School Board Monitors in Lakewood & East Ramapo

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  • #1157180

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    #2 is what the people of East Ramapo want to happen and think thats what will happen

    They dont seem to realize it will come at a cost, It might even come at a cost of a combination of #1 and #2. Like they have to raise taxes $1 for every $1 in government aid. It might come at the cost of loss of control of school board (I think this happend in Roosevelt) . And like I said , If East Ramapo gets a bailout , others will want one too costing the state more money so its not as easy as they want. Its very unlikely due to politics of the entire state that #2 will occur unconditionally

    #1157181

    Joseph
    Participant

    The Republicans are likely to retain Skeolos’ vacated Long Island seat. But in any event the outcome of that special election doesn’t change control of the State Senate either way as Simcha Felder and the five member Independent Caucus are allied with the Republican majority.

    #1157182

    lesschumras
    Participant

    There is an option that is obvious that perhaps someone can explain why it hasn’t been mentioned.

    Is the two mile requirement for mandatory bussing written in stone? If the minimum distance for mandatory bussing is reduced to, say, half a mile, then funding becomes mandatory ( it’s hard to argue that a child needs to be bussed less than a half a mile )

    #1157183

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    The Republicans are likely to retain Skeolos’ vacated Long Island seat.

    Curious why you say that. The Democrats are running the Assembly person for that district, while the Republicans are running an unknown. On what are you basing your assumptions?

    #1157184

    Joseph
    Participant

    It’s a strongly Republican district.

    #1157185

    Abba_S
    Participant

    As long as there is no school monitor with veto power over the board, the board can cut public school services to balance the budget, and if there is a deficit the district must come up with the money i.e. tax increase. If like in Lakewood where they have a school monitor who overrides the board any deficit is caused by the STATE’s employee and the state should be liable.

    In Lakewood the monitors have antagonized everyone, the Orthodox Jews by vetoing the board and cutting busing, the Taxpayers by asking for an additional $6.2 million referendum on top of a 7% increase at the beginning of the year, Public school parents for threating to cut courtesy busing for their children.

    If the state bails out the district, I don’t see the district ever wanting to be run by the board. Let the monitor make the decisions and let the state foot the bill . This way their taxes don’t go up.

    Even if the senate goes democratic I don’t think they will pass a school monitor bill. They just have to look at Lakewood to see how good it’s working.

    #1157186

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Abba,how does Cutting ( reducing expenses bussing increase the deficit? How, specifically, did the monitor increase the deficit?

    #1157187

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    Joe – so why is the assembly person a Democrat?

    #1157188

    Joseph
    Participant

    I’m not sure how much overlap there is between the Assembly district and the Senate district, but they aren’t the same.

    #1157189

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    As long as there is no school monitor with veto power over the board, the board can cut public school services to balance the budget

    There are things they can cut and things they cant cut. If something is madated by the state like Math, Science, English , GYM (Yes Gym is madated)

    They can cut things like band , and intermural sports which are not mandated.

    What some here dont seem to get is free public school education is not only the laws in the US , it is the custom as well. You cannot eliminate it or make it barebones because you dont use it. Eldery and childless people are required to pay taxes for it even though they dont have kids

    #1157190

    apushatayid
    Participant

    There are, if i am not mistaken, 63 seats in the ny state senate and 150 in the assembly. it is possible to have a heavily democratic assembly district in an overall republican senate district.

    #1157191

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    I’m not sure how much overlap there is between the Assembly district and the Senate district, but they aren’t the same.

    There are, if i am not mistaken, 63 seats in the ny state senate and 150 in the assembly. it is possible to have a heavily democratic assembly district in an overall republican senate district.

    Makes sense. Thanks for the help, and let’s see what happens.

    #1157192

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    What someone seemingly does not get, is that there are services that are mandated even for children of non-public schools, and those cannot be cut.

    Even if there are those who want to do so because the students benefitting are Orthodox Jews.

    Mandated is mandated, regardless which service it is.

    #1157193

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “There are basically only 4 real exit strategies”

    And yet you missed the most logical one and the one that is being advocated for by reasonable people: To correct the funding formula so that the proper state aid is provided to the districts.

    Correct state aid is not a “bail out”.

    #1157194

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “They dont seem to realize it will come at a cost, “

    The costs are already there and there are those who are trying to push unnecessary and costly oversight (See Mr. Azzara’s contract, and that is in spite of his apparent colossal failure) and the costs associated with that without even providing the correct state funding.

