In an opinion emailed to Hudson TV, Hoboken Library Board of Trustees President Jerome Abernathy urges Hoboken residents to vote no in Tuesday’s Board of Education referendum to construct a new, $241 million high school:
- According to the BOE’s enrollment projections, the school district needs to accommodate 180 more students in the elementary and middle school by 2032.
- HHS serves about 425 students, of which about 300 are Hoboken residents and about 120 are out-of-district Choice program students.
- The BOE projects the HHS student population will grow to 800 by 2032- still far below the current or future building’s capacity.
- The current HHS, while old, still has good facilities: a gym, swimming pool, sports field, vocational arts facilities, science labs, etc. So good, in fact, that the middle school will move there.
- The BOE’s sole solution to the shortage of elementary and middle-school space is to build a luxurious, highly amenitized high school with capacity for three times the size of the current student population.
- There is no evidence-based connection between luxury amenities and better educational outcomes. Most residents would gladly pay more in taxes if they went toward better academic outcomes for all children in the district.
- There was no community input. Unlike other large public works projects such as Rebuild by Design, the Northwest Resiliency Park, and Vision Zero, the community’s input and feedback were not sought nor considered.
- The lack of transparency promoted by the BOE has led to divisiveness and hostility in our community, pitting neighbor against neighbor. This makes it difficult for voters seeking the facts.
- The BOE will hike our school taxes by at least 20%. School taxes are the “tuition” we pay to educate Hoboken children. Imagine how you’d react if your college raised tuition by 20% or if your landlord raised the rent by 20%.
- The BOE’s proposed luxury high school will be the most expensive in US history on a per-seat basis.
- Unlike other large school projects in New Jersey, this will receive no state funding, leaving taxpayers to shoulder the entire cost.
- The BOE hasn’t released any projections for the operating costsl. Such a large facility will undoubtedly be expensive to operate, implying more school tax hikes in the future.
- It is being rushed through in a low-turnout special referendum. The rollout of the BOE’s plan minimizes voter participation.
- In person on Tuesday, January 25th, polls are open from 6am to 8pm and you vote at your usual polling location – NJ DOS – Division of Elections – Polling Place Search
- Drop your VBM ballot in the mail or in one of two ballot drop boxes (City Hall, Newark St side & Stevens, on Hudson & 6th) on or before January 25th.
- In person via VBM at the County Clerk Office by 3:00 pm on Monday – 257 Cornelison Ave Jersey City
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Good luck to All.