Opening statements wrap up in suit against East Ramapo school district

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Opening statements wrapped up Monday in a lawsuit over the way the East Ramapo Central School District elects board members.

The Spring Valley branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People filed the lawsuit. It claims the way school board members are elected is unfair to minority students and doesn't necessarily give them a fair representation on the school board.

"No one is saying that Orthodox Jews should not have their interests represented. The issue is that minorities in the district are unable to have their needs addressed because they're unable to hold anyone electorally accountable in the system," says Perry Grossman, Senior Staff Attorney for the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Students in the district are 96% minorities yet on the school board their representation is three of the nine seats. The other six seats all held by Orthodox Jewish community members

The NAACP wants to change the voting system and wants the judge to institute a ward system so that people can vote for certain members of the school board from certain areas as opposed to the open system.

Officials from the East Ramapo school district say the system is fair and open and represents the majority of the community.

The defense went on to accuse this to be an issue with Orthodox Jews taking over the community and elections. 

If the trial takes place, it is expected to last for two weeks.

News 12 reached out to the school district's attorney but he declined to comment.

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