New York - East Ramapo Monitor Bill Passes Assembly Education Committee
Albany, NY - The New York State Assembly Education Committee has approved a controversial bill which would appoint a fiscal monitor to oversee the East Ramapo school board and develop a five-year improvement plan for the district, Lohud.com reports (http://lohud.us/1FTGry2). The bill had strong support in the Democratic-controlled committee, but Assembly Republicans, as well as Democrats Walter Mosley and Sheldon Silver voted against the bill.
Not all Assembly Democrats welcomed the news, however. In a statement decrying the committee’s decision, Democratic Assemblyman Dov Hikind said, “The East Ramapo Monitor Bill establishes a very dangerous precedent. A monitor who has the ability to overturn decisions made by a duly elected board is clearly unfair. If an appointed monitor can make decisions for the East Ramapo school district, then other appointed monitors can do the same in other districts. Where does it end? There will be no point in even electing a school board anymore—those elected members will become a board of advisors as the appointed monitor becomes the czar.” Hikind praised his colleagues, Assemblymen Mosley and Silver for “doing the right thing and voting against this destructive bill.”
In a joint opinion piece published in today’s New York Times (http://nyti.ms/1Idcnyg), New York State Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch and Education Law Center Executive Director David G. Sciarra pushed for the passage of the bill and disputed the notion that the installation of a monitor over the largely Orthodox Jewish school board was anti-Semitic, saying, “Nothing could be further from the truth. The legislation is not about punishing one group because of its religious beliefs; it is about acting to make sure that the civil rights of a community of overwhelmingly low-income minority children are not denied and that their sound constitutional right to a sound basic education is enforced.”
The measure now moves to the Assembly Ways and Means Committee where it will be voted on before being sent to the floor for a full vote. State Senate Republicans have not yet indicated whether they will support the bill. The legislative session concludes on June 17.
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