Ramapo School Board Vote

Seeking Common Ground: School and Ethnic Tensions in Rockland County

Thursday, May 23, 2013

With conflict deepening and public school classes already being slashed, voters in East Ramapo rejected a school budget yesterday, one of the few districts in New York State to do so. We'll get the latest on the school board vote from Mareesa Nicosia, reporter at The Journal News. 


Mareesa Nicosia

Comments [76]

Concerned Citizen from Suffern

First of all the ultra orthodox woman caller who decried the lack of extracurricular activities in the private schools was from Suffern. Suffern is not part of the East Ramapo School District; it is part of the Ramapo Central School District. The taxes in ERSD are much lower than those in RCSD. RCSD’school budget passed but looking toward the future, this may not be the case. RCSD laid of an enormous amount of teachers for the 2013-2014 school year, eliminated all librarians and tech support people, reduced the number of student advisers, cutting sports, music and art programs. ERCSD is cutting all art and music specialist, the teachers need to hold these instructions. They are considering reducing the school day for children. This is completely counter to the new NYS Core Common Standards.

Second, the woman claimed that ultra orthodox children and Hasidim children had to fight for the education of their children with special needs. This is the case for all children with special needs. Also, the children have been offered service, the parents didn’t like where the services were being offered, in the public schools. Being classified for special education doesn’t guarantee a guardian to pick and choose where the child goes. Children with special needs are guaranteed a fair and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment. It does not guarantee a guardian to select a private school for the child to go to. If the special needs services are offered in the public school than that is where the child goes. The money for special needs not only comes from local funding but also from state and federal funding.

Third the private schools in Rockland do get local funds. It just isn’t in the amount that is given to the public schools. So the taxes do go to private school funding.

Fourth, true RCSD parents do not pay for text books but we do pay for a plethora of other schools supplies such as sanitary hand wipes and disinfectants, pencils, paper, tissues, post-it notes, crayons, markers, highlighters, paper towels, erasers, pencils sharpeners, sketch books, etc.

May. 24 2013 10:09 AM
yocheved lindenbaum from Bergen county, nj

My children have all gone through the private school system and I live in Bergen county and pay quite high property taxes. I CHOSE to send my kids to private school knowing full well what the deficiencies were. I could have sent my children to public school and had all the programs offered. As a citizen of my community I feel a responsibility to pay for public schools. The community at large has the right to oversight of budget decisions, but not to do away with good school programming just because "we pay for all that, we don't have it, and neither should you." Separation of church and state allows you to set up your own religious institutions, but also limits how much can be received from the state in a religious institution.

May. 24 2013 09:37 AM

most interesting/relevant of the series so far, even though we have yet to be presented with basic, quantified facts.

i thought the first caller, the woman who asked the question, "we pay taxes so why can't they have their private schools funded," brought up a perfectly reasonable one to prompt a serious convo. Which would be helpful, since it's happening!

it sounds like a bad situation -- and whole states are in this situation elsewhere in the country (texas comes to mind) -- but it is a reasonable question that needs intelligent discourse. it's a radical idea (I know I personally disagree with it) but heck, it makes sense from Hasid's (and Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc.) POV.

I read through some of these comments, i'm not sure why some people bother writing mean and simple things.

May. 23 2013 09:53 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

A Jew can absolutely be an antisemite. History is full of them. As for living in the housing projects, we first lived in a tenement. Did we take advantage of a public service that was offered, i.e. subisidized housing? Well, if it had not existed we would not have taken advantage of it. But if it does exist, and if we qualified, why not? Why blame people for taking advantage of what the government offers? I don't say public schools shouldn't exist, but Jews learned how to read long before there were public schools. Jews didn't need public schools to learn how to read.
If the Hassidim are cheathing then absolutely prosecute them! By all means. But if they are living in accordance to the law, then what do you want from them?

May. 23 2013 06:36 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

jgarbuz - If we're so "individualistic," then why do we share responsibility for paying for collective services and benefits, like police and fire protection, schools, refuse collection, and the like? Think a sector of the public should be permitted to opt out of these, because they (mistakenly) don't believe they benefit from them? How about your parents, who you say scraped up tuition for private school for you, yet benefitted from socialised housing? Care to explain how that's fair?

