Parents question effectiveness of monitor plan

Opinions are split over the effectiveness of the newly appointed state monitoring board tasked with overseeing the troubled East Ramapo Central School District.

Some people feel it's a step in the right direction, while others say it misses the mark.

State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia named former New York City School Chancellor Dennis Walcott to head up a three-member monitoring team before a large crowd at Rockland Community College.

But Walcott will not have veto power over actions of the school board, which is dominated by the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community.

There are still claims the board members act to help their own private religious schools at the expense of public education. Some of the board's critics go so far as to claim there is discrimination against non-orthodox Jewish students. "It's frustrating. We have had people come in before and now we're having more people come to look at it again," says former PTA President Kim Foskew.

Current PTA President Ramona Jones is hopeful that the monitor will help. "We went to Albany and asked for a monitor so I am happy we have one now," says Jones.

A spokesman for the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council says he hopes the presence of the monitor will give state officials a clear picture of what is happening in the district.

Some activists say they will once again push for a monitor with veto power when the state Legislature reconvenes in January.

The team of monitors is expected to start this fall.

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