Current and former board members of the East Ramapo Central School District in New York’s Rockland County were accused by parents in a lawsuit of taking money away from public education in favor of Jewish institutions.
Dozens of parents alleged that the board systematically allowed children qualifying for special education to be transferred to private Jewish schools at the district’s expense, according to a complaint filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court,
The parents further alleged that the board arranged with area Jewish school directors to distribute Title I funding to religious schools and allowed for public funds to be used to buy Jewish textbooks. The board also hastily approved a deal to sell an elementary school building to a Jewish organization for less than its initial appraisal, even as the East Ramapo district was cutting the budget for programs at the public schools, according to the complaint.
The defendants “have engaged in numerous schemes to siphon off public money to support private religious institutions in various yeshivas, forcing a large cut in instructional programming in the public schools to a degree that the right of public school children to an education is impugned,” attorneys Arthur Schwartz and Stephanie Torre wrote in the complaint.
Joel Klein, the district’s superintendent, didn’t immediately respond to a phone message yesterday seeking comment on the complaint.
The case is Montesa v. Schwartz, 12-cv-06057, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).