Thursday, July 19, 2012

Anti-Semitic Public School Parents trying to oust Frum School Board!

The Jew Haters at the  Journal news printed the following article on the front page....
please write comments to the Journal News to set the record straight.
Also its time to register ALL our children in Public School and see what they will do then.
Here is the link:
Journal News
Critics of the East Ramapo Board of Education are asking the state education commissioner to remove Orthodox and Hasidic board members they say have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to support private religious schools while ignoring the growing needs of students in the public schools.
The New York-based public interest law firm Advocates for Justice, on behalf of 14 East Ramapo parents and community members, said it is calling for the removal of five board members and the appointment of a state monitor to oversee all spending and special-education placements at the district.
The nonprofit organization said it sent the state education commissioner a 52-page document Wednesday that accuses the East Ramapo school board of, among other things, improperly placing students with disabilities in private schools, conducting real estate transactions based on faulty appraisals, and buying religious textbooks to loan to religious schools.
The petition addresses school board President Daniel Schwartz, Vice President Yehuda Weissmandl, and members Moses Friedman, Moshe Hopstein and Eliyahu Solomon, and calls on the state education commissioner to bar them from holding future office.
The men are part of the seven-member board majority that often represents the interests of the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities of the East Ramapo school district. These communities send their children to private schools within the public district and receive textbooks, transportation, special education and other services provided by the district, which account for millions in East Ramapo’s budget each year.
The petition “emerges from several years of problems and tensions” within the district, as public school parents have become increasingly concerned about the board’s financial decisions, including budget cuts that have eliminated hundreds of teachers and curtailed kindergarten programming, the group said in the statement.
“The East Ramapo school board has repeatedly snubbed the parents, students and teachers of the district. ... The board members have abused their authority and then thumbed their noses at the state, which gives them their authority,” said petitioner Steven White, a former school board candidate and frequent critic of the board whose son is a graduate of the district.

The petitioners’ major concerns include:
• The district’s noncompliance with rules governing placement of students with disabilities, which have resulted in the state withholding money this year.
• The board’s attempts to sell two former elementary schools to yeshivas that are leasing the buildings —- using what petitioners say were “fraudulent” appraisals that wouldn’t garner a fair price for the district. Following petitions by White and others, the state annulled the Hillcrest school sale and has stayed the Colton school deal while it conducts a review. The real estate dealings are the subject of an investigation by the state attorney general.
• Buying religious textbooks to loan to private religious schools using public funds.
Petitioners also find fault with the lack of “no trespassing” signs on school grounds that they say the board has ignored requests for despite repeated trespassing by strangers; and the replacement of the district’s attorney several years ago with a firm that costs at least double, according to the document.
Friedman said the board has acted “100 percent legally” and the petition would drive up the district’s legal fees and subsequently “hurt children” by taking money away from them.

“It bothers me that they get up there and they say that they’re there for the children and meanwhile, they’re the ones hurting the children,” Friedman said, referring to White and other vocal opponents of the school board who have filed complaints in the past.

In addition to White, petitioners include two parents, Hiram Rivera and Kim Foskew, who ran unsuccessfully for seats on the school board during the spring, and the president of the district’s Parent-Teacher Association Council, Rebecca Montesa.

Schwartz said the board intends to “vigorously and aggressively defend” itself and has approved hiring two law firms, in addition to using the district’s regular attorneys, to do so.
He dismissed the petition as an attempt by the former board candidates — White, Foskew and Rivera — to “usurp the electoral process,” and called the petition a “quest to deprive Orthodox Jews of their civil rights” by removing them from an office they have the right to hold.
White said Schwartz’s comments about the board election were baseless personal attacks that didn’t warrant a response.
The state Education Department declined to comment on the petition. Under state education law, the commissioner has the right to remove board members if “willful misconduct or neglect of duty” can be proved. School officers have the right to legal representation at a hearing before any decision is made.
Attorney Arthur Z. Schwartz, president of Advocates for Justice, said the group was seeking to oust the board members “not because they’re Jewish, but because they’ve so offended the trust that the public” puts in elected officials.
“I happen to be an observant Jew,” he said. “But I also ... believe that public money should not be used to further anyone’s religion and that’s a concept that’s firmly ingrained in our Constitution.”
Arthur Schwartz said the organization took on the East Ramapo case pro bono.
The group expects to follow the petition with a lawsuit that could focus on the alleged purchases of religious textbooks by the district with public money, he said. He added that a separate 2011 petition to remove board members is under review by the state.

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