Rockland’s East Ramapo school district struggles with a multimillion-dollar budget deficit and program cuts. Adding to a difficult situation, bitter divisions exist between the mostly black and Hispanic children and families who use the public schools and the Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox majority who run the Board of Education and send their children to private, religious schools.
Suggestions for the seemingly intractable situation vary. State Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski wants an outside study, paid for by the state, to examine alternatives for the district, including possibly splitting the district into two, one to serve public-school children and one to serve the private-school community. The local NAACP has called on the governor to form a task force to seek solutions. The state education commissioner wants legislation passed that authorizes the Department of Education to intervene in chronically underperforming school districts.
Many want the state aid formula recalibrated. Others have suggested dissolving East Ramapo entirely and dispersing its 9,000 public school students throughout Rockland’s seven other school districts.
Share your ideas
If you were in charge, what would you do to solve the financial and political problems within the East Ramapo school district? Share your thoughts in the form below.