To: Editor Rockland Voice
From: County Legislators Carey and Hofstein
The children of East Ramapo were once again victimized by politics on Tuesday night when the Multi-Services Committee of the Rockland County Legislature failed to move forward with a proposed resolution supporting a state appointedfiscal monitor in the East Ramapo Central School District.
Despite the fact that 13 of out of 17 of their fellow legislators have explicitly stated their support for the placement of a monitor, the Committee deadlocked in a 3-3 tie (one member was absent) that fell one vote short of the majority number needed to allow the resolution to go before a vote of the full County Legislature. While we accept the fact that three members of the committee are opposed to a fiscal monitor, we believe those three should have been respectful enough of their colleagues to allow the matter to go before the full legislative body. By failing to do so, they have failed ALL the children in the East Ramapo School District.
It is our opinion that the placement of this monitor should be a welcome development for both private and public school children. The private school advocates argue that the primary issue in the district is one of a flawed state aid formula. The public school advocates argue that the issue is one of fiscal mismanagement by the school board. We believe a state appointed monitor would be best suited to address both sides of the argument while providing ALL children in the district with the best chance at the quality education they deserve right now. An impartial monitor will be able to make unbiased decisions, based on facts, to represent the best interests of ALL the children. We fail to see how either side in this argument can be opposed to impartial supervision of the district’s financial operations.
By failing to move this resolution forward, the Committee has chosen to hold our community back. The children will continue to bear to the cost of the status quo in the form of a substandard education. The distrust between parents and the school board will continue unabated. Anyone with a true interest in working together to resolve these issues should be able to recognize that an independent party is our best hope to restore trust and to provide the educational services that ALL our children deserve. Instead, we continue to move further down a path of division and distrust. Instead, another day goes by where our children are denied the quality education we should be providing to them. Everyone loses.
Thankfully, the Multi-Services Committee is far from the deciding factor in the efforts to place a fiscal monitor. The decision now rests in the hands of our lawmakers at the state level, but the Mult-Services Committee sent a disheartening message to both the children of East Ramapo and to their fellow legislators. We want to publicly remind the children and parents of East Ramapo that a strong majority of the people of Rockland County stands beside them. We stand beside them, and we will not give up the fight.
Cris Carey and Lon Hofstein