CHESTNUT RIDGE - The state education department just appointed a fiscal monitor to oversee East Ramapo School District's ongoing budget problems.
The monitor, Hank Greenberg, was appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo to help the embattled school district. Greenberg is an Albany attorney and former Cuomo advisor.
Dr. Oscar Cohen, education chair of the Spring Valley Chapter of the NAACP, says 75 percent of the students in the district go to private Jewish religious schools. The rest go to public school, but the district helps to finance many of the religious schools' operations, including providing school books and buses.
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Some say the school board in the largely minority community is run by elected Orthodox Jewish board members, which has led to budget cuts to the public schools, slashing teaching jobs and music, art and sports programs.
Community activists and religious leaders recently went to Albany to demand a change in the funding formula. Cohen says the first step through the new monitor is to see exactly where the money is going now.
There are some in the East Ramapo School District who say they are happy the monitor is on the way, but say they're taking a wait and see attitude.