Resounding Vote of No Confidence in the East Ramapo School
Make no mistake
about this. The defeat of this $40 million dollar bond was a
resounding no-confidence vote against Superintendent Joel Klein and
School Board President Yehuda Weissmandl.
The leaders of the public school community which has been able to
turn out 8,000 voters in favor in public school education predicted
that Hillcrest and Colton would be sold to the Hasidic community
after they were fixed up, and they were. They had no confidence that
any additional schools rehabilitated by this obscene board would not
also be sold out from under the public school system.
Hank Greenberg, Governor Cuomo's special investigator of the East
Ramapo schools, had recommended that no more funds be given to East
Ramapo until after a monitor was appointed by the state with the
power to overrule any action by the board.
Yet here was a huge $40 million bond that would be handed over to
this board with no oversight. And it included a $10 million dollar
slush fund with no discernible purpose, which likely would have
disappeared through more illegal maneuvers, just like so many
millions of dollars of funds have in recent years.
Yesterday Superintendent Klein promised that no (more) schools would
be taken away from the public school community. It was too little
too late. This was an administration that just weeks ago promised
that a Spanish translator would be provided, but then almost
immediately reversed itself. This was a school board that has
allowed a remarkably abusive law firm to act as its quasi-official
bully at public meetings, and that has continued to act almost
entirely in private in violation of state law despite being
"educated" just a few weeks ago by a state representative who
explained its obligation to meet in public.
Then we have the really serious violations of the last few years.
These include a fraudulent appraisal of the Hillcrest school that
was nevertheless sold for peanuts despite the resistance of the
state education; the continued illegal decisions of the board to
overrule the committee of the handicapped to send to children out of
the public school system; the expenditure of over $3 million in one
year in a continued legal battle against the New York State
The public school community could not vote against the repairs that
our schools need so desperately, and it could not vote for a huge
bond issue that it knew would facilitate the continued theft of
millions of dollars by this rogue board, so it voted with its feet
and stayed home.
Now it is up to the NYS legislature to pass the legislation
necessary to allow the appointment of a state monitor who can assure
that more millions will not be stolen by this terrible board. Then
we can be sure that many thousands will turn out to save the
physical plants of our terribly deteriorated public schools.
Rhodes, Chairman, Preserve Ramapo