State comptroller ranks East Ramapo most fiscally stressed school district in state
The state comptroller has ranked East Ramapo the most fiscally stressed district in the state.
The comptroller's report says, "School districts are given a fiscal stress score based on several factors: year-end fund balance, operating deficits and surpluses, cash position, and reliance on short-term debt for cash flow."
The report shows most schools did better last school year, thanks to pandemic aid - but not East Ramapo.
Superintendent Clarence Ellis, who just started over summer, says that's in the past.
"Since 2015, the East Ramapo Central School District has demonstrated our commitment to expanding programs and support services and improving our facilities," he writes.
This summer, lawmakers already gave the state monitors who have been here for years more power, allowing them to sometimes veto school board decisions.
It's the board parents have a problem with. There are about 9,500 kids in public schools but 30,000 in the district because most go to private yeshivas.
Many public-school parents feel board members prefer those schools and don't represent their kids, but parents can't vote for change because many aren't citizens.
The district just had to pay millions of dollars after losing a federal case over how school board members are elected.
Budget votes often fail there, and there have been threats of mass layoffs.
Ellis says moving forward, the district will look for opportunities to save money.
"We will continue to carefully and strategically manage our financial resources while being mindful of our taxpayers," he says.