Mayor Bhalla Responds to HBOE School Referendum Defeat

With the $241 million, Hoboken school referendum for a new high school going down to an overwhelming defeat last night, Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who supported the measure, has reacted to the results.  The unofficial results, as reported last night at 10:06 pm by the Hudson County Clerk’s Office, show 35 of 42 districts reporting.

4,929 people cast no votes at the polls, meaning they did not support the Board of Education’s proposed plan for a new high school.  2,542 ballots were cast at the voting machines in favor of the plan.  This represents a 2 to 1 defeat, or 65.98 percent to 34.04 percent.  Mail-In and Provisional ballots have not yet been tallied, nor have the machine results from Ward 4, Districts 1 and 5, and Ward 3, District 5.

Following the results being released, Mayor Bhalla issued the following statement:

“Tonight the voters have spoken. While the will of the voters has made it clear that the Board of Education’s current proposal for the new high school will not move forward, I sincerely believe that the effort to improve our public schools will continue. I thank each and every resident who went to the polls to make their voices heard, and those who spoke up, and engaged in thoughtful, civil debate on both sides of the issue. With the vote now over, it is my hope that stakeholders will work on a revised plan collaboratively, that will meet the needs of our growing school population, and reflect resident feedback.”

Mayor Bhalla continued, saying, “Let’s also all pledge to engage in thoughtful, respectful debate as we all work to address the clear and increasing need to develop our beloved city’s educational infrastructure. I am confident that working together we will make this happen because I believe in this community and its dynamic people. I believe in the goodness of our neighbors, and I wholeheartedly believe that we are the best City in New Jersey to live and raise a family.

I truly believe for Hoboken and our children, the best is yet to come.”

With this vote now behind the city, the hope being expressed by elected officials is that a new plan for the school district can be developed that all residents can agree upon.  That agreement will have to address the growing student population. Ultimately, it appears the referendum was defeated because the majority of residents were opposed to the anticipated increase in property taxes which would have taken place over the next three decades.

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