Spring Valley’s School Board Election Fight Heats Up Between Orthodox & Public School Candidates


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Spring Valley, NY – The large Orthodox Jewish community here sends most of its children to private schools but took control of the public school district six years ago.

Now, there’s a heated school board election pitting three Orthodox Jewish candidates against so-called “public school candidates,” who have or had children in the school system.

Critics say the current school board has favored private schools, closing two public schools and arranging for them to be used by yeshivas, or private Jewish schools.

Members of the Orthodox Jewish community say the board is acting appropriately and trying to make sure that the needs of children attending private school aren’t ignored.

At a Parent Teacher Association candidate’s forum last week, the only candidates that showed up were public school candidates. None of their opponents made an appearance.

It was the same story at an NAACP candidate’s forum earlier this month. The Orthodox candidates complain they never received an invitation.

“There has been a lot of division, unfortunately,” said Kim Foskew, president of the Parent Teacher Association Council. “I wish there weren’t. People are getting angry. It’s just the culmination of everything and it has built up a lot of animosity.”

Similar power struggles have taken place in communities with large Orthodox populations, such as Lawrence, Long Island, and Lakewood, N.J. But in the East Ramapo district, residents say the conflict has reached the breaking point. Both the Anti-Defamation League and the New York Civil Liberties Union have written letters to school officials expressing concerns about various issues in the district.

Situated about 35 miles northwest of New York City, the East Ramapo district faces an unusual situation. Its public student population of roughly 8,100 is dwarfed by a private student population of about 20,000. The majority of private students are educated in yeshivas.



  1. I would pity the goyim in that district if not for the fact that where I come from the public schools make it VERY difficult for private school children to receive special ed from the public schools even though our tax dollars are going to fund them and even though by law the public school system is required to provide those services regardless of where the child learns.

  2. In East Ramapo having frum on the board has done nothing for our tax rate as we are faced with a 9%+ increase with this new budget. I do not support the use of public money, my money, to be used for any private school. I payed my years of yeshiva tuition and at this present rate I may be forced to sell simply because i may not be able to pay my taxes. I have lived in east ramapo for over 25yesrs and have seen my taxes go up literally 350%.
    So if all the frum board members do is ensure special interests get money, ie yeshivas, and not take control of the budgets then they shouldn’t be on the board.
    A board seat is a public position not a private position where special interest are served!

  3. Too often the popular “frum position” is devoid of priniple..and is merely triumphal “me first” bombast.

    I suppose that if Catholics whose children attend parochial schools took over a public school system that had a predominattly secular Jewish student body…and then closed two public schools and arranged for them to be used by the Catholic parochial schools…that would be just fine.

    We should keep our noses out of public school systems

  4. MisterG #4 …you miss the point entirely…Of course, as taxpayers we all have the right to vote in school board elections…both a legal and moral right.

    But we have no moral right to use our muscle to take over a school system where we have no stake in the education that system provides. When we do it has all the appearance, and unfortunately sometimes the reality, of being nothing more than a hostile takeover the purpose of which is merely to raid the system to our own private benefit.

    To me, a blatant Chillul Hashem