Regarding last week’s article, “NAACP Suit Says Rigged Voting System Favors Orthodox Jews in East Ramapo”: The article says, “Majority members of the board, voted in by families whose children attend yeshivas, have voted to cut taxes and budgets, citing fiscal responsibility.” This is completely unfounded.
Taxes in East Ramapo have never gone down, i.e., there have been no tax cuts. The argument is over the scope and speed of tax increases. With Rockland County being the second-highest-taxed county per capita in the U.S., school taxes being the only tax that citizens get to vote on themselves, and a large segment of the tax base not benefiting directly from the tax, is there any surprise that tax payers tread carefully? Second, the only time the budget ever experienced cuts was during the Great Recession when the state ordered the district to make cuts (following millions of dollars in cuts in state funding) in order to maintain the legally mandated balanced budget. Even with a contingency budget, the budget is not being cut.
Admittedly, you may see service cuts due to increased costs, but that is different than a budget cut. East Ramapo has a budget of almost $250 million servicing about 9,000 public school children and almost 30,000 non-public children. Nobody has, is, nor will be suggesting cutting the budget.
The writer is president of East Ramapo’s board of education.