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Rockland County, NY - Private School Parents Frustrated As Ramapo Central School District Implements Busing Cutbacks

Published on: July 25, 2016 01:24 PM
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Monsey, NY - A Rockland County school district’s attempts to tighten its belt by limiting transportation to private school students who live within its boundaries has some parents crying foul, saying that the district is doing its part to create an unfavorable climate for Orthodox Jewish families.

A letter sent by the Ramapo Central School District, which borders the troubled East Ramapo School District, advised parents that starting in September 2016, private schools would be allotted just one pick up time and one drop off time.  The new Ramapo Central policy would also discontinue busing for students on days that public schools are not in session, a cost saving measure implemented by East Ramapo several years ago.

Further compounding the problem is that Ramapo Central has decided to allocate buses based on numbers issued by the New York State Department of Education’s Basic Educational Data System (BEDS), according to Chani Jaffee, a Ramapo Central mother.  Typically the district used BEDS numbers for transporting textbooks, not students, and schools with multiple divisions and separate boys’ and girls’ schools, could share the same BEDS number.  Under the new policy, each of these schools would receive only one pick up and drop off location regardless of whether students are located on multiple campuses.

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Jaffee said that one of her neighbors has eight year old twins, a boy and a girl, who will be attending local Chabad schools for the upcoming school year.  The boys’ school, located on Widman Court in Spring Valley, and the girls’ school located five miles away in Airmont, share the same BEDS number.  Both children will be bused to the Widman Court facility next year on different busses and at different times, under Ramapo Central’s new policy.

Another Ramapo Central mother who declined to be named shared a letter that she received on July 19th from the district.  Her son, who will be turning five years old in the fall, will only have transportation available at 5 PM, while his classmates who live in East Ramapo will be bussed home at 3:15.  The 5 PM dismissal time was chosen by the yeshiva, which was forced to decide between a too early dismissal time for the older grades or a too late dismissal time for the younger students.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that yeshivos encompass a wider number of grades than the public schools, explained Harry Grossman, a board member in the East Ramapo School District.  Public schools in the area are broken down by grade, with students in kindergarten through third grade, fourth through sixth grade and seventh and eighth grades all attending different schools.

“If you look at the public schools, they don’t have K through 8 in a single building or school,” Grossman told VIN News.  “Nobody would say that a kindergarten through third grade schedule should be the same as a seventh and eighth grade schedule.”

Ramapo Central currently has approximately 700 private school students attending more than six dozen yeshivos and close to 4,900 public school students.  According to reports in The Journal News, the district’s middle school and high school offer two late buses in the afternoon for students who participate in after school activities, in addition to the regular busing provided at dismissal time.

“They have told us that busing for extracurricular activities is exempt,” noted Jaffee.

The New York State Department of Education Handbook on Services to Pupils Attending Nonpublic Schools specifically states that while districts are not required to provide late bus transportation for the purpose of convenience, school officials have the ability to establish late bus policies as they see fit provided that those policies “apply equally to nonpublic and public schools.”

The notion that the move would save Ramapo Central has yet to be proven, observed Mrs.  Jaffee.

“They claim that this is for efficiency but they did no studies and have no projections,” said Mrs. Jaffee.  “They did nothing to prove that they will save routes or money.”

Having schools with staggered dismissal times has given the district the ability to send the same buses, with the same drivers, back to schools to pick up students at different times.  Creating a single dismissal time for all students of all ages could potentially create a situation where the district will need more buses and more drivers, which may actually raise the district’s transportation costs, explained Mrs. Jaffee.

“They have to show me the money in order to have a leg to stand on,” said Mrs. Jaffee.  “There is currently no proof that this is an efficiency measure.”

The district has enacted numerous cost cutting measures in recent years, cutting back on social workers, teaching assistants, library and media specialists and others.  Superintendent Stephen Walker said that the Ramapo Central administration has looked into other areas of rising costs, which include transportation.  Walker said that Ramapo Central is projecting an eight percent increase in its transportation budget for the 2016-2017 calendar year, a number that comprises six percent of the district’s $134.5 million budget.

Walker noted that he could not provide any estimate of the actual savings that could be realized under the new transportation policy.

“There is no way to answer that particular question at this point because we do not know the number of non-public schools, the number of students or the number of buses and routes that will be required,” said Walker.

Jaffee plans to file an administrative appeal with the state’s Department of Education this week, asking for a stay or an injunction on the proposed changes.  A group of parents in Ramapo Central have formed the group Parents Organized for Equal Treatment and are exploring possible legal action against the district.

“All children are entitled under state law to receive transportation according to their needs, not according to the school building and not an arbitrary time assignment and that need has to be met as effectively as possible,” said Mrs. Jaffee.  “Children whose schools start and end at a different time than their bus are not being afforded the proper service and the district is not executing its responsibility to those children.”


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Read Comments (22)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Jul 25, 2016 at 01:48 PM MyThreeCents Says:

Sounds worse than Lakewood's problem

2

 Jul 25, 2016 at 01:56 PM kenyaninwhitehouse Says:

you can thank Cuomo for this.

3

 Jul 25, 2016 at 02:07 PM Anonymous Says:

This is ridiculous. Children need their afternoon.

4

 Jul 25, 2016 at 02:35 PM Ptcha Says:

Sure they're going to save a bundle! The younger children are not going to stay in school 90 minutes after they're dismissed, duh! Parents will be forced to pick them up. Anything that will make "them Hassids" a little less comfortable is a step in the right direction! My advice to all these Hassid haters (aka anti-Semites) is to find a new neighborhood to live in where there are no Jews. I.e. Hell.

