Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski’s Statement on East Ramapo Oversight Legislation

“With today’s legislative adjournment, the State Senate leadership turned its back on the students of East Ramapo. The bill that passed the Assembly (A.5355A) was a measured and reasonable approach that had the support of the State Assembly, State Education Department and Governor Cuomo. It was also backed by education, religious, legal and civil rights organizations. Since the Assembly bill's passage, I have attempted to negotiate with the Senate and the bill's opponents, but the Senate flat out refused to compromise.

At the end of the day, the Senate refused to allow a monitor that had any power other than the enforcement of State or Federal Law. The State Education Commissioner, State Comptroller and Attorney General already have these powers. The monitor must have broader authority in order to be effective in ensuring students are receiving an appropriate education. I want to be clear; the Assembly was willing to compromise on the time period, comptroller’s powers, veto process and appointment powers but would not agree to the Senate’s dismantling of the monitor’s authority. Their proposal stripped the monitor’s ability to intervene when deemed necessary to protect the quality of public education and that was something we would not let happen.

I want to assure the public that this is not the end of our fight. This week’s report by the State Education Department further reiterates that students are not being provided the necessary tools to graduate and enter the workforce. I will be formally requesting the State Education Department to use their existing broad statutory authority to impose sanctions, controls and oversight to protect these students. I also will request that the State Comptroller conduct regular audits so that we can get a clear picture of the district’s finances. I want to thank both of these agencies for their prior work and look forward to our continued collaboration to improve the educational opportunities of the East Ramapo students. We cannot stop our efforts until the rights of these children are protected.”