On December 8, the NY Civil Liberties Union and the law firm, Latham & Watkins, filed a federal court motion seeking a preliminary injunction prohibiting the ER School Board from holding its May 2018 annual election until adjudication of the Complaint filed in November 2017 for East Ramapo to move from an at-large system to a ward system od electing board members.
A copy of Motion materials is attached below.
NYCLU Ward Election System ER Notice of Motion Prelim Injunction 12-8-17
NYCLU Ward Election Case ER Memo of Law Prelim Injunction 12-8-17
East Ramapo parents’ lawsuit: Election system stacked vs. minorities
A group of parents from East Ramapo have sued the school district, saying that the at-large voting system used to elect members to the school board has led to a lack of representation by minorities.
Filed Thursday in U.S. District Court, the suit demands no further school board elections be held until a ward system made up of nine single-member districts is in place.
Updated on November 17, 2017.
A Heavy Blow to One of America’s Most Controversial School Boards
A new lawsuit focuses on a district whose governing board is dominated by ultra-Orthodox Jews who send their kids to private schools.
Students of the East Ramapo School District hold a sign during the One Voice United Rally in Albany, N.Y. Shannon DeCelle / AP
As is the case in districts across the country, the racial composition of a school board in the New York City suburb of Ramapo doesn’t look anything like that of the predominantly nonwhite student population it serves. The news Thursday of a lawsuit challenging the district’s school-board election proceedings in attempt to change that might just seem like another effort to challenge the status quo.
But this case is a little different. It’s not just an equity-minded attempt to reform a seemingly flawed policy—it’s also an explosive development of a chaotic tale of cultural collisions and political dissonance that has been simmering for at least a decade.
Willie Trotman, Spring Valley NAACP president, spoke at the NYCLU Press Conference on Nov. 16th announcing a new federal lawsuit against the East Ramapo Central School District. The lawsuit claims East Ramapo school elections violate voting rights and asks for the current system of electing board members to the East Ramapo School Board to be replaced with a ward election system that would give minorities “an equal opportunity” to elect their favored candidates.
Acting on behalf of the Spring Valley NAACP and several school district residents, the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging the at-large method of electing members of the East Ramapo Central School District Board of Education. They argue that the system unlawfully denies black and Latino citizens in the district an equal opportunity to elect candidates of their choice.
An at-large voting system for electing members to the East Ramapo school board — long dominated by Orthodox Jews whose children attend private yeshivas — has prevented public school parents who are largely black and Latino from electing candidates of their choice, according to a lawsuit filed on Thursday by the New York Civil Liberties Union.
“What we have in East Ramapo is a common case of disenfranchisement of minority voters in the extreme,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York A.C.L.U. “The system allowed for the white community that does not send its children to public school to hijack the school board.”
CONTACT: NYCLU Press Office, 212.607.3372
THURSDAY: NYCLU Announces Action Against East Ramapo School District
NEW YORK CITY – On Thursday November 16 at 11 a.m. the New York Civil Liberties Union will hold a press conference to announce a new action regarding the East Ramapo Central School District Board of Education.
The East Ramapo School District has been a site of contention for the last 10 years, as school board members have systematically reduced public school resources in order to lower property taxes and shift millions of dollars to private schools. The drastic cuts have led to a precipitous decline in school quality.
Press conference to announce new legal action against the East Ramapo School District Board of Education.
Thursday, November 16 at 11 a.m.
Offices of the NYCLU at 125 Broad Street, Floor 19, New York City 10004.
NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman
NYCLU Legal Director Art Eisenberg
NYCLU Attorney Perry Grossman
Spring Valley NAACP President Willie Trotman
Affected residents of East Ramapo Central School District