School Board Monitors in Lakewood & East Ramapo

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  • #1157130

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    nishtdayngesheft – You probably remember better than I do.

    #1157131

    Abba_S
    Participant

    The problem is NJ is broke and will not increase aid to the district and even though the STATE Monitor agreed to provide courtesy busing if the yeshivas agreed to a staggering starting and ending schedule, midyear since he didn’t get the projected saving he is cancelling the deal. If he didn’t get the projected saving in this case why do you think that co-ed busing will save the district money, especially if the yeshivas get together to insure that their the boy and girl yeshivas and public schools don’t start at the same time requiring separate buses.

    As Far as a moratorium on Special Education, the problem is the board is time bound so if the public school district does respond to a request for special ed the district forfeits it’s right to fight the private placement.

    #1157132

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Abba – I don’t know how placement works in Lakewood or East Ramapo (BH). My suggestion was to audit the process, and hold all placement until that is done; I don’t know if that is legal or feasible. However, the forensic accounting of each school that accepts any tuition from the district is bound to save quite s few dollars (and uncover quite a bit in possible savings).

    #1157133

    Abba_S
    Participant

    Private placement is governed by federal law unless there are more stringent state laws, so unless these laws are changed no moratorium can be made.

    As far as auditing the process, the way the system works is that every year the board allocates funding for each special ed. student both public and private in the district and funds are allocated to pay for the service. In order for the private provider to be paid he must submit a bill on a monthly or quarterly basis depending on the contract. The bill must include supporting documentation showing that the child received the service plus payroll documentation for the teaching staff which is then reviewed by the Board of Education, by at least two of their staff prior to payment. Every year the Board of Education of every district in the state, in both NY & NJ are audited by their Attorney General’s office. Prior audits for example, found that students that were suppose to be receiving one teacher and one paraprofessional per student had the same teacher for two students at the same time, this type of error has since been corrected by tightening internal controls. I also assume that the Attorney General’s auditors also compares payroll documentation with actual tax returns to insure the teacher actually received payment, which is why they can’t find any criminal action. These types of errors have been found in both public & private school paper work. Forensic Auditing is needed when you missing documentation and are tracing the money which is not the case in this situation. As part of the audit the auditor makes recommendation as to efficiency so if there was saving to be gained they would have reported it.

    #1157134

    Abba_S
    Participant

    In Bloomingberg NY where the Satmars are building a community and the county denied many Hasidim the right to vote in the last election. A Federal lawsuit was brought and Sullivan County agreed to pay over $550,000, plus all voter information and ballots must be provided in Yiddish and the county will be under a Federal Monitor for the next five years. The Monitor not the election board decides who can or can’t vote during that period.

    #1157135

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    In Bloomingberg NY where the Satmars are building a community and the county denied many Hasidim the right to vote in the last election. A Federal lawsuit was brought and Sullivan County agreed to pay over $550,000, plus all voter information and ballots must be provided in Yiddish and the county will be under a Federal Monitor for the next five years. The Monitor not the election board decides who can or can’t vote during that period.

    Amazing.

    #1157136

    Abba_S
    Participant

    This is the first year that the school monitor runs the board of education. He wanted a 7% increase he got it. He wanted savings from the yeshivas for courtesy busing he got that also. He even got a million dollars from Lakewood but he can’t balance the budget. Two months ago the deficit was $6.2 million and a referendum was planed to fund it. Last month the deficit was $9.5 million. This week it’s $12.4 million. When the board was in charge they would balance the budget by cutting public school expenses so at least the budget was balanced. The monitor thinks he can count on the taxpayer to bail him out. Neither the state nor local taxpayer want to increase the budget so unless he cuts the public school budget by 10% I don’t see how he will fund this deficit.

    The public school parents are just realizing that courtesy busing will stop in less then 3 weeks and they will have to bring their children to school. At a meeting last week many complained that they have to get to work and can’t do it. Lakewood Township said they have no plans as to how these additional children are going to make it to school. This is an accident waiting to happen. There are many busy intersection without traffic lights and in many places there are no sidewalks. The school district is paid based on the number of students attending public school each day. If enough students miss school it can cause the district million in lost aid. What will the deficit be at the end of the school year?

    #1157137

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Public school education is a right in this country, courtesy busing is not. Again people here think the public school will suffer but the courtesy busing and the sending of special ed students to more expensive options on the tax payer dime to avoid public school will continue. It will not. In the US basically you are expected to pay for public school education whether you use it or not. Older people without kids in public schools are supposed to pay taxes for it. Choosing not to benefit from public schools is not an excuse not to pay.

