We are a coalition of East Ramapo alumni and other concerned individuals, dedicated to bringing strict oversight to a school district "in a state of distress." Join our Facebook group or e-mail list for regular action updates. Retweet our posts on Twitter: @StrongERamapo.
DECEMBER 6 -- With Commissioner MaryEllen Elia pledging to ensure state monitors watch the entire spending process of major renovations to East Ramapo, a small but decisive number of voters pass a $58 million bond.
THROUGHOUT NOVEMBER -- The district holds forums to educate the public about the $58 million bond vote for major building improvements, to be held December 6. In response to concerns about potential financial mismanagement, Monitor Chuck Szuberla assures the NAACP in writing that he and the state will be monitoring "every step of the process." The Journal News also covers the upcoming vote.
NOVEMBER 9 -- Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee and Senator David Carlucci are re-elected to their seats in Albany.
SEPTEMBER 26 -- The State Education Department officially approves the $3 million proposal, and restored programs (full-day kindergarten, elementary arts) are slated to begin the week of October 3 through the end of the school year. Commissioner Elia will host a public forum about East Ramapo at Rockland Community College on Wednesday, September 28 at 6 p.m.
SEPTEMBER 7 -- Monitor Chuck Szuberla presides over the long-awaited public hearing for the $3 million in state aid, indicating that full-day kindergarten for all students, plus a slew of elementary arts programming, should be reenstated by September 26.
SEPTEMBER 1 -- Because the board has not yet held a hearing to spend the $3 million in state aid, the superintendent holds a sudden lottery for 156 full-day kindergarten seats, the amount provided by the May budget. At the lottery, the district announces the date for the long-awaited public hearing (Wednesday, September 7), which could result in full-day kindergarten for all by the end of the month.
AUGUST 26 -- NYCLU joins the defense of Sabrina Charles-Pierre, filing an appeal to the State Education Commissioner that asserts that the East Ramapo board used arbitrary rules when deciding that her election was invalid.
AUGUST 25 -- Critics call upon new school board member Joe Chajmovicz to verify his residence after protesters reported that others are currently renting the house where Chajmovicz has claimed to live.
AUGUST 24 -- The East Ramapo School Board has still not held a public hearing to solicit comments for how to spend the $3 million in state aid, risking a delay in the start of full-day kindergarten.
AUGUST 15 -- Respected former deputy commissioner of education Charles Szuberla has been named to lead the latest monitor team for East Ramapo.
AUGUST 8 -- Strong East Ramapo hosts a large protest at the school board meeting and presents a petition of over 1,250 signatures, calling for the restoration of Sabrina Charles-Pierre's full term or the resignation of Board President Yehuda Weissmandl. At the end of the meeting, the school board passes a resolution to appeal to the State Commissioner of Education about Sabrina's invalidated election.
JULY 26 -- The East Ramapo School Board announces that, due to an "administrative oversight," public school advocate Sabrina Charles-Pierre will not be permitted to serve the two-year term to which she was elected. The board also announces the appointment of Joe Chajmovicz, a private school parent with no history of running for school board, to the district's open seat over Jean Fields, the former principal of Ramapo High School who garnered 4,000 votes in the last election. Community members demand justice.
JUNE 30 -- Governor Cuomo signs East Ramapo oversight bill into law.
JUNE 16 -- The Legislature -- both the Senate (60-2) and the Assembly (unanimously) -- approves the proposal for East Ramapo oversight and aid. The bill must now be signed by the Governor.
JUNE 14 -- Lawmakers officially introduced Assembly Bill 10723 and Senate Bill 8131 after the Senate leader, the Assembly speaker and the Governor came to an agreement that would provide East Ramapo with three million dollars in additional aid, plus the Commissioner's oversight of the entire district budget.
JUNE 7 -- East Ramapo advocates continue push for oversight plan, visiting Albany and urging Governor Cuomo to intervene before the legislative session ends.
MAY 21 -- Students from Spring Valley and Ramapo High Schools host a rally demanding better for themselves and their peers.
MAY 2 -- Padres Unidos, Strong East Ramapo, the NAACP, the Rockland Clergy for Social Justice, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Rockland Board of Rabbis and Uri L'Tzedek urges Albany to approve a proposal that would empower the State Commissioner of Education to oversee the budget of the East Ramapo School District.
APRIL 5 -- The East Ramapo School Board seeks to intervene in a lawsuit filed by parents against the State Education Department.
MARCH 31 -- Seeking options to bring change to East Ramapo this year, Rockland's representatives to Albany tried unsuccessfully to introduce a measure inside the New York State budget that would have brought oversight and funds to the district. Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski announced his intention for the approach, which is endorsed by the school board, to become a standalone bill.
MARCH 24 -- For the second year in a row, tensions flare in East Ramapo when a family celebrating the demise of the villain Haman during the holiday of Purim hanged a life-sized doll with black skin, dreadlocks and a hoodie from a window in Spring Valley. The family responsible told the news that they did not realize the lynching of a dark-skinned effigy would be considered abominable. Rockland's Jewish leaders condemned the act.
MARCH 21 -- Regent Betty Rosa, a consistently staunch supporter of public education in East Ramapo, is named Chancellor of the New York State Board of Regents.
MARCH 17 -- Rockland County Executive Ed Day blasts Senator Marcellino's remarks from March 10, saying, "A comment like this from the head of the Senate Education Committee is an outrage. I wonder how such an opinion could be formed by an elected official who has never stepped foot in an East Ramapo school building." Day invites Senators Flanagan and Marcellino on a tour of East Ramapo.
THROUGHOUT MARCH -- Strong East Ramapo announces that seven Long Island School Boards (North Shore CSD, Three Village CSD, West Babylon UFSD, Fire Island UFSD, Oceanside UFSD and Brentwood UFSD, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park UFSD), including those in both Senator Flanagan and Senator Marcellino's districts, have all passed resolutions in favor of East Ramapo oversight with veto power.we said and demonstrated on on June 22, we will march on."
Six Ways to Help
1. Join our group for updates.
2. Join us on Facebook.
3. Follow us on Twitter.
4. Come to our events.
5. Send the strongeastramapo.org link to family, friends, colleagues, organizations and institutions you know.
6. Donate to our efforts to secure passage of a bill for strong state oversight.
Want to do more? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.