My point isn't antisemitism--I can't be an antisemite if I can claim Jewish heritage, can I? This is about civic responsibility, and specifically about this particular community where hassidim want the benefits of the collective without realizing they have responsibilities to the collective. Unlike you, I can remain on topic in a cogent way. But hey--I was a public school student whose parents believed subsidized housing was for those who couldn't pull their weight--not for those who refused to. You demonstrate that you don't know the difference.

And would that we could prosecute the cheaters! They seem to enjoy pretty fierce representation by those who would want us to believe they merit a protected class, planted in the middle of those who don't believe they're any better than their neighbors. You tell me how a community can develop protection for themselves in the form of the Shomrim, yet need the NYPD and our court system to route out child molesters and killers? Again--you can't have it both ways.

May. 23 2013 04:56 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

to Thatagirl

This is an individualistic society ,not a collectivistic one. Every group and every individual has the right to live his or her or it's lifestyle as they wish, provided they obey the law and pay their fair share. Naturally, the Hassidim are going to take advantage of every loophole in the law, as indeed many others do. Stop singling them out. That is antisemitism. You don't have to like them, but they have their rights as citizens just like you. If they have broken the law, indict and prosecute them according to the law. If you want to change the law, do so. But don't blame them for doing what the law permits them to do and how they can live.

May. 23 2013 04:12 PM
mike from long island

2 points i'd like to make. one, even though taxes are paid by all, state aid is based on per pupil. less students in the buildings means less money to the district. that has to affect the budgets. second, "religious communities" usually have a high proportion of tax exempt properties. they claim to be Rev. this, Rabbi that, and we use our home as a place of worship. way too common, and not usually investigated. that is a tax base killer.

May. 23 2013 03:59 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

jgarbuz - Would that they were completely self-supporting/serving! Seems they're happy to take State and Federal provisions for special education, transportation (roads and otherwise), police/fire protection. Unless they are going to start with an unoccupied plot of land and build a wall around it, they cannot have it both ways. You claim the goyim create antisemitism; by separating themselves and not living collectively with others, it's little wonder why anyone brought up in our decidedly collectivist society would look askance at the need for exclusivity. That's not antisemitism.

May. 23 2013 03:15 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Pearl of Wisdom

I'm not saying what I want. I'm saying only what THEY want, which is to be left alone as much as humanly possible, to live their own unique lives. The same as the Amish in Pennsylvania. The same as "Indian" tribes. And they want the same in Israel too, not just in America. And every group should have that right provided that they can take care of their own needs by themselves in a legal way. And there is nothing in the US Constitution that prohibits that.

May. 23 2013 02:22 PM
Pearl of Wisdom from Ramapo

Buz...are you saying that you want tax exemptions from all taxes? State, federal sales, etc? I suggest that means they don't want to want to be part of the United States of America. Surely, that is not what you are suggesting?

May. 23 2013 02:01 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Pearl of Wisdom

If you get rid of the taxes placed on the Hassidic community, they WILL support themselves from cradle to grave! That is what Jewish communities did for THOUSANDS of years during the exile! In fact,when Peter Stuyvesant was forced by the board of the West INdies corporation in Amsterdam to allow the few dozen Jews first entry into New Amsterdam in 1654, it was stipulated in their charter that they would be self-supporting and would not have any public welfare to hope for. And hence the proliferation of Jewish hospitals and social institutions with Hebrew names, especially in New York.

May. 23 2013 01:23 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

Thank you, Pearl of Wisdom from Ramapo!
Since Reagan, it's been convenient to think of the welfare queen designation as the strict domain of people of color and immigrants; it's time to quantify the benefits taken, versus those paid for by the hassidim in your county--particularly where State and Federal benefits are concerned. This isn't just about taxes that go to schools.

May. 23 2013 01:21 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

thatgirl from manhattan, brilliant.

May. 23 2013 01:17 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

jm - It's very generous for you to try helping jgarbuz with his cognitive limitations, but civics lessons were clearly lacking at the yeshiva for which his parents struggled to pay. They chose to pay for that education, yet lived in publicly-subsidized housing. That he fails to see the conflict means you'll never reach him with logic.

