials or adults will be there earlier. Therefore the bus companies and drivers will know long in advance that they cannot drop them off there until the new later time. And they won’t because it is a crime of child endangerment for the driver to leave them unattended, let alone the financial liability for the company.

    LC, if the bus isn’t getting the children from the route for the second yeshiva until an hour after school starts then the district is failing to fulfill its mandate under the law to get the children to school on time. If so, the district will have to reimburse all the second route children to obtain alternate method of transportation, since they by law are mandated to get them to school on time. And the reimbursement will cost them far more than what a contracted bus route costs them. (And the can’t blame the parents or children from the second school for the fact that the first route from another school is opening later. In fact the can’t punish the parents/children from the first route either since the district’s busing mandate is to the parents/children rather than to the school.)

    #1157045

    Abba_S
    Participant

    Joseph: I agree with your concept but I think using yeshiva students as pawns in the war with Public School Supporters is a bad idea.

    As far as removing the School board due to reallocating funds from the classroom to legal defense. In order to remove the board the state must prove criminal intent and misuse of public funds. This is not the case as defending the board even against the state is considered a valid school expense. All it does is force the state to sue the board. The judge may order that the funds be returned to the classroom but will also have the plaintiff post a surety bond guaranteeing payment of legal expenses.

    As far as not suing the school board or State. Federal law mandates that for special education the parent may sue in order to get legally entitled Special Ed. It also states if the parent wins the school board must pay the parent’s legal expenses. Also in East Ramapo it was the Public School Supports that sued the board. If you don’t want these law suits: “Don’t take Federal Funds” . The problem is that this means NY STATE can’t take federal funds for special ed. which will save the federal gov. billions. Where will the state find the funds?

    #1157046

    MRS PLONY
    Participant

    I’m not a property owner, but I’ve heard that property taxes in East Ramapo are ridiculously high already.

    #1157047

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I’m not a property owner, but I’ve heard that property taxes in East Ramapo are ridiculously high already.

    Taxes are high in Most of the NYC Suburbs, not just East Ramapo

    #1157048

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    ZD,

    But they are not the same everywhere. And the poster said ridiculously high, not just high.

    #1157049

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    ZD

    “in Austerity if the budget is rejected and nobody gets busses”

    An austerity budget means that the mandated items, which includes busing, remains in the budget. And services continue to be provided. You are wrong.

    #1157050

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    An austerity budget means that the mandated items, which includes busing, remains in the budget. And services continue to be provided. You are wrong.

    Not taking sides, but what happens when there aren’t enough funds for all mandated services?

    #1157051

    Joseph
    Participant

    what happens when there aren’t enough funds for all mandated services?

    The district needs to borrow or otherwise procure funds from the State or elsewhere (they can only raise taxes after a successful referendum), because by law they cannot neglect legally mandated services.

    In any event, by law they would have to cut out non-mandated services such as art, gym, culture, Pre-K, etc. before they run out of money for mandated services (such as busing). As of yet, there is still millions of dollars a year being spent on non-mandated services, such as the aforementioned examples.

    #1157052

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    GAW

    the state can provide the missing funds or it can impose a tax increase, but there is always room to cut. They can enforce budgetary savings even on madatory services. They only have to provide the services to a state minimun, not what you personally want

    #1157053

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Busing can also be cut, you can increase the distance required to get busing from say 1 mile to 5 miles from the School

    #1157054

    Joseph
    Participant

    In both NY & NJ no one can impose a local property/school tax increase without the voters approving it in a referendum. That’s the law in both States.

    #1157055

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    In both NY & NJ no one can impose a local property/school tax increase without the voters approving it in a referendum. That’s the law in both States.

    In NY they can definatly impose an icrease, althought it not so simple, Its really only for an emergency.

    Basically we are at a stalement, I really dont think the state is going to give the money and a tax increase is also unlikely. There will have to be a deal at some point

    #1157056

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “GAW

    the state can provide the missing funds or it can impose a tax increase, but there is always room to cut. They can enforce budgetary savings even on madatory services. They only have to provide the services to a state minimun, not what you personally want” (sic)

    And yet the “Activists” insist that the school board provide what they want, much more than the state mandates (which by definition, means the minimums, look it up)

    #1157057

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “Busing can also be cut, you can increase the distance required to get busing from say 1 mile to 5 miles from the School “

    Where did you get this minimums from. You can’t just make up statements and claim that it is the law.