    Since the state will not bail out either disctict at some point taxes will likley have to be raised. It is unavoidable

    #1157138

    Mammele
    Participant

    Gavra: I know you copy pasted but just to set the record straight the Satmars are NOT building the Bloomingburg community – Shalom Lamm (MO, not Chasidish) is building it and marketed it to Satmar. He’s mostly behind all the counter lawsuits, but IIRC this case was fought pro-Bono, not sure though.) He invested millions and has a lot at stake in its success. The local community is fighting the development tooth and nail and he’s fighting back accordingly.

    As for the voting fiasco the board cancelled all Chasidish votes claiming they didn’t live locally. (Which may have been true to some extent but they cancelled ALL Chasidish votes, not doing due diligence.). Denying votes for discriminatory reasons is a major offense in the US. So they got a monitor, compensation etc., but in Lakewood there are no illegalities claimed, just lack of funds to cover everything.

    #1157139

    Joseph
    Participant

    ZD: Americans are more tolerant of failing public schools than of raising taxes. By law local property/school taxes cannot be raised without voter approval. By state law there is no way to shove higher local taxes down voters throughts without their consent. Even if that means the public schools are cut back to the bare legal necessities mandated and all public school electives that aren’t mandated by law are eliminated.

    #1157140

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Joseph, as will courtesy bussing and private placement.I may be wrong, but in NY , technically taxes can be forced on district. If two budgets are voted down, a bare bones austerity budget is enacted, along with whatever tax increase necessary to fund it. I don’t know about NJ

    #1157141

    Joseph
    Participant

    LC: With the loss of courtesy bussing, almost 50% of the public school students, including those add young as five years old, will be walking through dangerous streets to school as they no longer have bus transportation.

    Last week the Hispanic parents held a protest against the loss of courtesy bussing now that they realized, whoops, it isn’t just the Jews who are losing courtesy bussing. And their working hours preclude being able to walk with their children to school and back.

    And, no, in both NY and NJ the tax increase cannot happen if the voters voted it down. No matter how many times.

    #1157142

    Abba_S
    Participant

    Current law in both NY & NJ is no increase in property tax of greater than 2% and if a district wants more than a 2% increase a referendum is required. The county can institute a lower cap rate if they want to.

    If the budget is voted down in NJ by the public the monitor may decide to set a budget increase below the budget cap of 2% in NJ, assuming the county doesn’t have a lower cap and then he doesn’t need voter approval. In NJ in order to reduce the election expenses if a school budget increase approved by the board of education is less than 2%, no election is required an it is automatically approved. A less than 2% will give the district at most another $2 million which wouldn’t solve the problem and that’s assuming the board or the public doesn’t challenge the budget increase in court.

    #1157143

    Abba_S
    Participant

    In Bloomingburg NY while Shalom Lamm is the builder and the front man the Satmars are the ones financing and the power behind him. Do you really think he would attempted this project unless Satmar was backing him to the hilt.

    The point being made is just as over there the Sullivan County agreed to a monitor in NJ if it’s found that the state took over the district merely to deny Jewish students school busing they may also be subject to a monitor. The key thing is what was the monitors intent. Does he really believe that poor hardworking public school parents will take off time from their work to take their children to school. Or that public school students as young as 5 years old will have to walk less than 2 miles each way to school, no matter what the weather is, through busy intersections without traffic lights or crossing guards and in some places not even sidewalks. The district is paid based on the number of students who attend each school day. Lower attendance means less state aid, which in turn increases the deficit.

    You say the election board members didn’t do due diligence what about the school monitor? Does the monitor have the student’s best interest in mind when he wants them walking through dangerous intersection without traffic lights or even crossing guards? What will the deficit be at the end of the school year? The way things are going the deficit maybe $25 million because it keeps on doubling.

    #1157144

    Abba_S
    Participant

    The courtesy school busing is the subject of both a court case and a meeting between the town and the State Education Department.

    Hopefully, the matter can be resolved before 2/26 when it is scheduled to be cancelled. If it is cancelled the state maybe liable for anyone hurt in accidents going to and from school.

