Pearl River, NY -- (7/5/16) Tom DePrisco, candidate for the 38th Senate District in New York, today released the following statement regarding the Rockland County Times Letter to the Editor written by Senator David Carlucci's Chief of Staff, Jay Martin:
Jay Martin begins and ends his letter with references to my Republican Party affiliation. He assails the Republican Party for not helping East Ramapo. Jay inaccurately states that I am running for the NYS Senate “to support the Republican Majority that blocked the original bill.” This is absolutely untrue. In fact, for several years I have been advocating for passage of strong and effective oversight legislation which would benefit East Ramapo. This is in contrast to the opinions of the senate leadership. I am just one example proving that republicans do care. Jay needs to be reminded that resolving this issue should not and must not continue to be discussed along partisan lines. Let us not forget that we are talking about the well-being of over 8,000 public school students.
It is interesting to note that David Carlucci, an elected democrat, is also a member of the Independent Democratic Conference which caucuses and sides with the senate republicans regarding many issues. Why couldn’t David convince the republican leadership to pass the original legislation? While I truly appreciate Jay’s expectations of my lobbying capabilities, maybe David should have spent his time lobbying his own IDC and republican colleagues to approve the original bill.
With regard to the monitors, last year’s failed bill had a more precise and defined protocol regarding the monitor’s ability to appeal certain financial decisions, made by the school board, to the Commissioner of Education. This year’s bill lacks this provision. My ultimate preference as a fellow elected school board member is not to have a monitor in place. Remember though that two independent evaluators have specifically stated the need for a monitor. I am appreciative that the Education Commissioner will have oversight over the budget.
It has been well documented that $14 million per year is required to restore the massive cuts made to the public school education programs. I need to remind Jay that David’s compromise bill last year would have provided $5 million per year for three years. This year’s bill only provides $3 million for one year. Again, I will ask the simple questions: What happened? Why are you only proposing short-term “band-aid” solutions? Why take a huge step backward? Why do our elected state representatives consistently wait until the last minute and at the end of the legislative session in June to provide additional funding for East Ramapo? If this additional funding were approved before the adoption of the school district budget in May, East Ramapo may have had the opportunity to implement some program enhancements in September, the beginning of the 2016-17 school year. In order to effectively restore academic programs on a long-term basis, a school district requires a reliable and known long-term sustainable source of revenue. $3 million for one year with future uncertainties is not the answer.
The senate and assembly representatives must acknowledge the complexities and uniqueness of East Ramapo and strive to plan for a viable long-term strategy to resolve this issue - a strategy that works for all of the children of East Ramapo and all of the taxpayers. Sadly, I have not seen this happening during the last six years. I stand committed and ready to achieve this goal."
- To read Jay Martin's Letter to the Editor, click here.
- To read Tom DePrisco's article about the East Ramapo School District, click here.
Tom DePrisco is a resident of Pearl River. He serves as the Vice President of the Pearl River School District School Board and the Rockland County School Boards Association. For more information visit www.TomDePrisco.com.