    The actual law is as follows:

    “Section 3635 of the Education Law requires all non-city districts to provide transportation for pupils enrolled in kindergarten through grades 8 who live more than two miles from the school they attend and for pupils enrolled in grades 9-12 who live more than three miles from the school they attend”

    “Say 5 miles” is of course incorrect.

    Besides, a referendum was passed many years ago requiring provision of busing to all students in Ramapo. So until there is a new referendum, busing must be provided to all students in the district, regardless of the distance.

    #1157058

    lesschumras
    Participant

    What is the minimum distance for mandatory bussing in ER?

    #1157059

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    The Referendum can be overturned if there is an austerity Budget to the state law mandatory.

    So Please tell us, What is your solution to the budgetory shortfall. The State is unlikley to give you the money without severe conditions if at all

    #1157060

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    ZD,

    I can’t respond to your comment, it makes no sense. Perhaps you can attempt to rewrite it so that it can be understood.

    #1157061

    Joseph
    Participant

    The NYS legislature almost passed special legislation last year granting millions of dollars to the East Ramapo School District. It was torpedoed by public school advocates who said better no money if there is no monitor with veto power.

    #1157062

    Abba_S
    Participant

    In order for the school monitor to be granted veto power over the board it requires a bill to be passed by both the NY State Assembly & Senate and signed by the Governor. Last year it was stalled in the senate and the current Senate Majority Leader feels the bill is Anti Semitic so even if it passes the Assembly it is not going to be put to a vote in the senate and will not become law.

    As far as not inviting the monitor to school board meetings all that it means is that instead of sitting on the dias with the board members they are seated with the general public. As far as reallocating funds from the classroom to the legal defense fund, this would only be a tit for tat to annoy the public school supporters and no criminal action would be taken against the board.

    As far as I know there is no state law as to teacher student ratio so in theory you could have 100 students per class and still be providing mandatory education. If every class had 100 student besides special ed., there would be surplus school buildings which can be sold. Just another crazy idea.

    As far as eliminating or changing the distance a student has to reside in order to be entitled to school busing this would require a new law and affect the whole state. If the school monitor’s veto bill can’t be passed why do you think this bill which will effect students in every district in the state will?

    A new school district budget must be drafted in both Lakewood And East Ramapo for the new school year 2016-2017 now and voted by the public by May. Will they allocate funds for the board’s legal defense? Will there be an increase? In Lakewood they need another $9.5 million in the current year due to mismanagement by the school monitor. Who knows what he has planned for the next school year?

    #1157063

    charliehall
    Participant

    “In both NY & NJ no one can impose a local property/school tax increase without the voters approving it in a referendum. That’s the law in both States.”

    That is not true. Bloomberg got the City Council to raise property taxes in NYC at least twice and there was no referendum.

    Interestingly, though, despite the lack of provisions for a referendum, NYC property tax rates are FAR lower than those in the suburbs.

    #1157064

    charliehall
    Participant

    “no money if there is no monitor with veto power.”

    The person who pays the piper gets to pick the tunes.

    We should remember this as we lobby for more government funding for yeshivot.

    #1157065

    Joseph
    Participant

    NYC has different laws than the rest of NYS regarding property/school taxation. Very different. My comment pertained to NYS law outside NYC, and it is correctly stated.

    #1157066

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Thanks everyone.

    As one of the big complaints is the out of district special ed costs, why not set up an arbitration panel to handle all requests. One member from the Five Towns district (which would be Yeraim, but get along with neighbors), one from East Ramapo, and one being the monitor. Each side would have to fully discuss, and then document the decision. This would help the argument against the state that special ed children should be placed in expensive Yeshivos.

    Also, the district should cap payment to the Yeshivos at what they would otherwise pay internally, for example by obtaining figures from surrounding districts. That would counter the argument that paying external Yeshivos waste funds.

    These are all bandaids, though. Until the private school community agrees to increase taxes to pay for increases in services to themselves (because they think taxes go to public schools, but the increases needed are due to the private school sector), nothing will be solved.

    #1157067

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Even in the Suburbs they are allowed to increase School Taxes without a vote because sometimes things come up that have to be paid for whether the votes like it or not(Like increases in Teacher pay and benefits which are union negotiated and cannot just be cut because there is no money and you cant fire tenured teachers)

    For those who have difficulty with the english language, The state Mandatory for busing is 2 miles and 3 miles. However the district voted to give everyone busing even if they lived closer. In an Austerity budget the state mandates would remain, however those who lived in the areas not under the mandates would lose their busing in order to pay for other mandates.

