Last fall, a former federal prosecutor appointed by the state to investigate the district found that the school board, which is dominated by Orthodox Jews, had diverted money from public schools to children who attend local yeshivas, leaving the district in dire financial trouble. The former prosecutor, Henry M. Greenberg, recommended that the state appoint a fiscal monitor with the power to override decisions by the school board. The State Assembly passed a bill in June that would have created such a position, but amid complaints from the East Ramapo school board that it would usurp local control of schools, the bill died in the State Senate.
Mr. Walcott and his team will not have the power to override decisions by the school board. But the state education commissioner, MaryEllen Elia, said in an interview that the department had been in discussions with the school board, and that she hoped the board would be amenable to the experts’ recommendations.(See prior related posting.)