EAST RAMAPO, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) —  A committee appointed to study a troubled Rockland County school district is recommending a state monitor with power to veto the school board’s decisions.

The three-person panel headed by former New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott recommended 18 additional reforms including an independent election monitor for school board elections.

“We feel the board is in a very fragile situation and the community’s in a fragile situation, which then impacts the students overall,” Walcott told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. 

The East Ramapo school board is made up mostly of Orthodox men whose children attend private religious schools. The board has been accused of directing resources to the private schools at the expense of the public schools.

“This is the delicate balance of respecting a locally-elected democracy, a locally elected board, with a community that has lost trust in its local institution there,” one council member John Sipple said.

The recommendation did not go over well with the school board. President Yahuda Weissmandel said the move could rerise the divisions and strife the two have tried to overcome.

A monitor with veto power would need approval from the state legislature.

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