ALBANY – Governor Cuomo signed legislation that will expand the authority of the East Ramapo school district state monitor, a necessary step toward rebuilding a district that will meet all students’ needs.
“A state monitor with real power means a new era of transparency and accountability for East Ramapo’s public school students can begin,” said Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU. “Although the challenges in ERCSD will not end overnight, a strengthened monitor will increase oversight, limit financial mismanagement, and ensure that school board leadership is providing for all students in the district, not wreaking havoc on a generation of public school students of color. The NYCLU will continue to stand with the East Ramapo public school community to ensure that a school district two hours from Albany will no longer be known as a 21st Century example of Jim Crow.”
“East Ramapo public school students deserve nothing short of educational equity. The Spring Valley NAACP thanks the New York State Assembly, Senate and Governor Cuomo for bringing this legislation to fruition, and ensuring that public school children and families can access the opportunities to a quality education that they deserve,” said Willie Trotman, President of the Spring Valley Chapter of the NAACP.
For over a decade, the East Ramapo Central school district (ERCSD) has faced a crisis of leadership that has resulted in the steep decline of its public schools. Today, the district can be described as a “21st century Jim Crow” school system, where the education of white students attending private religious schools is prioritized at the expense of the public school system that almost entirely serves students of color. While state actors have attempted many interventions and reforms in the district, they have so far failed to restore quality education to the district’s public schools.
Currently, there are two state monitors in ERCSD who make reports and recommendations to the State Education Commissioner, but they do not have power to override or even merely pause decisions made by school board members. This leaves the monitors without meaningful recourse as students’ futures are threatened. A.5683/S.6052 is an essential step towards transparency, accountability and restoring ERSCD to the educational performance levels it once had.