May. 23 2013 01:16 PM
Pearl of Wisdom from Ramapo

So, the Hasidic community wants to impose a Yeshiva style education on the secular community. They don't want to pay for students of color to get the same kind of education as the rest of Rockland County public school students get. Do, is that a racist position? As far as creating a gerrymandered district is concerned....I am all for that as long as we have a cafeteria style tax system. I don't want to pay for the social welfare programs for a religious community that doesn't want to work and prefers to make their career studying Torah and popping out baby after baby. Trust me, the bill for Medicaid, food stamps, section 8 housing, WIC, free cell phones, etc. is probably 5 times as expensive than any school tax. If they don't want to support our education system, we don't want to support their lifestyle from cradle to grave. The Medicaid costs in Rockland Co. Account for 110% of the county's revenue....their addiction to social services is unsustainable. The way things are going, this Hasidic community is killing the host that they feed from. Eventually, there will be no one left to suck dry...then what?

May. 23 2013 01:14 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

emjayjay - I'm with you; plenty of people only observe the social contract in a way that benefits them alone. To wit: jgarbuz thinks only of his own school experience, beating his breast about his parents sending him to private yeshiva, and that yet they lived in subsidized housing! So in effect, the public helped pay for his private educational choice.

It's becoming more clear, with each of his rants, that this education didn't serve to make him feel he needed to fulfill his part of the contract; therein lies the problem for those in Ramapo who think nothing of using public money for private educational choices.

May. 23 2013 01:12 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To rose1954

Who asks why those who have no kids in public schools are elected to sit on school boards. The answer is, because they HAVE TO PAY THE TAXES TO PAY FOR THEM regardless! Remember, "No taxation without representation." You don't even have to have kids to be elected to the board. Taxpayers have the right to elect people watching out for what happens with their tax monies. That's why.

May. 23 2013 01:10 PM


"No taxation without representation." I'm not sure you quite understand the meaning and origin of this slogan.

If you truly believe in itemizing education in the United States, then you agree to abstain from all technological advances, products of engineering, health research & development, etc. contributed by individuals who may have received foundation or secondary public education at some phase in their schooling.

This also goes for non-Americans who are products of public education, since your philosophy isn't subject to boundaries.

(Thanks for playing.)

May. 23 2013 01:04 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

mrvalls - You cannot make an exception for this community without setting precedent, and tempting other communities to want to follow that dreadful "solution," which you'd admitted was "provocative." It's also a slippery slope--the hassidim can start to claim that they don't "use" police, fire protection and other manner of public services that serve the greater good.

If you really value consensus that's hammered out through discussion and debate, and that discussion and debate fails on a local level, then higher-level debate by State authorities needs to convene. Shrugging one's shoulders and simply caving to the gang mentality in this equation doesn't characterize a democracy.

May. 23 2013 01:00 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To emjayjay

Nothing in the US Constitution mentions public schools, or even state marriages. Public schooling, and public marriages, are things the government took on without any mention of them in the Constitution. The fact is that Jewish parents always had their kids educated to read and write, at least Hebrew, for 2000 years without public schools. I'm not against public schools in principle, but there are limits in the government mandates. There is no limit in what the liberal politicians can demand from the heavily squeezed middle class to support the unending demands of the public school industry. But when it comes to providing armed guards, oh no! But administrators, sports equipment, social workers GALORE!

May. 23 2013 12:55 PM

Jg. And that's the reason u are a loon? I thought it was all the women who aborted your children.
U got too much going on, buddy.

May. 23 2013 12:52 PM
Taher from CVroton on Hudson

jgarbuz from Queens, with your views we may want to considered having no mass education at all.
We’ll see how long, with mass illiteracy, we’ll be a GREAT NATION.

May. 23 2013 12:49 PM

jgarbuz: "Let those who want public schools pay for them"? Then they would all be private schools, not public schools. Businesses pay property and income and sales taxes that also go to things like public education. Why should they pay for anyone's kids to go to school? The don't have children by definition.

As a person who has no kids I would of course save a lot of money if the taxes I pay were not supporting public education. And all those working class families in my neighborhood could probably mostly only be able to send their kids to school for a couple of years as most. Well, I guess that's their problem.

I'm a bit taken aback by wnyc listeners who comment here and do not seem to understand the social contract we enter into by being a citizen of a modern country.

