Journal News Friday, 7/1/16
ALBANY – Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill Thursday giving the state greater oversight of the deeply divided East Ramapo school system, with the district getting a $3 million boost in state funds.
The new law, which takes effect Friday, will allow state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia to appoint three monitors to oversee the Rockland County district, with the school board required to submit its budget proposal to the state for approval before putting it out to a vote.
State lawmakers came to an agreement on the bill in the waning days of the state Legislature’s annual session, which ended June 18.
The East Ramapo school board and public-school parents have frequently clashed in recent years amid bleak finances and allegations of mismanagement. The district is home to roughly 30,000 students, with about two-thirds of them attending private yeshivas or other non-public schools.
Cuomo’s approval was widely expected after he had previously signaled support for the bill.
Last year, the state Education Department appointed three monitors to oversee the school district, though they lacked the power to veto the school board’s decisions.
In order to receive the $3 million, the school board will put together a long-term plan to improve the district, along with detailed plans on how they will use the money. Along with its budget proposal, the long-term plan will be subject to Elia’s approval.
The new law will expire June 30, 2017.