Critics Seek to Stop East Ramapo’s Second Deal With a Yeshiva

Jul 6, 2011 by

Once again, a New York school district controlled by Orthodox Jews is trying to sell a shuttered public elementary school to deal with its budget woes. And once again, critics have asked state officials to intervene to stop the sale.

Activists challenging the East Ramapo Central School District’s handling of the latest sale say that it favors two private Jewish schools at the expense of a fair price. Their appeal to the state education department comes just weeks after state officials overturned the school board’s earlier sale of an East Ramapo elementary school to a different Jewish school. A majority of the school board, whose members are elected, is made up of Orthodox members.

Controversy Critics have assailed an effort by the East Ramapo school board to sell a public school to two private Jewish schools. Aron Wieder (center), the president of the school board, defended the move.

Courtesy of Aron Wieder

Controversy Critics have assailed an effort by the East Ramapo school board to sell a public school to two private Jewish schools. Aron Wieder (center), the president of the school board, defended the move.

The activists allege that the school board has acted irresponsibly in signing a conditional contract before seeking outside bids. But district officials maintain that increasingly dire economic pressures necessitated the sale.

“It’s surplus property at this point,” said East Ramapo’s superintendent of schools, Joel Klein. “We do not need it, and we have significant budget issues.”

The latest turmoil in Rockland County, less than an hour north of New York City, comes after years of conflict between the area’s growing

 

 

and the non-Orthodox, largely non-Jewish families that send their children to the public schools.

That school board’s Orthodox majority survived a public election last May, despite significant efforts by opponents to elect new non-Orthodox members to the board. The board’s former president, Nathan Rothschild, pleaded guilty June 30 to mail fraud charges stemming from allegations that he had abused his elected role as Monsey fire commissioner to settle a personal debt. Rothschild resigned from the school board in April, when the charges were first filed.

via Critics Seek to Stop East Ramapo’s Second Deal With a Yeshiva – Forward.com.

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