Rockland, Illegal School Trailers – Is there no Law that Prevents This?

I-Team: New Battle Erupts in Rockland Over Illegal School Trailers

“It’s illegal, but there is no remedy in the law that allows us to shut them down,” the Ramapo town supervisor says

What to Know

  • Illegal school trailers have popped up in Rockland amid increasing demand for private religious schools to serve ultra-Orthodox Jews there

  • Trailers were first constructed at 261 Route 306 in Monsey in 2015, and still don’t have a certificate of occupancy

  • Residents say they are worried about safety inside the trailers and on the neighboring roads

A new neighborhood battle is erupting in Rockland County over school trailers housing hundreds of children amid an increasing demand for private, religious schools to serve the ultra-orthodox Jewish community.

As the controversy has plagued Rockland in recent years, Monsey resident Reuven Weinstein is leading the fight against the series of “temporary” trailers for a school at 261 Route 306 in Monsey, which has not had a certificate of occupancy for nearly a year. The trailers were first constructed in 2015. Congregation Bair Chinuch Alteres Bnos is affiliated with a property next door,  where several hundred more children attend school in a different building.

“How is a building being occupied by nearly 300 children without a certificate of occupancy? Aren’t those certificates of occupancies for all our safety? How is the town letting this slide?” Weinstein said.

Weinstein said he is worried about safety inside the school and on the neighboring road, where traffic has become increasingly congested. The longtime resident lost his son at a nearby intersection in 2005, when a car ran a red light and struck the 10-year-old boy as he was riding his bicycle home from a friend’s house. Weinstein claimed the intersection was dangerous when his son died, and that it has become even more problematic since the school opened a few years ago.

“It’s only gotten worse,” he said. “The traffic is uncontrollable. There’s more traffic here than can be handled.”

Ramapo’s prior administration was plagued by building department scandals. Recently elected supervisor Michael Specht said his administration is trying to get a court order banning the school at 261 Route 306 from operating until representatives get the required approvals.

“It’s illegal,” Specht said, “but there is no remedy in the law that allows us to shut them down.”

The supervisor said an inspector recently went into the property after a fire call but did not find any serious safety issues. In February, an inspection noted “dangerous conditions” and multiple fire violations, which the town said were addressed.

Justin Schwartz, chairman of the Rockland County illegal housing and private school task force, said, “I’m asking people to intervene before we bring out body bags. People seem not to care about the children. Not the firefighters, not anyone.”

To read this article in its entirety click, here.

 

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YAFFED and Illiteracy in English in America

Opinion 

What It’s Really Like to Be ultra-Orthodox in America – and Illiterate in English

I stood aghast at the epic travesty: My own adult brother – an American citizen born to American citizens, raised inside its borders, a dad raising children of his own – could barely read a sentence in the language of his land

A voter casting a ballot in Kiryas Joel, New York, November 2, 2010.
A voter casting a ballot in Kiryas Joel, New York, November 2, 2010.Mark Lennihan / AP

To read the article in his entirety click here.

New York: State Education Department Makes $12 Million Error, Overpaying Charter Schools — Diane Ravitch’s blog

New York made an accounting error that cost public schools $12 Million, while overpaying charter schools by that amount. “The $12 million misallocation is about 7.8 percent of the $153 million the state distributed to its Local Educational Agencies in 2017-18 for Title IIA, which supports professional development initiatives such as teacher training, recruitment and […]

via New York: State Education Department Makes $12 Million Error, Overpaying Charter Schools — Diane Ravitch’s blog

 

Note to our readers: We made the decision to share this blog because notably, at least two of the Charter Schools that were overpaid were schools for ultra-Orthodox students, while one of the underfunded schools was the East Ramapo Central School District, a system that has arguably been ravaged by the ultra-Orthodox community of Rockland County, New York.

LM: 8.9.18

Ramapo Nears Breaking Point: Special Report – The Journal News

https://www.lohud.com/story/news/local/rockland/ramapo/2017/01/08/ramapo-ny-breaking-point/95369994/

Inside the East Ramapo Central School District Case: https://www.tabletmag.com/scroll/232394/inside-the-east-ramapo-central-school-district-case

Opinion | When a School Board Victimizes Kids – The New York Times

https://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/03/…/when-a-school-board-victimizes-kids.html

 

 

 

YAFFED.Org – Speaks out against Kalman and Yeger

This was submitted to us by a frequent reader and we tip our hats to that reader.