    #1157195

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    You can argue with me all you want, but they are not giving you the money for free. There will be a cost. The cost could be loss of board control, It could be a required tax increase for increase in state Aid. It could be mandatory cuts in some of the private school aid. But it will be something and it will be tough love.

    You dont seem to understand the use of the word cost here. The word cost here is not nessasirly about money, its about what they will expect in return in order to give the money.

    It doesnt matter what you think of me, that is the politics of the state. It very well might be some elected officials care about the voting bloc, but others do not . And there are others who would agree to it, if they get a piece of the pie turning off those who might agree to it.

    #1157196

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “Cut most private school spending, Public vs Private school spending is not equal in the public eyes.”

    But in the eyes of the law, there is no difference in mandated services, they are required for all students. (And if the majority in ERCSD are non-public, and they feel that public school education is not necessary at all, following your “logic” it could be entirely eliminated)

    “People on the greater level do not equate money spent for private schools vs money spend for public schools”

    Here you are stating straight out that you believe that the Orthodox (and for that matter, the families that send to catholic schools and other parochial schools as well)are on a lower level. Which I agree is the arrogant attitude of most of the so called “activists” against the ERCSD board.

    “the culture of the society.”

    So much for a “dina dmalchusa dina” radical. Only when it suits you.

    ” People feel private schools are a choice and there is no reason for taxpayers (On the state level) to pay for it “

    The school is a choice, but that does not mean that the mandated services are not for those students as well. Remember, it is not education costs that are being paid for with state money (and do not make the silly mistake of yelling ‘special ed’. The law recognizes this and therefore these are MANDATED.

    You will notice that these services were NEVER found to be in violation of separation clause, because they are clearly not services to the schools, rather they are services to the students, who are all entitled to such services paid for from taxes.

    #1157197

    Abba_S
    Participant

    If you are running a deficit than the board or monitor must cut expenses to reduce the deficit and balance the budget. So for example, if the district has 30 math teachers they can eliminate 15 positions by increasing the class size. Although, math is a mandated subject, class size isn’t. After or while balancing the budget the district can apply for grants to pay to fill those positions so hopefully no one loses their job.

    The state wouldn’t change the funding formula unless they lose a court case. These cases are very expensive so unless there is a need it isn’t worth fighting it. Right now the Orthodox run the board so any under funding is felt by the public schools and they are more interested in getting a monitor. Nobody is interested in getting more funding so that everybody can be satisfied.

    #1157198

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Special ed is mandated, however sending the special ed kids to schools in Kiryat Joel is NOT which costs more money rather than educatating them in Monsey

    The monitor will find these things and make them keep them in Monsey at a lower cost (These costs have been documented). You take the money they will do these things. There might also be places that bill the district at a higher than customary costs and the monitor will eliminate those too.

    There is alot of fat in mandated services and they will be eliminated before the money is given.

    #1157199

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    What is mandated is the most appropriate education.

    There are many frum children in the ERCSD public schools. However, when the ERCSD schools cannot provide the appropriate level of service, then the children are placed elsewhere, some in KJ, but not by any means most.

    You are just quoting the anti Semitic “activists” who keep saying that, but it is not a significant amount of the total costs.

    It is ironic that you are insisting that others do not understand when you are so clearly completely way off base.

    #1157200

    apushatayid
    Participant

    I dont live in Rockland county or Lakewood and do t really understand all the issues in either situation. One thing seems clear though. They don’t belong in the same discussion. The situations based on how they are portrayed here are very different from each other.

    #1157201

    Abba_S
    Participant

    I don’t live in either Monsey or Lakewood but the problem in both cases is a district that is under funded. The state wants non mandated services such as courtesy cut before they will think about additional funds. The board can’t cut busing because that is the one service that ALL parents use and they rely on the public to get elected.

    The ratio in both districts are 3 yeshiva students for every public school student, by the time the state gets it act together the ratio will be 6 or more yeshiva students per public school student. Mandated services will take a larger portion of the district’s budget than it does now and it will cost more to fix the public schools.

    Another problem is if the state monitor cuts busing as was attempted in Lakewood it alienates both public and private school supporters, whose support is needed to pass the districts budget increases. No one has calculated what the town’s cost will be to provide safe passage for the large number of students who will be denied busing. Lakewood was willing to give the school district $2.5 million just so it wouldn’t have to hire school crossing guards and traffic lights.

    #1157202

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Abba

    At least you admitted the political calculus involved here. Which is why I dont think the money is coming any time soon and the district will have to solve the problem on its own.

