A New York State Supreme Court judge has upheld a New York State Department of Education finding that the scandal-plagued haredi-controlled East Ramapo school district’s practice of placing haredi students with disabilities in yeshivas when public school placements were open and available broke state law.
Scandal-Plagued Haredi-Controlled School Board Loses Lawsuit Against State
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
A New York State Supreme Court judge has upheld a New York State Department of Education finding that the scandal-plagued haredi-controlled East Ramapo school district’s practice of placing haredi students with disabilities in yeshivas when public school placements were open and available broke state law, the Journal News reported.
East Ramapo claimed it was saving money by placing the students in yeshivas because doing so avoided lawsuits and other legal maneuvering by parents from the district’s large haredi community — who want their children educated in religious schools and who expect the district to pay for that.
“This decision means the district will have to make the right changes to ensure East Ramapo students get the right services — the services they deserve,” the New York State Department of Education spokesperson, Dennis Tompkins, reportedly said in a prepared statement Friday.
The East Ramapo district filed the suit against the New York State Department of Education in March 2013, arguing that it was legal to have one district representative quickly settle disputes with parents who challenge special education placements.
In his December 30 decision, Judge Michael Melkonian reportedly upheld the New York State Department of Education in every point of the lawsuit and concluded that East Ramapo failed to meet its burden of proof.
East Ramapo’s practice of conducting 12 special education placement resolution sessions by one district employee in a single day “indeed suggests individual consideration had not been given and the meetings were pro forma exercises to change CSE placement recommendation to the parent’s preference,” Melkonian reportedly ruled, adding that the State Department of Education’s cease and desist order issued to the East Ramapo school district does not interfere with settlement of disputes.
This fall, under pressure from various scandals that had rocked the district and after its former president, Orthodox attorney Daniel Schwartz, abruptly resigned, East Ramapo started a bilingual Yiddish and Spanish special education program so students could be accommodated in the district. Its officials reportedly say they were able to bring a number of students back to district schools because of that new program.
[Hat Tips: Devorah, Pear of Wisdom.]