Please help us raise $5000 for our Parent Leadership Development Fundraising Campaign

Since 2020, Proyecto Faro has been part of a coalition with NYCLU, NAACP of Spring Valley and others demanding justice for the East Ramapo Central School District (ERCSD) public schools. The Organización de padres empoderados (OPE)/Empowered Parents Organization was born out of Proyecto Faro’s work building the capacity of parents to take the lead on this campaign. 

On May 7, OPE and their allies will finally have the opportunity to meet face-to-face with NY State leaders in Albany during Advocacy Day to present their demands designed to reverse years of injustice and school board malfeasance.

Achieving our $5,000 fundraising goal will enable Proyecto Faro to:

  • Rent a bus and provide food for the May 7 Advocacy Day;
  • Hire an organizing trainer this summer to work with OPE leaders to deepen their organizing skills and strategies;
  • Support OPE leaders to create and launch a campaign during the 2024-25 school-year to train public-school parents across ERCSD about their rights and the rights of their children;
  • Continue supporting OPE as the leading voices in the coalition for educational justice for ERCSD

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What OPE has achieved so far

Locally, Proyecto Faro’s OPE leaders have spent countless hours organizing, attending every ERCSD school board meeting, and imploring NY State officials, most recently the Chancellor of the NY State Board of Regents and Representative Ken Zebrowski, to remedy years of educational inequity and disinvestment. One OPE member declared, “The government sees we will no longer accept crumbs.”

After over a decade of the majority-white school board whose own children attend private schools mismanaging the budget, ERCSD public-school children—96% of whom are children of color—go to school in buildings crumbling around them and contaminated with asbestos, mold and lead pipes too dangerous to use for drinking water and preparing school meals. ERCSD is so under-resourced that it lacks funds to employ enough faculty to teach core classes, so students can’t graduate on time. There are too few ESL classes and bilingual teachers to serve the English language learners (ELLs), who represent the highest concentration of ELLs in any district in NY State. Schools lack basic services for children with disabilities and the large percentage of homeless students. Meanwhile, the private-school community continues to vote down tax increases, costing the public schools millions of dollars of lost revenue needed for the proper operation of the public schools each year. 

To solve this crisis, OPE has been working together with the NYCLU and other organizations in the coalition for educational justice in East Ramapo to create solutions designed to redress the years of school board malfeasance. On May 7, OPE and its allies will ask the Governor and Legislature to pass amendments needed to implement the following 5-point proposal:

1. Replace the current ERCSD board with members who represent public-school families and ensure no conflicts of interest
2. Direct funding where it is needed, including sufficient resources for ELLs and students with disabilities, and adopt a budget with necessary tax increases approved by the State monitors and the NYS Commissioner of Education
3. Stem the high cost of bus transportation by providing transportation only for students who live within certain distances of their schools
4. Fix all school buildings within 5 years so that every school passes the Building Conditions Survey, raising the funds to do so through local bonds and increased State building aid to bypass taxpayer approval
5. Ensure that the above reforms are implemented fully and that new transportation and ELL and special education student funding policies are made permanent

OPE’s May 7 trip to Albany is an important step in solidifying parents’ leadership and agency in their fight for educational justice, but they want to continue building momentum and training other parents throughout the district upon their return. Your contribution will help OPE achieve their longterm goals.

Please Donate Today