Hoboken Board of Ed statement
This statement was written by Hoboken Board of Education member Irene Sobolov in response to the proposed DaVinci Charter School application in Hoboken, NJ.
I think that those who know me know I have always been a passionate advocate for the Hoboken Public School District even before becoming a BoE member, yet I always encouraged parents here to explore all the choices in Hoboken.
I hesitated to post because I am not interested in starting a war between Hoboken parents. I think that would be extremely sad for the community. We are all concerned about our children, passionate about our schools and invested in the community. I believe it is important and healthy for the community to engage in a dialogue about the prospect of creating a new, publicly funded school district as it impacts everyone in Hoboken.
As charters are funded almost exclusively from local tax dollars, the cost of creating a new, publicly funded district (approx $1,000,000) can come from two places: the budget allocated for existing Hoboken Public School students or raising the tax levy.
As all charters are separate districts, they have their own administrators, support staff, teachers, supply contracts, etc. In this case, the monies would also pay for duplicating equipment and curricula already available to every student in the Hoboken public school district: FOSS hands on science curriculum, individualized, independent math curriculum and SmartBoards (available in every classroom). And other school supplies, chairs, desks, books, kindergarten centers, etc.
So, one of the greatest impacts would be on students and families currently attending the Hoboken public schools as the funding would come directly out of the budget set for their programming and services. Such a reduction of funding could limit the district’s ability to continue to provide a variety of extra-curricular activities that the district families appreciate as part of their child’s education (ex: music, art, chorus, athletics and theater) and possibly other areas.
Another way to fund a new charter district in Hoboken is to increase the local tax levy (flat for three years), however, due to the State mandated 2% cap, the entire amount necessary to fund the new school would not be covered by the tax increase. Some portion (a few $100,000) would still have to come from the budget allocated for Hoboken Public School students.
I don’t believe there is anything anti-charter about engaging in a dialogue about the community impacts of a fifth publicly funded district to Hoboken. I don’t believe there is anything anti-choice about discussing adding another elementary district to the nine already available in Hoboken. I encourage everyone (as I always do) to attend the next Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, May 8th at 7pm. Dr. Toback will be presenting his impact statement he submitted to decision makers in Trenton. You can also hear more about all the other wonderful initiatives in the Hoboken Public Schools. I hope to see you there.