Originally published in the Advocate

New York State Education Commissioner John King has denied Carol Anderson’s request to oust the six board members who supported the sale of Colton School in Ramapo, including former members Morris Kohn and Aron Wieder, and current members Moses Friedman, Moshe Hopstein, Eliyahu Solomon and Yehuda Weissmandl. Board members noted that with the 2 to 3 million dollars in legal fees including frivolous cases like this brought against them, it is getting difficult to fiscally operate.

Some members feel that these suits are being brought to intentionally bankrupt the district. The state education commissioner has also dismissed an East Ramapo school district challenge of the sale of the former school building, making the once controversial transaction move toward a sale after almost two years of uncertainty. School board President Daniel Schwartz said, “It’s a gratifying ruling. Essentially the commissioner adopted all our [ the board’s] arguments.”

Carole Anderson, had accused the East Ramapo Board of Education for failing to make an effort to get the best price for the aging building when it approved the sale of Colton School for $6.6 million to the Bais Malka/Hebrew Academy for Special Children in May 2011.

In his decision Commissioner King says Anderson didn’t “meet her burden of proof” in arguing that the Board of Education sold the building for less than market value.

According to the commissioner there was no right to complain against the sale in the first place. “I am unable to find the board’s sale of Colton for $6.6 million was for less than fair market value or was otherwise improper and, consequently, am unable to overturn it,” King stated in a memo sent to the district that explained his response to each side’s various arguments. The schools currently leases the building for use as their official building.

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