Ramapo nears breaking point
As the ultra-religious community grows, Ramapo becomes a flash point in conflict over what it means to be suburban.
A generation ago, there were few problems between Ramapo’s small ultra-religious Jewish communities and the gentiles and other Jews who made up the bulk of the town’s population.
Things have changed. As the ultra-religious community has grown, Ramapo has become a flash point in a continuing conflict over what it means to live in the suburbs. The idyllic version of leafy bedroom communities close to New York City — with groomed lawns and white picket fences — is being replaced by chaotic, high-density sprawl that many find overwhelming and unsafe. The conditions fueling that conflict are now threatening to spread beyond Ramapo’s borders.
When Mrs. F. and her husband decided to move away from Kiryas Joel, the upstate New York shtetl where they grew up, they went to their rebbe to ask for advice.
The couple couldn’t move just anywhere. Both are members of the Satmar Hasidic group, and like all ultra-Orthodox Jews, they had special requirements: a place to pray, a place to take ritual baths, a place for their children to go to school. What’s more, as followers of the grand rabbi of Satmar, they wanted to be somewhere a rebbe would be in control.
“I was looking to go to a place where there is authority,” said Mrs. F., now 30. “There has to be someone that sets the rules.”The couple had their eye on a place a half-hour outside Kiryas Joel, in a tiny village called Bloomingburg. It was a cozy little house on its own lot near Main Street, with a wood burning stove and a shed in the yard. Back home, Mrs. F. says, something like that would set them back over $750,000. The house in Bloomingburg was on sale for a quarter of the price.
East Ramapo voters approve $58M capital bond
According to unofficial results released around 11:45 p.m., 1,641 voters were in favor of the bond, while 375 were against it. The second proposition on the ballot, which sought approval to borrow $1,127,920 from the state to replace windows and doors at Kakiat and Fleetwood elementary schools also passed with 1,651 votes.
East Ramapo residents vote today on the Bond proposed by the State Education Department to help renovate District school buildings. Andrew Mandel of Strong East Ramapo wrote this analysis :
East Ramapo residents will go to the polls today to decide on two propositions, both of which need a YES vote to move forward with all of the changes to boilers, roofs, windows, bleachers and other needs across the district. There are two propositions because one involves the approval of special state aid.
The plans only involve renovations and repairs in public school buildings, and the State Education Department has pledged to monitor the entire process to avoid any mismanagement of funds.
The Journal News has endorsed the bond, as has Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, the Spring Valley NAACP and Padres Unidos.
“The NAACP supports the bond proposal as long as the New York State Education Department is committed to comprehensive oversight, guidance and technical assistance related to decisions of the East Ramapo board and superintendent regarding planning, management and monitoring the capital bond project,” wrote Willie Trotman, president of the NAACP.
As an additional safeguard, state lawmakers Ellen Jaffee, Ken Zebrowski and David Carlucci have written a letter to Governor Cuomo, asking him to include the reauthorization of East Ramapo oversight in his 2017 budget, which includes requiring the Commissioner’s approval to sell district real estate. More updates on this in the weeks to come.
City bars Post reporter from DOE meeting despite court ruling
City Department of Education officials barred a Post reporter from a School Leadership Team meeting last week — despite a recent court ruling that such key meetings in all schools must be open to the public.
East Ramapo $58 million bond vote: Six takeaways
Editorial Board meeting with Charles Szuberla, the state monitor for the East Ramapo schools talking about the district’s $58 million bond vote on Dec. 6. in West Nyack Nov. 22, 2016.
As residents in the East Ramapo school district prepare to vote on a $58 million referendum to fix its aging buildings, district officials said the time for the project was right from both an academic and financial perspective.
The referendum, which goes before voters Dec. 6, would provide money for replacing roofs, boilers, windows and HVAC units, as well as repairing sidewalks, floors and bleachers.
State must prevent the ‘next’ East Ramapo: View
Rockland County’s teachers unions call on the state to change rules for funding private-school programs
As representatives of public school teachers throughout Rockland County, we’d like to express our support for the efforts of Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, and state Sen. David Carlucci to remedy the situation in the East Ramapo Central School District. Several reports by state monitors came to similar conclusions about the grave challenges facing East Ramapo and it’s clear that government action is needed to keep East Ramapo financially viable.