    #1157203

    Abba_S
    Participant

    In Lakewood where the state monitor is running the board, the state must either provide additional funding to balance this years budget or have the deficit of $12.4 million according to APP, rolled into next years budget. The new budget for next year is due now and it is doubtful if there will be an increase in the portion provided by real estate taxes as they just voted down a 6% increase.

    If cutting bussing is off the table, as Lakewood is contributing $2.5 million as per agreement in the APP, that leaves a $9.9 million deficit to be funded by either cuts to public school services or additional state funding. Since the school year is more than half over and the budget for other than school busing is about $100 million this would require a 20% cut on all public school services to balance the budget which is impossible. Additional State aid is the only option.

    #1157204

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    If Lakewood gets more state aid, then other districts will also want state aid and thats what some dont seem to get. Lakewood will want and get, then Camdem, Newark, Trenton and other districts will also want as well. So for every dollar Lakewood gets, NJ would have to pay out $5 or more.

    And dont say only Lakewood should get, thats not how politics works. The aid will have to be voted on in the state legislature and to get some votes they will have give them too and there are members of the legislature who will not vote for any state aid strictly on principle no matter who asks

    #1157205

    Joseph
    Participant

    ZD: Your record player is broken. No one is asking for more aid, per se. What is being asked for is to change the formula to count all school children in town.

    #1157206

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    You want the laws changed to basically serve one district. We do not live in a dictatorship, the legislator branch needs to change these laws on a consensus vote. Other legislators who live in other districts will want something for their vote. They are not giving you their vote for nothing.

    What are you going to offer a legislator from Utica, NY for his vote on changing the distribution formula for East Ramapo? What are you going to offer a Legislator from Jersey City in order to support changing the formula for Lakewood?

    And before you say how important the Jewish Vote is, there are other consitutancies who are also important and want a different result. The leaders take these things into account. The latino vote is large too and the elected officials want their vote too. This is how it works in our governmental system

    And no they dont care about Lakewood or East Ramapo, they answer to their own consituants not yours

    #1157207

    Joseph
    Participant

    You don’t get it, do you. The extra money is for the Latinos in the public schools in East Ramapo and Lakewood, not for the Jewish children. No extra money, and non-mandatory kindergarten is cancelled. Instead of local Latinos getting half a day kindergarten they get no public school kindergarten since kindergarten is non-mandatory. The Latino kindergarteners will have to stay home with a hired babysitter or the parent taking off from work. Sports, extracurricular activities and other non-mandated public school programs Latinos are using go bye-bye. Public school roofs leaking? Sorry, no money to fix them. Public school class sizes going from 30 to 50 kids per class? Sorry, no money for smaller classes. Courtesy busing is a tiny percentage of the school budget and even cancelling it will not provide enough savings to cover the humongous deficit in the school budget. Private school children being bused going from 25,000 to 35,000 mandatory busing? Hiring new buses since it is mandated by State law to get them to school. Guess that means some more cuts in non-mandatory public school programs.

    Maybe what’ll happen is the public school parents will get so frustrated that they’ll move out of town (i.e. rent basements in other towns) and the public school student body will go down to a small number and the local BOE will save hundreds of millions from having less public school kids.

    #1157208

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Maybe what’ll happen is the public school parents will get so frustrated that they’ll move out of town (i.e. rent basements in other towns) and the public school student body will go down to a small number and the local BOE will save hundreds of millions from having less public school kids.

    This is what many are hoping for. thanks for posting it

    #1157209

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    And you are correct, its Not fair that parents of Private school have to pay while parents of Public school do not, but that is the law

    #1157210

    Joseph
    Participant

    You’re welcome.

    #1157211

    Joseph
    Participant

    It’s also the law that private school children get school books and transportation paid with public finances.

    #1157212

    Mammele
    Participant

    ZD: You seem to have zero faith in Democracy and fairness. I’ll address fairness first.

    The dollar amount given by the state is based mainly on the number of public school kids. It’s a no brainer that the state should take into consideration the number of private school kids when calculating funding. Unlike what you are trying to portray, kids going to private school are actually saving money for the state and township — they’re not the ones draining the pot, except that the pot is too small to begin with.

    Now back to politics: Hopefully some Legislators can simply be swayed by the fairness argument, while other probably rich districts will also gain by including all kids in the calculations for a fair funding formula. (Unless there’s some income test built into the law.)

    Now “pork” is definitely built into many laws, but it’s not always the case (not everybody is corrupt) many vote according to party lines, and it doesn’t have to be wrapped into that same law. Politicians can be very patient, favors and promises are exchanged — so yes one hand washes the other — but it’s not so transparent or immediate. According to your logic virtually no laws can be passed, no bridges can be built etc., as there are always those that benefit less than others who will stop everything in its track. (This frozen state is more applicable to the federal government nowadays.)

