School Politics                                                     

June 29, 2015  The East Ramapo schools are a victim of the increasing influence that the religious leadership in Brooklyn exercises in Albany.  As the separation of church and state has been eroded, the same organizational forces are running interference for East Ramapo’s renegade school board.

People who still think that political labels have much meaning will have a hard time understanding why Rockland’s Republican County Executive Ed Day is working so hard to protect the East Ramapo public school students while Democratic State Senator David Carlucci has been working behind the scenes to ensure that our East Ramapo school board can continue to thumb its nose at our state laws and the New York State Department of Education.

A recent article in Hamodia, the “Daily Newspaper of Torah Jewry,” helps to illuminate the alliance between Democratic Governor Andrew Como, Republican State Senate majority leader John Flanagan and our own Democratic State Senator David Carlucci.

“ALBANY - The newly sworn in leader of the New York state Senate promised to continue the “special relationship” his predecessor enjoyed with the Orthodox community, a bond that has helped secure an unprecedented amount of aid to yeshivas. …..

State Sen. Simcha Felder, a Democrat who caucuses with the Republican conference, told Hamodia that Flanagan, Skelos’s handpicked successor who just turned 54, is intimately familiar with the Orthodox community. He has fought nearly every one of the battles for education equality for yeshiva families over the past few years.” (Hamodia, May 19, 2015)

When did State Senator David Carlucci first start talking to John Flanagan about the Aron Wieder “compromise” for the monitor legislation in the New York State Senate?  It is not a coincidence that Democrat Simcha Felder, like Democrat David Carlucci, caucuses with the Independent Democratic conference.

When David suggested a “compromise” at the very last moment, without discussing it with either State Assembly Woman Ellen Jaffee or State Assemblyman Ken Zabrowski it was a clear setup, not a last minute attempt to reach a “compromise.”

The “compromise”, as we should recognize, was just a fig leaf to create confusion without giving away the ability of the East Ramapo school board to continue to do whatever it wants without fear of interference.

John Flanagan is consistent.  He has been working with Governor Andrew Cuomo to greatly increase state aid to charter and religious schools while doing his best to limit aid to our New York public schools.

It looks like David Carlucci has the ambition and talent necessary to go far in New York state politics.

Robert I. Rhodes, Chairman, Preserve Ramapo