New York's "cash-strapped" East Ramapo School District is considering dropping kindergarten as a means of addressing its budget problems, CBS New York reports.
“[T]he Rockland County district has kindergarten on the chopping block because its budget was rejected by voters, an apparent push-back from a large population of ultra-Orthodox Jewish residents who school their children elsewhere and feel overtaxed,” according to the report.
“People have had enough. The taxes in East Ramapo and Rockland in general are some of the highest in the United States. People have their children in private schools. They’re willing to support the public schools within reason if everybody carries their burden,” anti-tax activist Kalman Weber said.
Watch the CBS News update:
There are currently about 350 students attending kindergarten in East Ramapo.
“This is essential and if they have to cut it there’s going to be negative consequences,” one teacher, Patricia Ranney, said.
Whenever budget problems reach crisis levels (as they have in East Ramapo) the programs not required by the state are usually the first to go. Oh, and just in case you didn’t know, kindergarten isn’t required by the state.
“I’m scared for the future of our children,” kindergarten director Jacqueline Polanco said. When asked what would happen to the "fiber of education" if the county resorted to cutting kindergarten, Polanco said “all this is gone. All this is gone."
The report notes that a revised budget could be ready for another vote by June 19.
“It’s estimated that in the East Ramapo district two-thirds of all students attend private schools,” CBS reports. “Critics suggest the state needs to re-work the funding formula to make it less dependent on property taxes.”
Front page photo source: CBS New York.