    #1157213

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    mamale

    You are correct that private school kids save the district money, however the issue with East Ramapo is Special Ed and regular parents with special ed kids just send them to public school which can educate them cheaper than private schools. In East Ramapo parents dont want their kids in the public school (Except Kiryat Joel) so the district sends them to more expensive private schools in essense cancelling out the savings as special ed costs an insane amount of money.

    Private schools are a hot potato for both parties, the dems because of the teachers unions and many minories who are the base of the party. The GOP generally favors smaller government and lower taxes and therefore would not be open to give them money

    When the marriage law was changed in NY to allow “other” types of marriages. Why do you think the Agudah and others did not fight hard to stop it? They accepted their own “PorK’ and were told if you oppose the changing of the marriage law, you will lose your “Pork” and they had to back down, yes they opposed, but they didnt oppose as loud as they could have

    #1157214

    Joseph
    Participant

    The GOP supports private school vouchers.

    The private school community saves the district hundreds of millions of dollars more per year, from not sending tens of thousands of children to public school every year, than they cost them in the difference in cost between public and private special ed for a hundred children or so.

    And the Agudah openly opposed that marriage law/ruling. They couldn’t stop it regardless of what they did.

    #1157215

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    “however the issue with East Ramapo is Special Ed”

    If you really want to define the real problem the so called activists have, it is that Orthodox jews are benefitting.

    Read the comments and posts. The demand that there be no busing at all. They want no services at all and they do not want the special needs children to receive any services. Not in the public schools and not at other providers.

    The total amount that is paid to KJ is not that great a number. And what is paid to Ohr Vodass is less than what it costs to provide services in the public schools itself.

    All the Board need is a normalization of the formula to capture all students for whom there are mandated services (and it can be weighted by the type of mandated services)

    The only reason to deny such a correction to the formula would purely be based on bias, because logically (a foreign concept in government and elsewhere as well) there is something missing from the formula.

    #1157216

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    Vouchers are illegal in NY because of Blaine amendments in the NY constitution, They wanted to repeal this law and they found it was almost impossible so that the GOP is for vouchers in NY is pointless.

    I said the agudah was against the marriage ruling, but they did not oppose it like they should have, they even met with Christine Quinn on several occasions.

    #1157217

    Joseph
    Participant

    Do you remember what you said from one comment to the next? You said the GOP would not be in favor of supporting private schools. I told you you’re wrong by pointing out that Republicans generally favor school vouchers (nationally – not just in NY) for private schools. Now you’re hocking ah chinik that vouchers are not legal in New York.

    The Agudah opposed the ruling like they should have.

    #1157218

    gavra_at_work
    Participant

    I said the agudah was against the marriage ruling,

    They are. They are just more for school funding than they are against SSM. In all fairness, so was BMG when they endorsed Corzine over Christie.

    #1157219

    Abba_S
    Participant

    In Lakewood I thought the monitor made a deal to have courtesy busing if the town gave the school district $2.5 million. The board approved the deal but the monitor reserved the right to veto it. The board also authorized a lawyer to sue the state if the monitor overruled the deal on busing. With a week to go parents don’t know if they will have to take off work in order to take their children get to school.

    The monitor also need to make a deal with the yeshivas if they want to keep the tiered bus system otherwise school busing will cost twice as much. Lets try to make the deal early not like last year when the deal wasn’t made until August by which time no one was interested in the bus routes and he had to pay top dollar.

    A budget is due by next month, March so that the public can vote on it and get it to the county by May so that they can calculate the real estate taxes for the new year. Otherwise the budget will be the same as last year and the district will have the same or a larger deficit. There is a limit to how high the deficit can go before the district is bankrupt. If the district goes bankrupt the state will probably be liable as they underfunded the district.

    #1157220

    Joseph
    Participant

    The Lakewood Scoop is reporting today that New Jersey has surrendered and the State has agreed to continue courtesy busing. The cancellation had been cancelled.

    #1157221

    Abba_S
    Participant

    Another problem facing the Lakewood school district is Special ED., the supervisor of special ed. was fired because she lied in court cases as per the APP. She accommodated expensive special ed. for those politically connected while denying private placement to those who weren’t She was caught in one of those cases of perjuring herself. This means everyone who was denied private placement is going to fight it this year. At the same time, the district will be trying to cut the very expensive special ed. programs. Since this will have to be fought on a case by case basis both legal expenses and special ed. cost will shoot through the roof.

