New Direction for Ramapo addresses New Hempstead school situation, criticizes local politicians


Bill Weber, Shani Bechhofer, Grant Valentine (The Reform and Republican ticket)

Once again, we witnessed the sad spectacle of school children suffering due to adult malfeasance, irresponsibility, and politicking.  Below is our position on the matter, having spoken with representatives of the school, the parent body, and the fire departments.

  • We think stability and uninterrupted education is vital for students from all backgrounds and faiths.  We believe that before issuing statements assigning blame, County Executive Day and other elected officials should have sat with their constituents and community leaders to identify an appropriate temporary learning location.  In fact, we believe this should be the immediate consideration of any elected official whenever constituents and school children not personally at fault are displaced from their homes or institutions, especially when government itself played a contributing role. It should not matter whether they are children or seniors, black, brown, or white, Jewish, Christian, or Muslim.  This commitment is stated in writing in our platform.
  • We call on the leaders of the villages, the Town, the fire departments and the State monitor to agree on shared guidelines for enforcing State and local codes, so as to protect residents and institutions from being caught in the middle between competing interests and standards.
  • We call on lawyers, contractors, and other local “expert” advisors to stop telling school leaders here in Ramapo that it is wise for them to violate the law, bypass safety regulations, or deceive officials.  It’s the students who will suffer the consequences.
  • We believe the Town must identify ideal areas suitable for schools, and streamline and reform the process to build schools in those areas rather than shoehorn them into sites and buildings where they do not belong.  This will take place early in our administration as part of the much-needed review and updating of the Comprehensive Plan.
  • We reject the inaccurate accusation that the Ateres school engaged in “seek forgiveness not permission.”  This school was granted a Certificate of Occupancy before they moved into their premises.  It is unacceptable to assume the worst about every Orthodox institution and person just because of the bad actions of a few.
  • We urge everyone to seek credible solutions to the overwhelming need for classroom space and renounce the kind of bickering, posturing, and finger pointing that divides us.

And we need leaders who, by word and deed, bridge divides and with wisdom bring the communities of Ramapo together.

Bill Weber         Shani Bechhofer         Grant Valentine

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