May. 23 2013 12:48 PM

Everyone should keep in mind that NYS taxpayers now foot the bill for NYC yeshiva students to receive bus service in the afternoons. The provision was part of the recently passed NYS budget.

May. 23 2013 12:46 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To hsj

My parents, Holocaust survivors, whose entire families were murdered, did NOT teach me to put on suicide vests and go murder Germans or anyone else.My parents kissed the ground in America, for letting us in in 1948. I didn't go to the crime-filled public schools in Brownsville because I probably would have been killed, or at least beaten up every day for my lunch money, and certainly would not have gotten any kind of education to speak of. Also, my parents had a tiny business both worked in very hard, and the Yeshiva kept me there from 8-5 PM, after which I was a latch-key kid in the Van Dyke housing projects till about 8 PM when my parents finally got back.

May. 23 2013 12:45 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To emjayjay

In Israel anyone can form a political party, as long as it is not a racist party that advocates, say throwing Arabs out of the country, as did the KACH party, which as a result was banned from the Knesset (the Parliament). In order to get a seat in the Knesset, you need to get 1/120th of the vote, because there are 120 seats there. So there are dozens and dozens of political parties. Hundreds even, but only those who can get 1/120th of the vote or more get seats in the legislature. So if religious parties get a few seats, and since a government can only be formed if it can assemble 61 seats or more, and since no single party ever gets a majority of votes, it means the government has to be a coalition of many parties. And since the religious parties extort monies from the treasury to help fund their yeshivas and keep their students from being drafted, they have indeed had a disproportionate amount of power. That is, until this last election, which is why we are seeing the kind of disturbances lately where the Hassidim are starting to take to passive resistance.

May. 23 2013 12:38 PM

The kind of thinking evidenced by the Ultra Orthodox woman who called in has of course been a problem as perceived by many in the larger society in many other ways. In Brooklyn, there were recently notices posted in certain areas by the Ultra Orthodox that women should step off sidewalks to let men have the whole thing and maybe (I don't remember exactly) avert their eyes, and some kind of controversy about MTA buses in those areas where women were supposed to (as I remember) sit in the back.

Probably any time there is a community that isolates itself from the larger society while believing they are special people chosen by God this kind of thinking will result.

May. 23 2013 12:37 PM

Are u blaming your parents for making go to that crazy school. Is that why u are such a loon?

May. 23 2013 12:36 PM
jgarbuz from Queens


"No taxation without representation!" Let those who want public schools pay for them, and let those who want to send their kids to private schools pay for their own private schools. How's that? Let rich Gentiles like Bill Gates pay for private schools, and let rich Christians pay for Catholic and Protestant private schools, and let rich Jews and Muslims pay for their own children's schools. Let those who go to, and want public schools pay the taxes to pay for them.

May. 23 2013 12:30 PM

jgarbuz: A bit off topic, and I don't know the details and could be wrong, but I believe that because of provisions in their constitution the Ultra Orthodox in Israel also have disproportionate political power.

May. 23 2013 12:30 PM
Lawrence from Jericho, NY

jgarbuz, you're full of nonsense. I grew up on Wyona and Dumont. The area was a "ghetto" when it was predominantly Italian and Jewish.

Its also worth noting that the reason why Brownsville stayed a poor neighborhood was because it was redlined by the banks. The poor Blacks and Hispanics moved in "overnight" because when whites were able to get mortgages and move into other neighborhoods while many Blacks and Hispanics were shut out of mortgage lending and better neighborhoods. Also, Brownsville property values were purposely kept low so that the City could obtain land cheap and build housing developments via "slum clearance" using Federal Title 1 funding under the Housing Act. Banks, developers and construction companies raked in millions of dollars from the government to build housing projects.

May. 23 2013 12:30 PM


"Maybe the answer is to abolish public schools altogether?"

How utterly arrogant of you to believe your experiences and choices reflect those across this country, not to mention in previous generations before you were born.

Maybe the answer should be, you are free to move to a country without public education.

May. 23 2013 12:26 PM

@ thatgirl from manhattan. Uhmmm no, I did not contradict myself. I believe, and pay dearly for my belief, that public education is an investment in our country's future. I also believe, that deeply held beliefs of a particular group, particularly if they are in the majority, cannot be disregarded. I live in a diverse community where plurality is respected and consensus is hammered out through discussion and debate. In this community, it is clear that the Hasidim are the majority opinion. In this VERY PARTICULAR case (I am not saying we should extrapolate to other communities from this example) perhaps separation is a more equitable solution. I don't see these polar opposite views arriving at a consensus agreement that will satisfy everyone. Sometimes you have to agree to disagree and move on.

