Spring Valley High School was once a robust school, but since members of the Haredi Jewish community won a majority of seats the school board in 2007, the school has fallen significantly behind other high schools in Rockland County, New York. Dozens of classes, extracurricular activities and staff members have been cut or fired from the high school because of a lack of funds.
The loss of these resources have devastated the school. Many students can no longer earn enough credits to graduate in four years and the graduation rate has fallen to 72%, nearly 20% below the county average. East Ramapo middle schools have also seen funding and personnel cuts, with all middle school sports and music programs completely eliminated.
The impact the school board members’ decisions have had on the school system has led to accusations of civil rights abuses, selling public school buildings to yeshivas at below market rate, and sending Haredi children to yeshivas using public money by exploiting special education laws.
Last May, the RAC joined Uri L’Tzedek in voicing concern about the situation in East Ramapo and called for Governor Cuomo to intervene in the School District. Additionally, faith leaders, including our Reform rabbis, formed Rockland Clergy for Social Justice, to push the state to intervene. In June 2014, Henry Greenberg was appointed New York State Monitor and tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of the East Ramapo Central School District. In November, Mr. Greenberg reported that the district “had recklessly depleted the district’s reserves,” and was suffering from fiscal mismanagement, poor governance and a lack of transparency bringing the District to the brink of collapse. He concluded “the crisis is real, it’s immediate, and it warrants immediate attention.”
Sign this petition supporting legislation to:
- require establishing a ‘task-force’ to study and devise a long-term functional governance model for East Ramapo
· direct the board and superintendent to take actions necessary to ensure quality education for children;
· warrant the removal of the superintendent in the event that he fails to satisfactorily perform his duties;
· authorize the monitor to conduct a search for and retain a new leader in the event of the superintendent’s dismissal or resignation.