5

 Jul 25, 2016 at 02:42 PM NoMan Says:

Why don't schools split up - on paper?

BY Grammar school - 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
BY Middle School - 8:30 Am - 4:30 PM
BY JHS - 7:30 AM - 6:30 PM

as appropriate.

So the schools share the same address? They're affiliated, or one rents from the other. Individual schools can each have independent schedules.

6

 Jul 25, 2016 at 02:58 PM Anonymous Says:

Smart move. The hasidim refuse to work but demand the taxpayers pay for door to door busses when the goyim have to walk.

7

 Jul 25, 2016 at 03:13 PM elyeh Says:

Someone needs to find attorneys and bring a lawsuit. And then when problems arise in the bussing, that can be added to the lawsuit - you will get actions and responses.

8

 Jul 25, 2016 at 03:42 PM Anonymous Says:

When i was a child in Brooklyn, there was only public transportation at given times. Early minyan buses or late mishamar buses were not entitled to Lenora buses. Parents had to pay separate for those times.

9

 Jul 25, 2016 at 03:45 PM Self Reliant Says:

I think that except for special ed cases that can't be handled by the neighborhood schools, parents should take responsibility for getting their kids to and from school. We all end up paying for these entitlements with higher taxes.

10

 Jul 25, 2016 at 03:57 PM Uselogic Says:

I personally attended the school board meeting around a month ago, there was huge support to revise their decision but they could not care less about us. At a more recent board meeting a lot of people came out with the most outrageous claims against the Jewish population. One person got up and declared that public money should only be used for public schools (and not private schools) to the applause of many people!!! This claim is totally bizarre and absurd because NYS law requires all districts to provide for public and private schooling without discrimination. When a hasidic jew got up to say that he pays 15k in taxes and should at least receive busing someone else got up and counter attacked by saying he pays 30k in taxes so shut up... This makes no sense because everyone pays equal taxes based on their home assessment done by the town!!!

Just imagine if this would happen with other minorities, imagine if a public school district would discriminate against blacks or latinos, national media would be all over it!!!

Bottom line, here we go again with people in power exploiting their position to try and prevent the growth the Jewish community!! What a disgrace!!!

11

 Jul 25, 2016 at 04:04 PM Voter rights Says:

so they are basically making sure for non public school parents to run for School board seats. also as an FYI transportation is a reimbursable expense to the district by NYS. and is allowed to be used for future Budget Planing. so i really don`t know why they are doing this GO FIGURE

12

 Jul 25, 2016 at 04:06 PM Butterfly Says:

When will they do their homework?

13

 Jul 25, 2016 at 04:28 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Anonymous Says:

This is ridiculous. Children need their afternoon.

The east Ramapo school board voted against full day kindergarten, o why do private school kids have free bussing?

14

 Jul 25, 2016 at 05:34 PM Uselogic Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Smart move. The hasidim refuse to work but demand the taxpayers pay for door to door busses when the goyim have to walk.

total lie! get you facts before you comment!!!
I Pay 10k school taxes and ask only to get transportation nothing else!!!

15

 Jul 25, 2016 at 05:37 PM Uselogic Says:

Reply to #11  
Voter rights Says:

so they are basically making sure for non public school parents to run for School board seats. also as an FYI transportation is a reimbursable expense to the district by NYS. and is allowed to be used for future Budget Planing. so i really don`t know why they are doing this GO FIGURE

not only that. When the askanim set down to ask them about it. They were asked how much the savings are and they said, they don't know yet. So before making an assessment on the savings they already mandated the cut!!! the reasons are obvious, they don't like us and want to choke the recent influx of private school parents moving to central ramapo

16

 Jul 25, 2016 at 06:26 PM Meyer Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Smart move. The hasidim refuse to work but demand the taxpayers pay for door to door busses when the goyim have to walk.

You speak nonsense, who refuses to work??? when you are out of a job where do you go collect?? by your "hassidic" neighbors that work.

17

 Jul 25, 2016 at 06:26 PM Meyer Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

Smart move. The hasidim refuse to work but demand the taxpayers pay for door to door busses when the goyim have to walk.

You speak nonsense, who refuses to work??? when you are out of a job where do you go collect?? by your "hassidic" neighbors that work.

18

 Jul 25, 2016 at 06:27 PM Meyer Says:

Give it a few years and Central Ramapo district board will be frum parents.

19

 Jul 25, 2016 at 08:17 PM RCSD Says:

Please sign petition www.change.org search for RCSD.

20

 Jul 25, 2016 at 09:54 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #17  
Meyer Says:

You speak nonsense, who refuses to work??? when you are out of a job where do you go collect?? by your "hassidic" neighbors that work.

None of my hasidic neighbors work. The men study and the women take care of the children and house.

21

 Jul 26, 2016 at 03:58 AM Mark Levin Says:

Time top teach them and for EVERYONE to be registered in public schools.

22

 Jul 26, 2016 at 10:05 AM Uselogic Says:

Reply to #20  
Anonymous Says:

None of my hasidic neighbors work. The men study and the women take care of the children and house.

Then come out to Airmont or Suffern and see for yourself!!! These are all people who sweat for their money and help those who don't. Go sink yourself in your self hating ideology.

23

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