Community-Backed Candidates Sweep East Ramapo Elections

MONSEY -

The three candidates who were backed by the Orthodox community swept the elections on Tuesday for the East Ramapo school board, returning one member and installing two new boardsmen for three-year terms.

Voters also rejected a proposed $237 million school budget that raised taxes on those earning higher incomes in exchange for four extra days of busing for private schools. Only 2 percent of school budgets were rejected across the state.

The election was hampered by stormy weather and electrical blackouts, but residents of Monsey, Spring Valley and New Square rallied later in the day for a strong voter participation.

Sabrina Charles-Pierre won handily, running unopposed for her second term. She received more than 9,000 votes.

Yoel Trieger won by more than 7,000 votes, beating Miriam Moster, who got fewer than 2,000 votes. Moster had run on an anti-yeshivah platform but failed to catch on even in non-Jewish areas. Trieger replaced the retiring Jacob Lefkowitz.

For the seat of Yonah Rothman, Ephraim Weissmandl won with nearly 7,000 votes, beating Joselito Cintron who got about 2,200 votes.

The board has nine members, three of whom face the voters each year so that the entire board is re-elected every three years.

The budget, a perennial controversial subject in the district, was defeated by a 55 percent margin. Voters, the vast majority of whom send to private schools, apparently did not want to contribute more in taxes to a school district they benefit little from. An incentive to yeshivah parents — four more days of free transportation on days when public school is out — failed to attract them.

Some Orthodox activists had worked with the board to craft a budget that would properly fund public schools. But there was little campaigning either for or against ahead of the election.

“It was a huge lost opportunity,” said Rivkie Feiner, a local Orthodox activist and a member of the district’s budget advisory committee. “We must find a better way going forward.”