May. 23 2013 12:22 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Taher

Israel allows and even DEMANDS that every minority group - Arabs, Circassians, Armenian Christians - all have their own schools to teach in Arabic as well as English, as well as having a public school system that anyone can attend. Israel has never sought to be a "melting pot"but rather to allow every group to retain its own culture, language, and individual identity. In fact, this was part of the League of Nations Mandate from 1922, that stated that every group be allowed to retain its own cultural and religious identity.The only problem Israel has is that the Hassidim, as well as the Arabs, were given the right not to be drafted into the IDF. And as their percentage of the population has grown, the burden falls on fewer and fewer regular Israelis. The Druze and others chose to be full mainstream Israelis and agreed to be part of the IDF. Also, the Arab and Hassidic sector get disproportionate amounts of welfare.

May. 23 2013 12:20 PM

I was pleased at the coincidence of Mr. Lehrer's incites, concerning non-citizen immigrant access to the privilege of citizen voting, to the concern I was waiting on the phone to express. Now, I'm not privy to the WNYC style book which apparently bars Mr. Lehrer from making any distinctions between illegal, undocumented, legal immigrants. I think he phrased his concerns as "Do immigrants get to vote?" (Did he expect an answer such as, "Only second generation."?)
I guess my second concern would be similarly crude: Are the inbreeding behavior patterns of the Hasidim responsible for any extra demand their children's "special" needs place on the public's resources? (Assuming one can ever find, or get the government to disclose, the spread sheet entries where those expenses are entered.)
A possibly interesting discussion, thoroughly "h-o-n-d-l-e-d" for maximum insipidness.

May. 23 2013 12:16 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

jgarbuz from Queens, my view is simple I do not want to live in a state where I am funding relgious based education. You want your kid to worship a rock at school you pay for that education. No hands out of my taxes
to any one, no one.

May. 23 2013 12:16 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Maybe the answer is to abolish public schools altogether? I got my education in a yeshiva up to the 10th grade that my parents struggled to pay for, and still managed to get a full REgents State Scholarship and whizzed through the 10-12th grades with almost a 90% average thanks to the education I got in the prior 10 years of Jewish parochial school, without the bands, or the sports teams, etc. Let everyone pay for their own kids education, or not at all.

May. 23 2013 12:13 PM
thatgirl from manhattan

mrvalls - You've contradicted yourself. If you really believe "Ultimately providing for our youth is an investment in our country's future," and then advocate for tax money to be equally shared by private and public school students in a district, particularly when the private school students aren't going to participate in the collective future/potential of the country, but rather maintain a decidedly insular life that doesn't participate in the country at large.

Publicly-funded education is for the greater good. It provides for a proportion of children to have other educational and career aspirations. I don't have children, but like jm and others, support the greater good that a public school education provides the larger proportion of our population. Want something different for your child, like a life that's separate from that larger population? You pay for it.

May. 23 2013 12:12 PM
Kim from Pomona NY

What bothers me the most about this is the claim of a bloated Public School budget and need for Lower Taxes is a false one. As a public school attendee, I can only get transportation to the school nearest my house. But a private school attendee can get transportation to a school up to 50 miles away. As a public school student, my daughter's teacher has to photo copy pages from books, because there are not enough to go around, but I see the Board spend money on religious textbooks for private schools. The private school community receives a newsletter from the District updating program information to which they are entitled, yet I have not once received a District Newsletter in the six years we've been attending East Ramapo Schools. Cuts I understand. Cuts that are one-sided, I don't.

May. 23 2013 12:11 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

jgarbuz from Queens, are you for the separation of church and state or do we have deal with the same issues that Israel is dealing with today? Namely funding support of certain religious sects by the State.

May. 23 2013 12:10 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Taher

The government MANDATES that all schools have this ,that or the other, but expect local taxpayers to pay for all of these mandates ,which never cease to grow! The "poor minorities" are not expected to pay for anything! There are limits to what taxpayers can pay for. The Hassidim don't use most of those things, so why should they have to pay for the excesses mandated by liberals?

