FROM RAMAPO WHAT THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO KNOW:
Community Outreach Center’s Hersh Horowitz Presides Over “ESCSD Funeral”
*Vote NO on the bond*
New York State Education Department Commissioner Mary-Ellen Elia toured East Ramapo today, campaigning for a $58 million capital improvements bond that worries longtime advocates for the public schools. Thanks to the New York State Senate’s failure to enact legislation appointing a veto-empowered monitor in the district, the scandal-ridden East Ramapo Board of Education can continue its wholesale dismembering of the district.
In reviewing where East Ramapo is now, and where it’s likely to be going, we must see the forest for the trees. While the bond would provide short-term assistance in the form of crucial building improvements, public school advocates worry that is just a stepping stone to a long-term plan of selling district buildings to yeshivas.
As it stands now, the outlook for East Ramapo is woefully dim. The class-action civil rights lawsuit filed against board members in 2012 has been voluntarily withdrawn with prejudice; the board members who were alleged to have facilitated unconstitutional policies and illegal sales of schools will not be held accountable for those alleged actions. The “monitor” on the ground now has no veto power – and his contract is due to expire before implementations of bond proposals, should the bond pass, even commence. The stage is set for the taxpayers to fund, via capital improvements, the eventual sale of more school buildings, a cruel irony that only this Board of Education could serve up.
Meanwhile, thousands of students in Hasidic yeshivas are systemically denied a sound basic education. The New York State Education Department, ultimately subordinate to Governor Cuomo, has turned a blind eye to the educational neglect that runs rampant in Ramapo. What’s worse is these schools are nonetheless receiving tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer funds – on the local, state and Federal level. As we covered last week, third- and fourth-generation Americans in the Hasidic community are functionally illiterate in English. This despite tens of millions of dollars in Title funding purported to be used for the sole purpose of teaching English!
All of this Title funding flows through and is disbursed by the Community Outreach Center, run by Rabbi Hersh Horowitz.
If any picture says a thousand words, it’s the one below. We see Commissioner Elia, “pitching” the no-strings-attached $58 million bond to a room full of local yeshiva leaders. And at the speaker’s podium, as if eulogizing the public schools and giving a victory speech for yeshivas, is none other than Rabbi Hersh Horowitz.
Our series of articles on the Community Outreach Center and Rabbi Horowitz may be viewed here: