NYCLU calls for non-U.S. citizen parents to be allowed to vote for East Ramapo school board

casting a ballot
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NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The New York Civil Liberties Union is pushing to allow parents in the East Ramapo School District who are not U.S. citizens to have the right to vote in school board elections.

Donna Lieberman, with the NYCLU, said she sees a lot of systemic racism in the school district where more than 95% of the student population are children of color.

“The White community in the East Ramapo School District have taken control of the school board,” she said.

Lieberman noted that the results of that takeover have been “disastrous,” with teachers being laid off and funding being cut dramatically.

She added that six of the nine seats on the school board are held by Orthodox Jewish men, meaning a majority of the school district’s population is not being represented. The three others are held by Black women, who won their seats in a 2020 court-ordered election.

Additionally, Lieberman said a large majority of Orthodox Jewish residents send their children to yeshivas – not public school.

“It doesn’t make any sense for a community that doesn't send their kids to public school to control things whereas, parents who do send their kids to public schools have no voice,” Lieberman said.

She's calling for non-citizens to be allowed to vote in local elections – which would not be unheard of. At least 14 other municipalities across the country allow non-citizens to vote in local elections.

New York City is also considering a similar bill.

The NYCLU is also proposing that there be “a wholesale investigation of wrongdoing in East Ramapo.”

A monitor appointed by the state was recently given the power to override any school board decisions in the district.

The East Ramapo School Board has not returned a request for comment.