East Ramapo Superintendent Dr. Joel Klein defends actions of school board

Klein says the call by the clergy for state oversight is misplaced. (4/9/14)

EAST RAMAPO - The superintendent of the East Ramapo School District is defending the actions of his school board a day after frustrated parents and a coalition of local clergy called on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to have the state step in.

Superintendent Dr. Joel Klein says the problems in his district are not about race and religion as much as they are about dollars and cents. Klein says he understands the frustration expressed by several dozen clergy members at a church in Spring Valley Tuesday over cuts to important programs.

The clergy members also called for Cuomo to oversee the fiscal and administrative duties of the East Ramapo School Board. The problem, says Klein, is that the district had to absorb close to $47 million in state and federal school aid cuts in the last five years, and something had to give.

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Klein says the call by the clergy for state oversight is misplaced. He says the state education department already receives their budgets and financial statements.

A spokesperson for the governor's office told News 12 that an 11 percent increase in state aid for East Ramapo is in the budget for next year. Meanwhile, Klein says this year's budget is balanced and next year's should have a surplus.

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