East Ramapo touts food service after spoiled meals complaints

SPRING VALLEY – East Ramapo is touting improvements to its food service at six elementary and middle schools on its website. Food at the schools, which are undergoing kitchen renovations, had been the subject of numerous complaints at school board meetings this year.

Parents and children at an Oct. 3 school board meeting said school meals were bad-tasting, and the cold food was sometimes spoiled and had caused tummy aches. Community activist Luis Nivelo, during his comments, approached the dais and placed what he said were rotten apple slices in front of trustees, Superintendent Clarence Ellis and state-appointed education monitor Mary Fox-Alter.

Nivelo, a Spring Valley resident, was served the next day with an order of protection that limited him from getting within 500 feet of Trustee Simon Koth. In a statement the night of Oct. 3 to Ramapo police, Koth reported that Nivelo grabbed his arm.

Nivelo has confirmed that he will not be in attendance at Tuesday night’s school board meeting. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the district’s administration building on Madison Avenue.

East Ramapo touts food service after spoiled meals complaints

Several trustees commented later in the Oct. 3 meeting that the testimony by students, and Nivelo’s actions, had been disturbing. But Trustee Yitzchok Gruber said he believed the children were “very good actors.” He said similar food was served to his children at their nonpublic school without problems.

Problems with kitchens

Kitchens are being renovated at Chestnut Ridge and Pomona middle schools, as well as Elmwood, Hempstead, Margetts elementaries and Kakiat S.T.E.A.M. Academy and ECC.

The work comes after problems with the venting of kitchen exhaust hoods had caused the state to step in. About 6,000 students are impacted, according to district reports.

Hempstead Elementary School in Spring Valley.

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The renovations are being done as part of a $90 million systemwide overhaul of buildings that’s being funded through federal COVID aid. The work is behind schedule amid a parts shortage.

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