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April 7, 2021

Jones and ERCSD Interim Superintendent Dr. Ray Giamartino to co-chair task force

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Mondaire Jones (D-NY), alongside community leaders, hosted a press conference at his alma mater, Spring Valley High School, to announce the creation of a task force to help advise East Ramapo Central School District (ERCSD) Interim Superintendent Dr. Ray Giamartino, who will co-chair the task force along with Congressman Jones, on the distribution of $162 million in American Rescue Plan funding allocated to public schools in the ERCSD. 

Video of the press conference can be found here.

According to the Congressional Research Service, under the American Rescue Plan, the ERCSD will receive $162 million in federal funding to help safely and quickly reopen public schools. This funding can be used to purchase PPE, hire additional staff, invest in emotional and mental health supports, purchase technology, pay for after-school and summer programs to address learning loss, and more. Critically, the $162 million allocated under the American Rescue Plan must be used for public schools. There is a separate funding mechanism in the American Rescue Plan for private schools. 

“As a proud product of the East Ramapo Central School District, I am thrilled that the American Rescue Plan, which I helped pass into law, provides $162 million directly to the school district,” said Jones. “It is no exaggeration to say that this money will be transformative for the students, teachers, and staff in East Ramapo. But this funding will only have the desired impact if it is spent properly. We have to get this right, which is why I’m proud to partner with Superintendent Giamartino in announcing the creation of the East Ramapo Public Schools Advisory Task Force to oversee and advise on the allocation of this historic level of funding. This money must be used in the best interests of East Ramapo’s public school students and I look forward to working alongside Superintendent Giamartino and the other members of the task force to ensure that it is.” 

“The district is truly appreciative of the targeted focus Congressman Jones has provided in shepherding the American Rescue Plan,” said Dr. Giamartino. “This explicit support will help the district focus on ensuring increased equitable access to high-quality, sustainable programs, services, and resources for students in the East Ramapo Central School District. This funding will appropriately augment to providing our students the resources necessary to compete with their peers - resources our students not only deserve but should have unfettered access to in a socially just environment.” 

Using the guidelines set forth in the American Rescue Plan, the East Ramapo Public Schools Advisory Task Force will provide insights and feedback in helping:

  • Identify and prioritize the programs and projects to be considered for funding; and
  • Assess and monitor the execution of those programs

The task force will meet regularly and consist of members and stakeholders from the ERCSD community, including representatives from local community groups like the Spring Valley NAACP, the PTA, and the student body itself. 

About Mondaire: Mondaire Jones is the 33-year-old Congressman from New York’s 17th District, serving Westchester and Rockland Counties. He serves on the House Judiciary, Education and Labor, and Ethics Committees and is the first openly gay, Black member of Congress. A product of East Ramapo public schools, Mondaire was raised in Section 8 housing and on food stamps in the Village of Spring Valley by a single mother who worked multiple jobs to provide for their family. He later graduated from Stanford University, worked at the Department of Justice during the Obama Administration, and graduated from Harvard Law School. He is a co-founder of the nonprofit Rising Leaders, Inc. and has previously served on the NAACP’s National Board of Directors and on the board of the New York Civil Liberties Union. Most recently, Mondaire worked as a litigator in the Westchester County Law Department. In November, Mondaire was unanimously elected by his colleagues to be the Freshman Representative to Leadership, making him the youngest member of the Democratic House leadership team. In December, Jones was appointed a Deputy Whip of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and became a Co-Chair of the LGBTQ Equality Caucus. Mondaire was born and raised in Rockland, and resides in Westchester.