The following opinion letter was received by Hudson TV. It was written by Hoboken resident Jerome Abernathy, who supports quality educational facilities, but says the proposal for a new high school, as it currently stands, is filled with way too many amenities.
Dear Hoboken Neighbors and Friends,
I’m Jerome Abernathy. My wife Jan and I have lived in Hoboken since 1991. Our two children were born and raised here, we’re active in our community, and we care deeply about education.
The Hoboken Board of Education has scheduled a special referendum on Jan. 25th where we will be asked to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to allow the BOE to raise $241 million of debt to construct a new high school. If the referendum passes, this will cost taxpayers close to $330 million when you include interest, raising our school taxes by 20%. Per-student, it will be the most expensive high school ever built in the US.
We believe that our students deserve the best education in facilities that provide the most supportive learning experience. But the current proposal is designed with too many costly amenities like an ice hockey rink, multiple gyms, two theaters, a second swimming pool etc. that have nothing to do with education.
We recognize the need for more elementary and middle-school classrooms in the district. But is spending almost a 1/3 of a billion dollars to build a highly-amenitized high school the best way to meet these needs? Surely there are other possibilities.
By voting NO on January 25th, we can help the BOE revise their plan to include input and feedback from our community and put education first. The community must be involved in the development of the largest public works project in Hoboken’s history funded by the largest tax increase in our history. Voting NO compels the BOE to work with us in a collaborative fashion to revise their plan.
As turnout for special elections is normally quite low, we need to make sure everyone knows about the January 25th referendum and what is at stake for the education of our children and our taxes. That is where you can help.
If you agree, please help us spread the word by sharing this with three friends and encouraging them to vote NO and ask them each to tell three more friends.
If you are interested in helping us get the word out, please contact me to volunteer. You can also go to H4PS.org to learn more.
Please make sure you vote on January 25th, polls are open from 6am to 8pm and you vote at your usual polling location (which you can check and find here). You can go to H4PS.org for information and links on how to vote by mail if you cannot vote in person on the 25th.
All our students deserve a great education. Let’s all work together to make that happen.