    Since we all agree there is a shortfall. You need to come up with a solution how to close the shortfall. You can either raise revenue or cut spending. If there is no spending to be cut you have to raise revenue from either raising taxes on the district or a state infusion of funds. The state infusion of funds is not likely to occur unless there is a monitor.

    #1157068

    Joseph
    Participant

    ZD: No, they cannot increase local property/school taxes in NYS (outside NYC) or in NJ unless it is approved by voter’s in a referendum.

    Also, if courtesy busing is taken away from private school (i.e. Yeshiva) students, then courtesy busing will also be taken away from public school students. Non-mandatory busing for public school students living more than 2-3 miles (or whatever the mileage) from the public school is also a courtesy and also can be lost.

    And, you should note, that a much larger percentage of public school students receive non-mandatory courtesy busing than the percentage of private/yeshiva students who receive courtesy busing. This is because public school students, as a result of school zoning, are much more likely to live close to their school than private school students, who can choose any private school and most of the time (by far) it is further away and thus mandatory.

    Think about that last point. The public school parents will be in an uproar once they lose courtesy busing and almost half of the public school parents will have to newly arrange themselves to get their children to public school and back home.

    And the Lakewood monitor, when threatening to end courtesy busing, includes ending courtesy busing for public schools in his proposal.

    #1157069

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    In most districts if you dont want to send your special ed kid to public school you have to hire a lawyer and fight and they usually fight back (NYC even hires high priced lawyers for Rich Manhattanites who think their special Ed kid needs a $75,000 school). But generally the people who fight for teh bored of Ed are Hostile to yeshiva idea. So while you can win, its harder. in East Ramapo, they did not fight and just gave the parents whatever they wanted which costed more money.

    #1157070

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    I think whether it adds to the cost is disputed.

    #1157071

    Joseph
    Participant

    In the past 12 months Mayor de Blasio has radically changed NYC’s approach to special ed and they now generally do not fight against parents request for private placement. And any Board of Ed in the suburbs has the right to decide how hard, or how not hard, they will legally challenge parents request. If they wish to be more accommodating, like de Blasio has now made NYC, it is certainly within the local BOE’s right to be so accommodating to special ed parents. Especially insofar as not putting up a legal fight against the parents.

    #1157072

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Under Mayor Bloomberg an order came down to dispute every Special Ed case so the parents would eventually give in to the public school system because it saved the city money as many parents would eventually just surrender and even if the city lost and Arbitor would just order less money to the private school in question

    #1157073

    Abba_S
    Participant

    Could someone explain to me if the East Ramapo School Budget in 2010 was $187 million and there were no tax increases. Why was the current school budget voted and approved in May 2015 $218 million? Also by NY state law the budget can’t be increased by more than 2% per year without a special referendum.

    AS you can see the taxpayers have exceeded the cap in the last 5 years. Now as far as cutting busing this is a very small percentage of the budget. But if you cut it will effect a greater percentage of public school students and if they miss enough days they have to repeat the year. Likewise, every day a student is absent from school the prorated amount is deducted from the school budget. So if the district is getting $18,000 per student and the school year is 180 days, each school day is worth $100.00 per student. If your forcing the parent to bring the student some times they just can’t which will result in higher absenteeism and costing the district $100 per student per day.

    #1157074

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Its not true the DiBlasio stopped fighting people seeking special Ed placement. He only said he was going to , but in actuallity they are still fighting

    #1157075

    Joseph
    Participant

    In actuality NYC has become very accommodating and is agreeing to place children where the parents want a very whole lot more than in the past.

    #1157076

    Abba_S
    Participant

    Many people fault the board for not fighting the special ed. parents who want private placement for their child. The reason the board doesn’t is because they don’t think it’s cost effective. Public school special ed cost between $30K – 35K while private placement cost between $60K-$75K. It cost $15K – $30K to fight the parent and if the board loses it must pay the parent’s legal expense. So in order, to fight private placement, It will cost the board $45K if they win $30K for the public school special ed and $15K. If the board loses it cost $90K $60K for private placement and $15K for both their legal expenses and the parents. Please note that these law suits will have to be fought every year until the student ages out at 22 or the parent gives up.

    The Board’s philosophy is to design a public school special ed program that the frum community would want to use. This way you have the saving of the public school special ed without the legal expense. The board has been successful in convincing parent to use the program. The problem is that the public school supporters want the program to be integrated with the rest of the public school which the frum parent don’t want. Which is a change which the parent can appeal to a judge and until the case is resolved they can’t integrate especially since it’s going to be a class action suit for private placement.

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