    Please note the Lakewood Scoop was only talking about a Lakewood township meeting. The NJ State Monitor can still veto the deal and cancel courtesy busing.

    #1157222

    Joseph
    Participant

    The NJ monitor has agreed yesterday that courtesy busing will continue. The APP is now reporting it as well.

    #1157223

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Abba, you never responded to my question. Were there deficits prior to the monitors being appointed in either district?

    With regard to the 5 Towns,why is politics the assumed for a lack of a monitor? Perhaps it’s because there is no deficit, and, after initial fears when the Orthodox took control, the public school parents for the most are satisfied that their children’s interests are being served. None of the local papers have reported any negative news in a long time

    #1157224

    Abba_S
    Participant

    With this monitor you never know, he had a deal in Aug. Last month he lost a referendum and threaten to cancel courtesy busing. The board ratified the deal he made with the town of Lakewood but the monitor threaten to veto it. The board then authorized a lawsuit should he veto it. It is reported that the monitor wouldn’t veto it but he has not made a public pronouncement in this matter.

    They (APP) say the deficit is $12.4 million. If all they are getting is $1 million from Lakewood & the state is only giving $2 million how is the monitor going to balance the Budget? Even if courtesy busing deal is approved by the monitor it will only be effective for the balance of the year until the end of June. Also the over 30,000 students both public and private will have new bus schedules starting 2/29/2016. Is this anyway to run a school district?

    #1157225

    lesschumras
    Participant

    Abba, still no answer and you act like nothing matters but bussing

    #1157226

    zahavasdad
    Participant

    LC

    In the 5 towns, the people have more money and belived more in civic responsibility to the public school system. So they agreed to pay the money needed. That is why there was no issue there

    #1157227

    nishtdayngesheft
    Participant

    In the 5 towns there are many fewer minorities.

    ZD, you really have a very jaundiced way of looking at Jews. For shame. It’s clear you are not makpid on bein odom lchaveiroh.

    With statements like that I’m not sure you are in the position to make such a call

    I am sure it’s not a contradiction.

    #1157228

    Abba_S
    Participant

    Less Chumras

    Yes there was a small deficit of $3-4 million and the monitor who is a paid professional earning over $175,000.00 plus fringe benefits of which there are three.They were supposed to be pay the deficit off with the 7% budget increase plus the $2 million in concession from the yeshivas, $1 million from the town and $2 million from the state. The monitor mismanaged the budget which was the only thing they were hired to fix, as the district only had a budget problem not a funding problem They gave school employees a raise when they didn’t have the money. Now the first year on the job with all of those increases out of a $112 million budget they has a $12.4 million deficit and climbing.

    ZD

    The 5 Towns doesn’t have these same problems because the rate of student growth is much less because housing there is more expensive as is taxes and they control growth through planning better. Student growth is about 3,000 additional yeshiva students each year in both Lakewood & Monsey. I tend to doubt there is more than a few hundred addition yeshiva students each year in the 5 towns. Also, there are probably sidewalks, traffic lights and crossing guards in the 5 towns as opposed to Lakewood & Monsey so there is no need for courtesy busing.

    #1157229

    Abba_S
    Participant

    The Lakewood district’s problem is the state’s funding formula doesn’t take into consideration the yeshiva student, whose services are mandated but unfunded.

    The budget is a plan On how the district plans to spend it’s money for the current year. For the school year 2015-2016 the monitor got a 7% increase far above the 2% increase cap allowed by law. This increase was voted on by the public in Mar-April 2015. It is doubtful the monitor would have got this increase if the deficit was not paid off. By June 2015 the state monitor reneged on a school busing agreement claiming he needed an additional $6.2 million and threating courtesy busing. In August an agreement was made Lakewood would give $1 million, the state would give 2 million and the yeshiva would agree to a tier system saving an additional $2 million. In Nov. the monitor threatened courtesy busing and called for a referendum for another $6.2 million. By late December the deficit was $12.4 million and courtesy busing would be canceled if the referendum wasn’t approved. It was defeated by 99% and letters went out stating courtesy busing would be canceled as of 2/23. In the last week an agreement was made between Lakewood and the monitor that for additional $1.5 million they would have courtesy busing for the rest of the school year. The school board ratified the agreement but the monitor reserved the right to veto it. The board authorized a lawsuit and then all of a sudden it is reported that the monitor agree to extend courtesy busing according to the original agreement made in August 2015.

    Is there a deficit? If so how much? Or is it just a shake down by the state to get more money? Who knows?

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