May. 23 2013 12:09 PM

I sure wish the up and down arrows were working. Somehow a vote or two got through, but not mine. (Internet Explorer)

My parents had four kids who were all sent to parochial schools. My parents never said a word in complaint about their property taxes going to public schools. It was their choice. And at that time (in New York State) in parochial schools we did not get free buses or free textbooks or free special education classes from tax money. As many have already commented here, if you want to send your kids to a private school that is a choice you have made and you have no right to complain on and on - and in this case exaggerate - about what is (or in this case mostly was) available in public schools.

As usual Brian Lehrer let way too much get by without any critical response.

I too have no kids and have been paying for public education all my adult life.

Another separate issue that was not brought up this time is that the Ultra Orthodox community apparently because of intermarriage has more children than normal needing for special education services.

May. 23 2013 12:08 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

My view is simple. None of my property taxes should go to private schools. My taxes are about funding public schools. Not private, religious or otherwise.
Dose the public want to fund Islamic schools that might teach points of Sharia?
New York’s law on public funding for private needs to be challenged and go to the US Supreme Court where we might find some definition as to what is a separation of Church/Synagogue/Masque/Temple and State.
You want to send your kid to private school ? You pay for it.

May. 23 2013 12:05 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Stephen Katz

No, the expectation of the so-called "poor minorities" expect or are "entitled" to get FOR FREE has become unending! They expect bands, and art, and after school programs, and large sports fields, and social workers, and the list is unending, just to get their votes. The Hassidic schools have none of those things. if they want to split the town into those who go to public schools and the Hassidim who don't, that's fine with me. I'm not a Hassid and could care less about them, but there is no reason why I should care more for "poor minorities" who liberals believe should get everything rich districts get but for FREE!

May. 23 2013 12:05 PM

I'm going to be somewhat provocative here: split the town into two - Hasidim town with no public school and non-Hasidim town with a public school. Real estate tax base will directly support each district's separate educational choices. Based on the callers' positions, I don't see a common ground, especially when it appears that currently the majority of the town population is Hasidim with very different views on education vs. the non-Hasidim population. It's not clear to me that these two very opposing viewpoints and philosophies regarding education can be reconciled. We "gerrymander" political districts all the time, why not try "gerrymandering" school districts? For the record, I live in a high property tax town in North Jersey and have no children. I understand that my taxes support the greater community and maintain the value of our real estate. Ultimately providing for our youth is an investment in our country's future.

May. 23 2013 12:00 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Jon,

The Hassidim there are the majority and should not be forced to pay excessively for every program the minority expects to get for FREE at the expense of the majority taxpayers. There is no end to the number of "programs" the "poor minorities" expect to get at the expense of the tax paying majority! Let them have in their public schools what the Hassidim have in their private schools! No more and no less! if they don't like it, they are free to move to more generous districts. They are not captives in a closed ghetto. They can leave and go to places where generous, rich liberals can support every whim they feel a public school "must have."

May. 23 2013 12:00 PM
mary from new jersey

With this logic perhaps childless or senior taxpayers should be exempt from paying property taxes since they don't directly benefit from their tax dollars at work. Strong public schools enhance the value of a town/city. Provide private schools with services required by law, but begrudging a quality education to your local public school will degrade and devalue the entire community.

May. 23 2013 11:59 AM
Stella Katz from downtown

The disproportionate sense of entitlement expressed by parents who want to send their children to parochial schools but resent paying taxes which support public education is outrageous. In a democracy, people can choose to send their children to public or parochial schools. A yeshiva is a parochial school. Parochial schools are funded privately, not publicly. Parents who do not support public education should not be on the school board, which allocates public funds for public schools. What is it about democracy these parents don't understand? Instead of whining they could be fund-raising.

May. 23 2013 11:58 AM

Thanks. You get it. We are all in the same boat.

May. 23 2013 11:57 AM
thatgirl from manhattan

No one seems willing to talk about what the public school parents expect for their children's potential, beyond high school, versus those in private schools.

If your expectation for your child is to have a bare bones "education," that's decidedly religious rather than academic, and that the next step in life is to marry them off to breed more children, without a hope of them going to college and developing a career, then your values don't and won't ever mesh with those who want their children to have that potential.

