NY Schools Chief Intervenes In East Ramapo School District Run By Orthodox Jews


ersdThe state education commissioner is stepping into the bitter battle over control of an unusual New York school district.

Commissioner MaryEllen Elia has scheduled an announcement for Thursday afternoon involving the East Ramapo district in Rockland County.

The district has a board dominated by Orthodox Jews who don’t use the public schools. Most public school pupils are black or Hispanic.

Many parents have complained that the board shortchanges the public schools while supporting Jewish yeshivas. The board blames state funding.

A report commissioned by the Education Department concluded last year that the board favored Jewish schools. It called for a state monitor who could veto the board’s actions.

The state Legislature, however, failed to pass a bill that would have installed a powerful monitor.



  1. A more accurate report would have been:

    The district has a board comprised of mostly Orthodox Jews, who make up most of the district but who don’t use the public schools.

  2. This is NOT antisemitism, these parents have a very legitimate point. Think about it this way:would you like it if the board of your child’s Yeshiva or school was made up of public school parents who don’t understand the system, and who don’t have children in the school? I think not. All these parents want is a board made of people who have children in that school and who understand and really care about the needs of their children. I live in Rockland County, and what’s going on here is an embarrassment to the entire Jewish community.

  3. Loudandproud,

    It is very saddening to see your viewpoint on the East Ramapo school districts’a issues, but it is understandable. We have to do a better job in educating people as to why we think we are right in doing what we have done.

    The state has an obligation to provide certain services to private schools, as well as to public schools. Due to fact that the state has not given East Ramapo enough funding, we can only provide a certain amount of services to both the public schools and the private ones.

    I have seen the report commissioned by the Education Board, as well as a report complied by several frum activists that shows how biased that report was.

    Just one example that comes to mind right now of clear misinformation in the Board’s report is the following. It says in their report that the frum community has separate busses for males and females- we are wasting money on segregating makes as females.

    As anyone in the frum community knows, the reason that girls and boys are on seperate busses is because they are in separate schools. The claim that we are wasting East Ramapo’s limited funds on our peculiarities is invalid and patently ridiculous.

    Also, saying that we are wrong to have such a heavy representation on the board is contrary to the democratic way of thinking. This is a democratic country; we vote for whoever we think should be on the school board. The people on the committee won their positions fair and square.

    I am sure that both of those report can be found online quite easily, with some googling. Please read them and educate yourself.

  4. when public school parents become the major source of funding for my kids yeshiva I would consider them for the board. until then, your analogy is silly.

  5. Both sides have a legitimate point. The problem here is a faulty formula for state funding, which only calculates the number of students in public schools, although non public school students are, by law, entitled to certain services.

  6. Loudandproud’s argument is not correct. The majority of tax payers in the district are Orthodox and to have anyone else run the schools would be taxation without representation.

    The small population of non Orthodox students want the vast amount of tax money to be spent on them in a lavish fashion beyond what normal school district would provide. The current costs per student are enough to pay for an elite private school. It’s unfair to load any more tax burden on the public to pay for luxuries. The complaints are mostly political and anti Orthodox.

  7. An even more accurate report would have been:
    Most public school pupils are black or Hispanic who dont pay school taxes.

    Loud and Proud
    What is an embarrassment to the entire Jewish community? Most of the money for school taxes is coming from the private school segment. The board members were voted in fair and square and it is not their fault that the formula that NYS uses to figure out how much to fund our school district is not fair because they use the total of public school children and don’t include the private ones in figuring out how much to allocate for E Ramapo. ALL school children are entitled to busing and if there is not enough money left for extra curriculum activities then that is what gets cut.

  8. Oldtimer, assuming that few children in the public schools are actually homeless, their parents do pay property taxes indirectly by paying rent to landlords who pay property taxes on the rental properties.

  9. Are you people too biased to say that it’s a possibility that the jews are favoring their own…I’m not saying we there they are or aren’t or Wether they are right or wrong but I am saying that I wouldn’t put it past a group of jews to take advantage of this power. There’s a reason jews should stay out of politics and positions of power and this is one of them. Wether they are 100% correct and legit in what they are doing they will never be looked upon favorably which opens the door for even more antisemitism. Leave the funds with the state and just keep funding our own schools with the money we save from tax evasion provided by our Jewish accountants!