    Cutting courtesy busing will not solve the problem. The problem is that every year the yeshiva student population by between 1-2 thousand, in a few years it will be 2-3 thousand or more. Hank Greenberg the previous East Ramapo School Monitor mentioned this when he said the current yeshiva student population will double within ten years. This applies to both East Ramapo & Lakewood but not the 5 towns as real estate is more expensive in the 5 towns and fewer Jews are moving there as compared to Monsey & Lakewood so student growth is not growing so fast. Mandated services will not be able to be provided at the same level without additional state funding as state law in both NY & NJ limit real estate taxes increases to under 2% per year.

    #1157145

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Abba. First, how is the state liable when by definition, courtesy bussing is not mandated?

    Second, you write these long winded reperive commentaries that only apply to Lakewood’s courtesy bussing. Why should other NJ taxpayers pay so yeshiva kids can keep courtesy bussing ( and Joseph, please don’t reply with your false concern for the public school kids).

    No one cares about Lakewood’s problems. Your solution is to raise your taxes instead of expecting other taxpayers tofoot your bill.

    Or, you could move to another town that doesn’t have these issues

    #1157146

    Joseph
    Participant

    LC: The concerns for public school children’s hazardous bussing is not false. 1,500 public school parents, mostly Hispanic, turned out for a meeting last week to decry and protest the elimination of courtesy bussing, which over 40% of public school children in Lakewood are receiving. Walking two miles is dangerous for little kids on busy highway-like streets with no sidewalks, and their parents are working and cannot come with them.

    #1157147

    Joseph
    Participant

    And New Jersey’s courts have previously ruled that under NJ law, if public school children receive courtesy bussing then private school children are required to be afforded the same service.

    #1157148

    Joseph
    Participant

    The APP reported within the past hour that the Lakewood State monitor looks like he’s going to back down and agree to keep courtesy bussing for substantially less from the township after voters smartly rejected a recurring $6.5M annual tax increase.

    #1157149

    Abba_S
    Participant

    The state is going to be liable if someone gets hurt because it’s the state’s monitor that is the responsible for this dangerous situation. Also the state has the assets to pay unlike the board which is running a $12.4 million deficit this year. Also it can be argued that the state is short changing the district when it comes to mandated services which is why the the funding formula should be changed.

    As far as this only being a problem in Lakewood/Monsey, this will be a problem anywhere large number of Jews move to. In a few years there too the number of yeshiva students will exceed the number of public school students, taxing the public school’s budget to provide services to both public & private school students. Young couples can’t afford housing in NYC and are forced to move to Lakewood or Monsey if they want a frum community.

    The reason the state is going to have to contribute more is because their monitor caused the deficit. They were appointed to fix the budget and instead of balancing the budget they are running the highest deficit the board ever had.

    #1157150

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Joseph, if not for the yeshiva kids, the u wouldn’t e en know, let alone care, about the public school kids.

    Abba, w by atever deficit is run up, don’t expect any funding for courtesy bussing! Classes and programs for the kids. Ones before courtesy bussing.

    #1157151

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Some dont seem to understand politics , you have to compromise and give to get. If you demand government money, it will come at a cost. They are not giving you the money for free

    #1157152

    Joseph
    Participant

    The government is getting the money from the people; it isn’t the government’s money, it is the taxpayer’s money.

    #1157153

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    The government is getting the money from the people; it isn’t the government’s money, it is the taxpayer’s money.

    When East Ramapo takes in more in government aid than it pays in Taxes, its not their money

    #1157154

    Joseph
    Participant

    Residents of East Ramapo and Lakewood, both, pay more in State and local taxes than they receive in aid.

    #1157155

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Where do either of you get your information from?

    #1157156

    Joseph
    Participant

    Common sense. The private school community is paying millions and millions in property taxes for public schools and not utilizing them. It is obvious, without needing to be an Einstein, that the private school community is paying much more in taxes than receiving in aid.

    #1157157

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    In NYS, NYC is the engine that drives the rest of the State.

    #1157158

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    So pure conjecture on both of your parts, without any numbers.

    #1157159

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Its not conjecture. In fact Wall Street Workers are about 8% of the workers in NYS and pay about 20% of the total taxes. NYC also has alot of other really high paid workers in other industries like Advertising , Corporate lawyers and other really high paying jobs, not available in the Suburbs

    #1157160

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    But you don’t know how much money comes out of East Ramapo (or its private school community) in taxes, or how much state money it receives.

