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East Ramapo Residents Blast NY’s Funding Formula After Defeating School Budget

Residents and activists of East Ramapo have issued a scathing statement excoriating the New York State school funding formula after they jointly defeated the school budget on Tuesday night:

On May 21, 2024, residents of the East Ramapo Central School District voted to defeat the proposed school budget, taking a unified stance against the flawed state funding formula that inaccurately characterizes the district’s needs and resources. The current formula, set by Albany, fails to account for the large number of children in East Ramapo requiring government aid, erroneously labeling the district as wealthy, despite being one of the poorest according to the US Census.

Importantly, the residents of East Ramapo wish to clarify that their vote against the proposed school budget is not due to dissatisfaction with the local school district. They deeply appreciate the efforts made by the district to provide quality education and hold the teachers, administrators, and staff members in high regard. Their concern lies with Albany’s failure to provide the necessary funds, making the residents feel like a mere piggy bank for the district’s expenses.

The residents of East Ramapo have long recognized the importance of providing quality education to all children. However, the existing funding formula, which fails to adequately address the unique challenges faced by the district, has hampered their efforts to deliver the education the students deserve. This formula has perpetuated inequality and hindered the district’s ability to provide essential resources, programs, and opportunities to its students.

Our community is deeply frustrated by the ongoing misrepresentation of our financial status and the consequent lack of adequate funding. Representative Zebrowski’s proposal to increase oversight is a superficial solution that does not address the crux of our issues. Oversight is not our problem; the fundamental issue is the lack of necessary aid from Albany. We regard Representative Zebrowski’s actions as dismissive and insulting to the intelligence and dedication of our community members who are striving for a better education for our children. We are pleased that Mr. Zebrowski is leaving Albany, and we hope that his successor will work on real solutions rather than mocking the East Ramapo children.

We also urge the State-appointed Monitor to be candid when faced with unproductive comments from Albany officials. Do not allow them to feign support for our district while doing the opposite. Confront them with the unvarnished truth about our needs and challenges.

We are calling for an immediate, meaningful dialogue with our state representatives to address these persistent funding inequities. We seek to establish a fair and accurate formula that reflects the true needs of our district, ensuring all our children receive the quality education they deserve. This dialogue must move beyond surface-level fixes and engage with the real structural problems affecting the East Ramapo Central School District.
The residents of East Ramapo stand united in their demand for respect, recognition, and responsiveness from state leadership. It is past time to rectify these systemic flaws and work collaboratively toward sustainable, effective solutions for our community.

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