Nine months after parents filed a federal lawsuit accusing East Ramapo school officials of steering public tax dollars to private religious schools and segregating special-education students, the East Ramapo school district will have to turn over records to the plaintiffs – records that could show that the haredi-dominated school board looted the district and funneled money meant for public school students to yeshivas.
The Journal News reports:
[Hat Tips; Devorah, Ruthie.]
Nine months after parents filed a federal lawsuit accusing East Ramapo school officials of steering public tax dollars to private religious schools and segregating special-education students, the records-gathering process in the case can begin.
A judge ruled on a handful of motions in federal court Thursday allowing the discovery process to move forward after months of contention between the district’s lawyers and Advocates for Justice, the New York City public-interest law firm representing more than 300 plaintiffs in the suit.
U.S. Magistrate Judge George Yanthis’ rulings resulted in wins and losses for each side…: Lawyer David Butler will continue representing the school district after Yanthis dismissed the Advocates’ motion that his involvement posed a conflict of interest. He also ruled the district cannot be a plaintiff in the Advocates’ case against its will; it will be a defendant.…
The Advocates, meanwhile, will gain access to a stash of documents from the district and its attorney, Albert D’Agostino, for everyday matters that detail out-of-district placements East Ramapo has arranged for almost 300 special-education students. Such records are protected by federal privacy laws; Yanthis ruled that they could be disclosed in a redacted form with the students’ initials and state ID numbers included.
The Advocates are seeking a much broader records disclosure including which placements were not reimbursed by the state; that request will be put on hold for the moment, Yanthis said.
“There will be more discovery…but we’ve got to get started,” he said.…