    #1157161

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    School aid by district 2013

    New York City New York City $2,147,483,647 $2,147,483,647 2.8% $175,983,384 2.5%

    Erie Buffalo $633,606,117 $639,067,570 0.9% $11,064,509 2.2%

    Monroe Rochester $457,469,958 $481,160,846 5.2% $14,337,538 3.3%

    Onondaga Syracuse $271,660,828 $279,212,747 2.8% $7,321,605 2.9%

    Westchester Yonkers $213,107,131 $222,627,312 4.5% $9,223,850 4.5%

    Suffolk Brentwood $204,776,290 $216,802,554 5.9% $8,891,849 4.6%

    Orange Newburgh $122,734,540 $123,690,047 0.8% $3,368,600 3.1%

    Suffolk William Floyd $106,972,516 $107,210,733 0.2% $1,646,213 1.8%

    Suffolk Sachem $107,385,914 $105,380,122 -1.9% $9,938 0.0%

    Oneida Utica $101,308,520 $103,942,023 2.6% $4,272,610 4.8%

    Schenectady Schenectady $94,311,869 $98,201,754 4.1% $4,056,979 4.7%

    Nassau Hempstead $92,142,241 $94,725,696 2.8% $2,418,875 2.7%

    Niagara Niagara Falls $89,430,177 $91,933,042 2.8% $2,448,874 3.0%

    Suffolk Central Islip $81,277,723 $89,914,350 10.6% $8,775,171 11.6%

    Chemung Elmira $77,227,749 $79,870,407 3.4% $2,737,339 4.3%

    Suffolk Longwood $76,285,520 $77,054,806 1.0% $468,441 0.7%

    Albany Albany $76,830,409 $77,016,057 0.2% $666,580 1.0%

    Suffolk Middle Country $73,354,042 $76,020,488 3.6% $2,579,407 3.8%

    Monroe Greece $74,671,091 $75,289,356 0.8% $673,787 1.1%

    Westchester Mount Vernon $69,334,184 $72,745,120 4.9% $4,072,037 6.4%

    Orange Middletown $67,115,929 $69,148,361 3.0% $418,816 0.7%

    Oneida Rome $62,892,384 $63,428,823 0.9% $522,367 1.0%

    Broome Binghamton $51,738,646 $58,593,856 13.2% $1,988,205 4.3%

    Suffolk Patchogue-Medf $56,995,459 $58,190,504 2.1% $1,295,275 2.7%

    Onondaga North Syracuse $57,111,747 $57,662,323 1.0% $1,637,084 3.4%

    Dutchess Poughkeepsie $53,630,185 $55,507,318 3.5% $736,542 1.4%

    Nassau Freeport $52,650,570 $55,155,737 4.8% $2,400,557 4.9%

    Rockland East Ramapo $52,818,910 $53,942,961 2.1% $806,788 1.6%

    Chautauqua Jamestown $56,224,411 $53,527,024 -4.8% $1,766,640 3.9%

    Nassau Levittown $47,945,164 $52,468,502 9.4% $1,233,087 2.8%

    #1157162

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Without table formatting, I can’t tell what it says.

    Whatever the numbers in aid, you need to show taxes paid for it to have any meaningful, and you need to break it down by amounts paid and received by the private school community.

    #1157163

    Joseph
    Participant

    The private school community received a tiny fraction as a percent of that aid yet pays a high amount of property taxes funding the schools. Most of that aid, by far, goes to the public school community. So, indeed, the non-public school community receives far less than they pay. So the little aid (as a percent) that the private school community does receive, is far less than they pay in taxes. And they’re entirely in the right to defend the little they get.

    #1157164

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Private schools are not supposed to receive direct aid. only indirect aid for things like Bus service and textbooks and some disabilith services

    #1157165

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Okay, so I googled those numbers, and what it’s saying is that E. Ramapo received over $50 million in aid. On its own, that number doesn’t tell us anything.

    #1157166

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    I would have given the Link which was easier to read, but I didnt think it would have been allowed

    #1157167

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    First you said: When East Ramapo takes in more in government aid than it pays in Taxes, its not their money.

    Now, you’re saying that they’re not supposed to benefit from the money they pay, regardless of how much?

    #1157168

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    DY

    Yes it says East Ramapo received about $50 Million in aid which is about what other districts go. They should get similar amounts to what other districts of the same size receive. I have no problem with East Ramapo getting similar amounts to what other similar sized districts get. They should not get more that what other similar sized districts get.

    #1157169

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    Is that relevant to what we were discussing?

    #1157170

    Joseph
    Participant

    No.