We note that we are posting this without the prior knowledge of Yaffed’s Naftuli Moster.

This post should not be deemed to imply that we have the support of either Yaffed or Mr. Moster, nor should it be assumed that they are readers of our posts.

Please see the video.

Rockland exec raises questions over voter registrations – Developers Putting Families and Children in Danger

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Rockland exec raises questions over voter registrations

 

Rockland County Executive Ed Day is calling for an investigation into what he’s calling fraud connected with hundreds of newly registered voters for a minor party line he is vying for in Tuesday’s primary.

But Kristen Zebrowski-Stavisky, Democratic commissioner of the county Board of Elections, brushed off the allegations as political and false.

“It’s absolutely untrue,” Zebrowski-Stavisky said Thursday morning. “There is no evidence of fraud here. … (Day is) making a lot of leaps with no evidence and this is disconcerting.”

While speaking in front of the Rockland Courthouse, Day, a Republican, alleged an investigation by his campaign found that three people had filed 559 new registrations for the Conservative Party this year — the majority of which were filed at the deadline in August. 

Day said his campaign found that many of those new votersappeared to be registered in other parts of the state as well. Using absentee ballots, Day alleged those voters could bypass the verification checks and vote in multiple locations.

RELATED: Races to watch in Rockland’s Tuesday primaries

Day also alleged the questionable registrations were an attempt to influence the primary for the Conservative Party line, where there are 4,212 registered voters eligible to cast a ballot in the closed primary.

But Zebrowski-Stavisky said the new registrations raised no red flags. 

Zebrowski-Stavisky, who also is the chairwoman of the Rockland Democratic Committee, said the Board of Elections is not conducting an investigation into the new registrations. 

 

“I don’t know where the evidence is that there is fraud,” she said in her county office in New City. “… This is a political agenda being played out.”

It is not unusual for multiple new voter applications to be filed with the county shortly before the deadline, such as from people conducting registration drives, or for information to be missing on a registration form, Zebrowski-Stavisky said.

But Patricia Giblin, the GOP commissioner for the county Board of Elections, disagreed.

Giblin noted that the Conservative Party garners only about 100 new registrations a year. For more than 500 people to register for the party in one year was a “massive, massive amount of registrations.”

 

“It’s pretty remarkable. … I’m really concerned about what occurred,” she said. 

When new voters register, they automatically forfeit their eligibility to vote elsewhere, Zebrowski-Stavisky said. It’s not uncommon for voters to appear eligible to vote in more than one location due to delays in updating the state’s voter database, she said.

“It’s not true to say they are registered to vote in two places,” she said.

The county Board of Elections verifies new voters through the mail and runs their names through a state database.

In the case of missing or incorrect information on a registration form, a voter may be required to show identification at the polling place.

Zebrowski-Stavisky said there have been no proven cases of voter fraud since she began at the Board of Elections in 2013.

Day, who was nominated by the Conservative Party, is contending for that political line in Tuesday’s primary against Tom Sullivan, who is a registered Conservative. Day, who also is vying for the Reform Party line, has secured the Republican line.

Sullivan, 65, of Nanuet said in an email that Day was “hurling baseless allegations and complaining about routine voter registration activities.”

“If he wanted to create meaningful reform in this county, he would make sure as many of our voters register and participate as possible,” Sullivan said. “Instead, Ed Day is trying to disenfranchise a specific group of voters who are simply trying to exercise their basic right to vote.”

Maureen Porette, the Democratic candidate for county executive, said Day’s allegations were a deflection and a fear tactic.

“If you can show me … proof of campaign fraud, I would be standing behind him 100 percent,” she said. “But there’s no proof; it’s allegations and lies yet again.”

Porette was endorsed by the Working Families Party but is being challenged in a write-in primary for the line. She has already secured the Women’s Equality line.

Day said the registrations were “part of sending a message to me” over the county’s crackdown on health code violations and tax evaders.