The role of school for each of these cohorts is completely different. Can they really expect to have common ground when one side doesn't want their children to partake of a life that's expected for the larger world outside of Ramapo?

May. 23 2013 11:56 AM
Jon from Manhattan

As a product of 12 years of private grammar and secondary school education, in no way should the state be paying for parochial education. Period. If a parent feels that the public schools are in any way non-ideal, then they are free to send them to parochial education. This issue in East Ramapo is nothing short of the tyranny of the majority. Some residents of the town are angry that there is this thing called the Establishment Clause in the Constitution. If the Hasidim are so upset then I suggest they take up arms and overthrow the government and establish their own constitution. Nothing short of that, they should deal with it and stop this childish and pernicious xenophobia whose only aim to to punish these "other" children.

May. 23 2013 11:54 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

My mother made me go to Yeshiva when I was a kid growing up in Brownsville East NY, when the area went from predominantly Black and Hispanic almost overnight, where I spent 8-5 everyday, and at great cost to my poor parents. The place was a rundown hovel surrounded by slums, but we got a good education nonetheless. There was only a small courtyard to play during recess/lunch. My parents broke their back to pay the $100 a month to send me there in the 1950s. The only thing the government paid for was milk and cookies once a day. WE had no bands, no music, no teams, no sports facilities,no nothing, but most of us came out reasonably well educated nonetheless.

May. 23 2013 11:54 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

Everybody pays taxes that support public schools. If you want to send your kids to private school, you're responsible. That's our democracy. End of story.

May. 23 2013 11:53 AM
philip from brooklyn

public school is paid by the public(taxes)
Private School is a privilege and if you decide to spend extra to go to private school you should give up your public tax money .. Public money should not pay for private schools.

same for private college, private clubs, private parks,

If your private school sux then leave it -

May. 23 2013 11:52 AM
Teal from pomona

twenty years we have paid E.Ramapo school taxes while sending our children through private (not Yeshiva-) Waldorf school. That's America. I'm OK with it though I estimate we have paid about $80,000.00 to educate other people's children. It was our choice.

May. 23 2013 11:51 AM
Burtnor from Manhattan

Thank you, jm and hb. This is a ludicrous argument. Shame on parochial school parents who are demanding public money for religious education! That is NOT the responsibility of the state, indeed it violates our traditional separation of church and state.

May. 23 2013 11:50 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To hjs

GEntiles beget antisemitism. It existed before there even were public schools. Unless you expect Jews to become something they are not? The US forced "Indians" to become "Anglicized" and some "Indians" still resent being forced to be something they are not. Every tribe has the right to retain its own cultural and religious identity if they choose to do so. Nobody should be forced to be that which they are not.

May. 23 2013 11:49 AM
bob from Manhattan

So -- those who have no children should not pay school taxes???

ask you staff to find the first public school in the US -- how did people get educated before that? --

May. 23 2013 11:48 AM
The Truth in Rockland from East Ramapo

One Caller said she is paying for textbooks in the yeshiva? Why? Textbooks are provided free by the school district. She is being ripped off by the yeshiva!

A Private School Student can be on a sports team or club in the public school if the private school doesn't have the team or club. A pure lie by the Yeshiva school community that they don't access to these services.

May. 23 2013 11:47 AM

You want your child to be in a band, send them to public school and stop being separatists. America is the great melting pot. Melt.

Public taxes go to public school. This is not rocket science. You want to be "private," pay for it with private funds.

May. 23 2013 11:47 AM
Marrach from Brooklyn!!!

I wonder about the TAX issue. If the school system is being funded by Property Taxes, how many of the Hasidim are actually HOMEOWNERS. Here in Brooklyn, it is common knowledge in the street that MOST Hasidim, even the ones who Line in one family homes, are TENANTS. Someone else-- usually a Synagogue or a Management company owned by a Rabbi-- OWNS the House. And if this is so-- the whole LOWER TAXES argument is all a way for the Hasidic Leaders to get Lower Real Estate Costs for the Real Estate Owners. The Hasidic Tenants only Vote as they are Told by their Rabbi.

