Josh RultenbergNov 17, 2017, 9:16 amNov 19, 2017, 11:07 am

NYCLU accuses East Ramapo Central School District of violating voting rights, files suit

Lawsuit claims East Ramapo disenfranchises students of color

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SPRING VALLEY — The New York Civil Liberties Union is filing a federal lawsuit against the East Ramapo Central School District.

The union is accusing the East Ramapo Central School District of unlawfully denying minorities equal voting rights when it comes to school board elections. They say it's a direct violation of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

"Over the last decade, the at-large voting scheme, for the East Ramapo School Board, has allowed the district's white majority, whose children do not attend the public schools and who have proven themselves hostile to the public schools, to hijack the board of education," says NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.

Lieberman says the board has severely slashed public schools budgets and shifted taxpayer dollars to private schools.

Spring Valley NAACP President Willie Trotman believes this is taxation without representation.

"These students deserve a good education. They need resources to be able to learn and to be a viable part of our society. That is our fight yesterday, that is our fight today and that is our fight tomorrow," says Trotman.

The federal lawsuit is asking that East Ramapo become divided into nine single-member districts.

NYCLU wants to prevent the school district from holding future elections until the current system is replaced.

A spokeswoman for East Ramapo says "We are not going to comment on the filing of the lawsuit today until our lawyers have an opportunity to review the document. We think it's important for your viewers to know that election law in this state is determined by the state government. If parties want to change those laws they have to go to Albany and to do so."

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