Day was calling for the following:

  • The county Board of Elections, Rockland District Attorney’s Office, and state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to launch investigations into the voting registrations.
  • The Rockland Sheriff to conduct “police checks” on “each of these suspect voter registrations” to ensure they are accurate.
  • Day also was calling on all absentee ballots from the 559 newly registered voters be impounded in the primary and election, and an investigation be conducted to verify their authenticity.
  • The state Legislature to pass a laws requiring voters to present identification in order to vote, and requiring voter registration forms to be completely filled out.   

The allegations of voter fraud have not been referred to the Rockland District Attorney’s office, said Xiomara Lopez, a spokeswoman for the office.

Day also said that 12 individuals were registered on the same date from one residence in Spring Valley, a property he described as in “significant disarray with no outward indication of residential use.”

That property turned out to be Congregation Noam E. Lizensk, a religious school with more than 150 students aged 15-19 that has been in that location for two decades.

On Thursday afternoon, more than 100 students at the school could be seen studying inside one of the large classrooms.

Joel Klein, a board member for the school, said in an email: “The location is a yeshiva with 150 students an a dormitory and it is fully legal by law for students to register at a dorm. Mr. Day knows of this address; it is in fact in Clarkstown.”

Yeshiva Deprives Students of Secular Education and Mayor De Blasio Offers Praise

De Blasio Praised Brooklyn Yeshiva Accused Of Depriving Students Of Secular Education

From: The Gothamist

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Oholei Torah in Crown Heights. Mayor de Blasio praised the yeshiva, which is under DOE investigation, in a letter this spring. (Emma Whitford / Gothamist)

In May of this year, long after the Department of Education announced an investigation into dozens of yeshivas for failing to provide a basic education to their students, Mayor Bill de Blasio effusively praised one of the yeshivas that was being investigated.

In a letter obtained by Gothamist, de Blasio congratulated Crown Heights yeshiva Oholei Torah for “giving its students the tools they need to build solid foundations for their futures,” even as alumni accuse the ultra-Orthodox school of leaving them unprepared for college and a career.

Meanwhile, the Department of Education has yet to issue any findings related to their investigation of educational neglect at 39 yeshivas in New York, and has allegedly blown through several promised deadlines since the probe was opened over two years ago.

At a press conference outside City Hall on Wednesday, secular education advocates criticized de Blasio’s support for the school, and accused the mayor and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña of dragging their feet on the investigation for fear of offending the powerful Hasidic and ultra-Orthodox voting blocs.

“The politics behind this is obvious—the city is absolutely terrified of calling out the Hasidic yeshivas, because the findings would indicate that they’re not even close to meeting state requirements [concerning education],” Naftuli Moster, the executive director of Young Adults For A Fair Education [Yaffed], which acquired the mayor’s letter, told Gothamist.

The letter was included in a commemorative “journal” distributed to guests at the yeshiva’s 60th anniversary dinner this year, according to the group. It will be included in a forthcoming Yaffed report, which alleges that Oholei Torah provides no secular education to its students, in grades kindergarten through twelve.

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“It feels like the mayor just is not even pretending to care,” said Chaim Levin, 28, who attended Oholei Torah in Crown Heights from 1995 to 2005. “It’s like, he’s rewarding very bad behavior. Bad behavior that’s been going on for 60 years of this school’s existence.”

Oholei Torah did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the mayor’s letter, or Yaffed’s allegations. The Mayor’s Office declined to comment on the letter.

In July of 2015, around 50 yeshiva parents, alumni and former teachers sent a letter to the DOE expressing their concern that the Orthodox schools were almost entirely focused on intensive religious studies, to the exclusion of math, English, science and social studies.

According to a report put out earlier this month by Yaffed, the lack of instruction in secular education leaves “young men lack[ing] the requisite skills to obtain employment with a decent income to support themselves and their (often large) families.” The report recommends that the DOE establish a task force to improve education in the schools, and that all funding be cut to schools not meeting state benchmarks by summer 2019.

In response Yaffed’s report, the pro-yeshiva group Parents for Educational and Religious Liberty in Schools [PEARLS] released a statement noting that the purpose of the ultra-Orthodox schools was for “children to receive a religious education that is central to their cultural identity, and that teaches young men and women to become thriving, respected members of the community.” The group rejected Yaffed’s recommendations.

