Save Our Schools East Ramapo President urges voters to support Preserve Rockland

SOS-ER President, Robert Forrest, urges voters to support a new party, Preserve Rockland, formed by former students, concerned parents and activists, when voting in the election on Nov. 5th.  The Preserve Rockland candidates promise to continue their work on behalf of the children of East Ramapo and all Rockland County if voted into office.

Message Posted in the Power of Ten News Update

Parent challenges decision of ERSD to eliminate music and art

East Ramapo parent appeals to state over lack of music, art instruction

 Oct. 24, 2013   |  
Yehuda Weissmandl, president of the East Ramapo School Board, announces that the board will seek new legal representation during a meeting at school board headquarters July 8, 2013. Weissmandl told a packed meeting that the district would work with the present legal firm of Minerva & D’Agostino to transition to new representation. District residents called for the firm to be fired after one of their attorneys launched a verbally abusive tirade at a parent during and after a recent school board meeting. / Seth Harrison/The Journal News
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SPRING VALLEY — The parent of a third-grade student is appealing to the state education commissioner over what he claims is a complete lack of music and art instruction in his son’s class at Hempstead Elementary this year, although those subjects are mandated by New York state.


The Jewish Daily Forward (Aug. 27/13): Hasidic graduates find East Ramapo yeshiva diplomas not recognized


Struggle and Triumph of College for Hasidim


By Frimet Goldberger


For most Americans, a solid high school education is a stepping stone to college. But Hasidic boys and girls who chose to pursue a higher degree do not have this foundation to build on. Most Hasidic boys receive one hour of English studies per day, four days per week, from third grade to bar mitzvah — one hour in which they are taught the bare minimum, often by Hasidic teachers who themselves lack a secular education.

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Commissioner of Education sets aside lease of Hillcrest Elementary to yeshiva

On July 15, 2013  the Commissioner of Education decided on appeal that the lease of the Hillcrest Elementary School by the East Ramapo Board of Education to Congregation Yeshiva Avir Yakov should be set aside on the basis that the Board did not obtain the best deal possible and did not take reasonable steps to assess the property’s fair market value.

Hillcrest Lease Decision 7-15-13

Community View, The Journal News (Aug 15/13): Rockland must rescue the kids of East Ramapo

Rockland, state must rescue the kids of East Ramapo

Community View in The Journal News by Ed Day

Aug. 15, 2013

As a PTA Life Award winner and longtime youth coach, I am keenly aware that our young are our greatest resource. Each of us is responsible for protecting them, improving their lot in life, and preparing them for the future. This is why the situation our children are facing in the East Ramapo school district is so upsetting, and merits our attention.

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Judge Allows Suit vs. East Ramapo School Board to Proceed


Judge allows lawsuit against East Ramapo School District to move forward

  A federal judge is allowing a class action lawsuit against the East Ramapo School District to move forward. (9/30/13)

 WHITE PLAINS – A federal judge is allowing a class action lawsuit against the East Ramapo School District to move forward.

Nearly 400 plaintiffs are involved in the suit.

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9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Filing Deadline Nears


Cancer rates among first responders and residents of lower Manhattan who were directly impacted by the 9/11 terror attacks are 15 percent higher than in the general public, according to a study of the World Trade Center Health Registry published earlier this year.

I am among that 15 percent.

I was diagnosed with kidney cancer last year. I am relatively young for such a diagnosis. I lead a compulsively healthy lifestyle and have no family history of early onset cancer.

On Sept. 11, 2001, I left my downtown apartment to assist the first responders after witnessing the planes hit the towers. I was just half a block away when the Twin Towers collapsed and, like thousands of others, found myself gasping for air as toxic black dust filled my lungs.

Despite little scientific evidence, this is the only explanation I can come up with for my illness. A World Trade Center Health Program advisory panel that included doctors, union officials and community advocates agreed with me, arguing that it was plausible the toxic cloud contributed or will contribute to some cancers in people who suffered heavy exposure.

I count myself as one of the lucky ones. It took only a few months and three surgeries for a complete cure. Compared to treatment for some of the more virulent conditions doctors are starting to see in 9/11 victims, including thyroid, prostate and blood cancers, what I went through was a breeze.

However, surviving cancer is expensive. Even with insurance I’ve paid tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. That doesn’t factor in the lost income from the times I was too sick to work.

Once again, I may be in luck.

In 2010, the Victim Compensation Fund was established as part of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act to help offset the medical expenses of those who worked at Ground Zero or lived, worked or attended school in the immediate area. Fifty types of cancers are eligible for financial support. Kidney cancer is on the list.

I recently learned about the fund from Arthur Schwartz, a principal at Advocates for Justice, one of the firms that, for a small fee, helps eligible participants sign up and assists them in getting their claims processed.

Schwartz told me how disheartening it is for him that so few people who may be eligible for compensation know about the fund.

“The fund was expecting about 35,000 people to sign up. As of June, only 17,453 had registered and another 2,880 started the registration but didn’t complete it,” he told me.

Time is running out.

The deadline for filing initial paperwork is Thursday, Oct. 3. After that, the fund will no longer accept registrants, even for those who have a covered illness.

This is particularly troubling because, as Dr. Michael Crane, an assistant professor of preventative medicine at Mount Sinai, pointed out, the studies looking at 9/11 illnesses have only reviewed cases up to about 2008.

“We don’t even really think about most cancers until at least 10 years after a toxic event but we are already seeing an increase here that is at or approaching statistical significance. This is the first clue that cancers might be elevated in this population,” Crane told me.

Once you sign up for the fund, you have two years to complete your filing. The process is daunting. It involves an examination by a doctor affiliated with the World Trade Center Health Program, submission of detailed medical records and medical bills, employment records, and affidavits from various people who can vouch for your whereabouts on 9/11 and the following year.

Filing the complete claim can take up to two years and Schwartz said most claimants won’t see any money for at least 18 months after that. As of now, just 53 claim decisions have been made by the fund.

That is why even if you aren’t currently ill, I urge you to sign up for the compensation fund before time runs out. If you think you are eligible, this is a critical step you can take to protect your rights to collect health care and other benefits in the future.

It’s too late to request the forms by mail but several options still exist to file before the Oct. 3 deadline. You can find out more by following this link.