With more than 100 people and standing room only for some, Tuesday night’s Nanuet School Board meeting began with the board clearing up rumors that had been floating around the community.
Nanuet Not Dissolving
Parent Don Habas said that he and his wife were talking to a Chestnut Ridge resident who told them that the state may take over and dissolve the East Ramapo School District and East Ramapo School students may be distributed to surrounding districts.
“There are numerous concerns and rumors,” said Habas.
“We’ve heard the rumors,” said Anne Byrne, president of the School Board. “They are just that … rumors. The Nanuet School District is not dissolving. Whatever the state does with the East Ramapo School District, that will be up to the state to decide. Probably 15 years ago, (the state) took over a school in Long Island … and they took it over for about 10 years before turning it back over to the community ... Since then, there has been a new chancellor and commissioner, so I don’t know what they’re going to do. Rest assured, Nanuet is staying as Nanuet. It’s not going away or dissolving.”
At a January school board meeting, the Nanuet School Board had dispelled similar rumors as well.
East Ramapo SD and BOCES
Also, at that same January meeting, the district addressed the possible effects from whatever decision the East Ramapo School District picks in regards to repaying the overdue $5 million they owned to BOCES.
One of the three effects was: If East Ramapo decides to borrow money to pay the $5 million, “East Ramapo may ask local districts to pay for the interest on (East Ramapo’s) loan,” said Superintendent Mark McNeill.
Habas had concerns and asked about it during the public forum at this week’s school board meeting. Byrne cleared the air on that issue.
“Every school district pays whatever it takes to send their students to BOCES. Every district has a different rate. East Ramapo is obligated, that for any money they pay to anyone, that they would pay first to BOCES. They’re slowly paying off their debt,” said Byrne. “If they didn’t pay the $5 million, then BOCES may have had take out a loan to cover their expenses and all the districts would have a part of their share of interest, but East Ramapo is paying BOCES back slowly, so that’s not happening.”
Since the January board meeting, East Ramapo has kept to the schedule it submitted to the New York State Education Department in mid January and at the beginning of this month, paid a portion of its outstanding bill to Rockland BOCES. Mary Jean Marsico, BOCES superintendent, reported that a check was received from East Ramapo for $1,670,530.05 on Feb. 1.
New York School Finances
Near to the end of this week's Nanuet School Board meeting, Board Member Sarah Chauncey played part of a video that was played at the Rockland County School Boards Association(RCSBA) Legislative Breakfast in January.
"This video gives you a sense of what’s happening around the state that will put where we are in Nanuet in perspective," said Chauncey. "This video gives you an idea of what will happen to schools in the next few years. It will happen sooner for some districts than others."
In the video, which is called 'Insolvency, Numbers and Children,' Chauncey cued and played it about nine minutes in. At that point in the video, it showed a chart labeled 'Continuum of Educational Insolvency.' The chart shows an estimated path school districts may experience given the current circumstances. The path ends with 'Fiscal Insolvency: District no longer has the funds to make payroll, pay debt or keep other contractual obligations.'
"We’re not alone. What we’re experiencing is being experienced around the state," said McNeill.
At this legislative breakfast, there were representatives of all the county’s school districts and legislative officials from Rockland and neighboring counties. The status of school finances was the topic of the meeting attended by more than 100 people.
Check back with Nanuet Patch for McNeill's run-through of the 2013-14 Budget. Here is a Patch article on McNeill's request to table the reconfiguration of the middle and elementary schools.
Related Patch Articles
- East Ramapo Makes Another Payment To BOCES
- East Ramapo Pays $2.3 Million Of $5 Million Owed BOCES
- East Ramapo Schools Respond to State Regarding Failure to Pay BOCES
- Nanuet Schools: Possible Effects of East Ramapo Actions
- Nanuet Schools Dispel Bankruptcy Rumors