New York State Legislature: Behind the PR Smear Campaign, Follow The Money in East Ramapo

A review of the intimidation tactics of a public school board and its paid supporters

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  1. In November, New York State Education Department appointee Hank Greenberg issued his report calling the East Ramapo Central School District "recklessly mismanaged" by a board that showed "favoritism" to private schools. He called for state oversight of the board to follow the money being spent and prevent the district's budget from being further drained for private interests.
  2. What do we want? STRONG and EFFECTIVE #OVERSIGHT. When do we want it? #NOW #EastRamapo #EyesOnThePrize
    What do we want? STRONG and EFFECTIVE #OVERSIGHT. When do we want it? #NOW #EastRamapo #EyesOnThePrize
  3. Greenberg even specifically cited the board for its approach to criticism.
  4. Many, including an alumni group called Strong East Ramapo, expressed gratitude that the state had finally recognized a long-standing injustice for 9,000 public school students.
  5. A few months later, Assembly Members Ellen Jaffee, Ken Zebrowski and David Carlucci introduced legislation to enact Greenberg's recommendations, including funding as long as there was oversight of a board that has used its position to dismantle public education and favor private schools.
  6. Not long after Mr. Greenberg was commissioned to do his study, the school board hired an expensive PR firm at the expense of a district that has already depleted its reserves.
  7. The PR strategy has involved former School Board vice president Aron Wieder giving speeches and making lobbying visits ...
  8. ...while an anonymous group called "Ramapo Citizens for Civil Rights" tweets dozens of messages per day spewing ad hominem attacks.
  9. A tricky detail that's important to know: This group adopted the name @ERamapoStrong (display name: "Strong East Ramapo") to confuse Twitter followers. In order to distinguish itself, the alumni group changed its display name to "StrongEastRamapo.org." See below.
  10. Meanwhile, @ERamapoStrong (now "StrongEastRamapo") with the Ferris Wheel-like graphic is the PR arm of the school board.
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