    #1157171

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “Its not conjecture. In fact Wall Street Workers are about 8% of the workers in NYS and pay about 20% of the total taxes. NYC also has alot of other really high paid workers in other industries like Advertising , Corporate lawyers and other really high paying jobs, not available in the Suburbs”

    But many of those working on Wall Street and NYC lawyers do not let live in NYC even while working there. A good number of the private school parents in ERCSD do just that. A much greater percentage, in fact, than the public school community.

    #1157172

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “Yes it says East Ramapo received about $50 Million in aid which is about what other districts go. They should get similar amounts to what other districts of the same size receive. I have no problem with East Ramapo getting similar amounts to what other similar sized districts get. They should not get more that what other similar sized districts get.”

    Similar sized districts, only if you exclude the non public school students. Ignoring the fact that they too are required to receive mandated services.

    You blather is factually and mathematically incorrect.

    #1157173

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “Private schools are not supposed to receive direct aid. only indirect aid for things like Bus service and textbooks and some disabilith services”

    You will notice that Joseph said private school COMMUNITY notprivate schools. The schools in fact on receive indirect aid.

    On the other hsnd schools which are contracted by the district to provide mandated services, such as special Ed, even to students from families who are not part of the public school community, are paid for the services they provide. That is not government aid, that is fee for service. A very big difference.

    #1157174

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “School aid by district 2013”

    This table says nothing. Every district that receives state aid, and every one does, is getting in excess of the school taxes collected in the district. The amount they are allowed to collect must be clued hat they are receiving in state aid. The state aid comes out of income tax. You think that the state income taxes collected from residents of ERSCD is less than 52,00,0000?

    Where did you come up with that fantasy from?

    #1157175

    Abba_S
    Participant

    ERSCD transports more students than any other district in the state except NYC. The district isn’t compensated for this service which is a major part of the problem. Some say cut courtesy busing will solve the problem.

    In Lakewood NJ the state tried that and 2,000 public school parents protested because there is no way to safely get the students to school.

    NJ thought that if they ran the district they could solve the budgetary problems. In the first year, they have run up a $12.4 million deficit and alienated everyone. I am not sure what their exit strategy is. The state is going to have to increase aid for the near future.

    #1157176

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    There are basically only 4 real exit strategies

    1) Raise taxes , however the majority of the people who do not use public school are against this and it will only happen if forced

    2) Government bailout , could happen, but unlikely as there are other districts throughout the state that have budget issues and they would expect a bailout too. It would set a bad precedent from a state level. There are districts for example that most of the homeowners are either seasonal people (Like the Hamptons) or people without kids like eldery and they could say, we dont want to pay, state bail us out

    3) District merging . Merge East Ramapo with a neighboring district , this would work for a while, except the neighboring districts would likely reject as they would be afraid of being outnumbered and out voted and it would become another East Ramapo and the larger district would have the same issues over again.

    4) Cut most private school spending, Public vs Private school spending is not equal in the public eyes. People on the greater level do not equate money spent for private schools vs money spend for public schools even if the public school spending isnt mandatory. People would more support a football team or AP classes for the public schools than busing to yeshivas. That is just the way it is, its not only the law its the culture of the society. Private school spending will get cut first. The monitor and the state will demand it before any bailout. People feel private schools are a choice and there is no reason for taxpayers (On the state level) to pay for it

    #1157177

    ☕ DaasYochid ☕
    Participant

    The money going to private schools is mandated. If they’re going to change the law, they might as well just fix the flawed funding formula.

    It’s illegal to raise taxes more than a certain amount, so they can’t force a tax increase, again, unless they change the law.

    #1157178

    Joseph
    Participant

    1) Can’t be forced. Won’t happen.

    2) Most likely scenario to occur. Because if it doesn’t happen you’ll have tens of thousands of black and Hispanic public school children in failed public schools whose funding has been cut to there legal bare minimum. State politicians will be afraid.

    3) Very unlikely as the neighboring districts won’t agree to it.

    4) Won’t happen because it would require new laws in legislative changes. Their is no public will by elected politicians to take away benefits from school children, even private ones. Especially considering their parents are a strong and influential voting bloc.

    #1157179

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Cut most private school spending,

    In the Five Towns, there is an emergency election to replace the former speaker of the Senate (Skelos?). If he is replaced by a Democrat (likely), the chamber will turn over to Democrat, and Legislative changes become extremely likely.

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