The East Ramapo school district could end up granting a $1 million rent credit and waiving other fees to the yeshiva tenants of the Colton school property under the terms of a proposed settlement to end an expensive court battle. A judge has yet to sign off on the settlement.
If approved by the court, the cash-strapped district is expected to move forward with the sale of the Colton Elementary School to the tenants, Monsey-based Congregation Bais Malka and the Hebrew Academy for Special Children, a Brooklyn-based religious school for children with special needs.
East Ramapo officials have agreed to the settlement terms in an apparent reversal of their arguments earlier this year that the yeshivas were not owed a rent credit.
In a Feb. 28 ruling, state Supreme Court Justice Margaret Garvey supported East Ramapo’s interpretation of the contract, saying no rent credit toward the purchase price was owed.
Yet under the settlement signed Friday, the district will give the yeshivas a rent credit of slightly more than $1 million, waive more than $38,000 in fees for late rent payments, refund $93,000 in “rent overpayment” and grant various other credits for repair work done by the tenants.
East Ramapo has collected about $1.3 million in rent from the two yeshivas since July 2011, but never received more than $900,000 in additional anticipated revenue because the yeshivas were in arrears, according to court documents.
Though the purchase price of the property is $6.6 million, the sale would net the district around $5 million, based on the figures specified in the agreement. Unless an extension is granted, the sale would close by June 30, according to the agreement.
East Ramapo counted $5 million from the deal into its budget this year, but school officials have said little about what the money is earmarked for. Some parents and students have held out hope that programs lost to budget cuts, such as elementary art and music, could be restored.