May. 23 2013 11:46 AM

Segregation begets antisemitism

Caller they know what they are to the schools

May. 23 2013 11:46 AM

Geoff: thank you. As a confirmed child-free citizen, I consider public school taxes to be an investment in overall community-building (inclusive of all backgrounds) and infrastructure, one which even transfers over state lines.

May. 23 2013 11:45 AM
Burtnor from Manhattan

There is NO obligation of all taxpayers to support private schools of any kind with so much as one penny. If parents using parochial schools decry the lack of bands and sports, they should pay more to provide them. They CHOOSE those schools and the services they do or do not provide for the tuition. If they want more services without increased costs, they can use the PUBLIC schools.

to jgarbuzz -- in the first, as Brian pointed out, we are not talking about excesses. In the second place, we all pay taxes for things we do not use or, in many cases, even like. That's what living together in a society is about.

May. 23 2013 11:43 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

Private school activities should be paid for by tuition. If tuition doesn't cover all the educational and extra-curricular activities, then the tuition should be raised. The option is for private school students to attend public schools. The US Constitution gives us each a free education. Those who choose to send their children to private schools need to pay for it out-of-pocket.

Public school education is free, as dictated by the Constitution, and all the academic and extra-curricular activities that take place there are available to any and all students who attend.

When I attended East Ramapo schools, we had students who came to the public schools for academics and then went to yeshiva later in the day for religious education. Those students didn't have to pay extra for the public school portion of their education. And yeshiva students who attend public schools for special education do NOT have to pay for that privilege.

May. 23 2013 11:42 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

To hjs

Many Jews do go to "normal" schools, if you call public schools "normal." But some Jews prefer parochial schools as do many Catholics. You have the right to send your kids to private schools, unless you want to force everyone to go to public schools by law? Some Jews don't want their kids subjected to antisemitism as many Jews do get subjected to quite frequently. I can attest to this personally in high school.

May. 23 2013 11:42 AM

part of the issue is that high taxes pay for bloated administration. if the administrators of school districts really cared they would take marginal paycuts or salary freezes. the East Ramapo Superintendent makes nearly $275,000 a year for 9000 students in the public schools. Suburban school districts and residents equate price and quality and there is no such correlation with regards to people.

May. 23 2013 11:42 AM
Yehuda from NJ

I agree with @jgarbuz. They're already paying disproportionately, since in addition to paying property taxes they're paying tuition for their own schools. @hjs11211, they do go to normal schools. They don't go to public schools the same reason Catholic parents send their kids to Catholic parochial schools: the public school system doesn't reflect their personal beliefs or standards.

May. 23 2013 11:41 AM

Shame on them. We ALL pay property taxes, whether directly or by way of renting.

I have no children, therefore no children in the local public schools. I'd never expect to have a say in how schools are run.

Even if you don't choose to place your children in public schools, they still exist as an option for children of all cultural and religious backgrounds.

May. 23 2013 11:41 AM

The Hassidim agenda is to gut the public school system, period. Ask them about theocratic thugs throwing rocks at firetrucks on a Saturday, or destroying homes they've defaulted on because they refuse to obey the laws of the land.

May. 23 2013 11:41 AM
Geoff from West Orange

I don't have kids, should I still have to pay property taxes to fund public schools? I would love to "opt out" but I appreciate that strong public schools make my investment in a home in the town more valuable...

May. 23 2013 11:40 AM
hb from Brooklyn

They are PRIVATE schools! You can't have both worlds - if you want your children separated from the "goys" then you cannot complain about the lack of amenities. Do you really expect to funnel tax payer money into private institutions that benefit only your sect? Completely ludicrous.

May. 23 2013 11:40 AM

The caller doesn't understand her children are allow to go to the normal public school. But for the fact that she wants to raise her children in a cult.

May. 23 2013 11:40 AM
Dan Blazer from Orange County

Didn't they check the tax code before they moved there? How is that fair to the people that were there before? They can use the public schools if they want to. So if I don't use a particular road, I should not pay taxes on it?

May. 23 2013 11:35 AM

Why can't the Jews go to normal schools ?

May. 23 2013 11:34 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

If the Hassidim are the majority in that district, and if the Hassidim send their own children to parochial schools, and if the Hassidim are paying their taxes, why should they have to bear the disproportionate costs of supporting the excesses of public schools they do not use?

May. 23 2013 11:32 AM

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