“The vast majority of Hasidic boys’ high schools do not teach any secular studies, zero, not even English,” Moster said in response.

Such practices would place yeshivas in violation of a state law requiring all private schools to provide education that is “at least substantially equivalent” to that provided in public schools. While the city has promised a good faith investigation into the potential neglect, Moster says they’ve missed at least two deadlines that they set for themselves.

Toya Holness, a spokesperson for the DOE, told Gothamist, “The investigation is ongoing and we are treating this matter with utmost seriousness.” She also provided Gothamist with a letter showing that the DOE had made scheduled visits to six yeshivas through the city, and planned to make additional visits throughout the month. She declined to answer a question about whether the department had a deadline for releasing their findings.

According to Moster, the DOE promised to release a report about the schools last summer, then pushed that back until this summer, and now appears to have backed off their commitment to a deadline entirely,

“If the only issue was waiting until after the elections, I would say fine,” he noted. “The problem is what this delay symbolizes: the city will bend itself backwards to appease a handful of powerful Hasidic leaders. If the report does ever come out, I’m expecting them to water it down dramatically.”

Guadagno Secured NJ Lakewood’s Bloc Vote – and at What Price, her Soul Perhaps?

 

VOTE AGAINST KIM GUADAGNO!!!

 

Rullo: Guadagno “Sold Her Soul”; Secures Powerful Lakewood Orthodox Bloc Vote

http://www.shorenewsnetwork.com/2017/06/rullo-guadagno-sold-her-soul-secures-powerful-lakewood-orthodox-bloc-vote/

LAKEWOOD-The influential political power brokers of Lakewood Township,  the Lakewood Vaad, have announced Kim Guadagno as their candidate of choice for governor of New Jersey in Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

Photo of Kim Guadagno with New Jersey Orthodox leaders. Note: Her face was intentionally blurred according to a report. Click photo to read about that.

In a report yesterday on the political news website, Ocean County Politics, editor Gavin Rozzi broke the news through a video published by Lakewood’s “First Amendment Activist” of a robocall sent out by Rabbi Yisroel Schenkolewksi, one of the Vaad’s religious and political leaders.

In the call, Schenkolewksi urged Lakewood’s Orthodox voters that a vote for Guadagno, Lakewood’s large bloc vote remains powerful.

“Let us stop those who are trying to divide us and weaken us,” Schenkolewksi said.

Guadagno’s opponent in the election, Ocean County resident Joseph Rullo wondered what offers or promises Guadagno made to Lakewood in return for the endorsement.

“It’s so corrupt how one guy can cut a deal to get 13,000 votes for promises after elected in Lakewood,” Rullo said.  “Kim sold her soul….Lakewood is a sanctuary city with no rules.”

The news also doesn’t sit well with voters in the Republican stronghold of Ocean County where an ongoing confrontation exists between Lakewood’s growing Orthodox Jewish population and the surrounding gentile townships of Jackson, Brick, Toms River and Howell where Rullo is showing strong against Guadagno and the other Republican establishment candidates.

In a new SaveJersey poll, a shore area conservative blog site, Rullo is leading the pack with 41% of voters.  Rival conservative Steve Rogers polled with 22% with Guadagno and her establishment arch-nemesis Jack Ciattarelli trailing with just 14% and 16% respectively.

In the latest Shore News Network poll, consisting mostly of Ocean County residents, Rullo received 51% of the votes and Guadagno 27.8%.   Ciattarelli (8%), Singh (7%) and Rogers (5%) all trailed.

Rullo hopes his conservative platform and open support of Donald Trump resonates with the New Jersey voters on Tuesday.  He backed the president in last November’s election and has been a staunch supporter of Trump since his announcement in 2015.

Rullo said he feels most of New Jersey’s Trump supporters will be behind him, while Guadagno, Ciattarelli and Singh compete over the balance of the establishment type voters in the state.

http://www.shorenewsnetwork.com/2017/06/rullo-guadagno-sold-her-soul-secures-powerful-lakewood-orthodox-bloc-vote/

IF YOU ARE IN NEW JERSEY, USA – VOTE AGAINST GUADAGNO, SECURING THE BLOC VOTE IS PRIMA FACIE EVIDENCE THAT HER SOUL HAS BEEN SOLD.