‘We can’t afford to lose any more resources in our schools’

Dear Editor:
My thanks to Hoboken Board of Education for standing up for the kids in the Hoboken Public School district, by asking the state to take a good look at how the HoLa expansion will impact our town. They object because an expansion will put the school budget deeper in a hole and result in cutting programs and laying off 50 teachers in the Hoboken district. We can’t afford to lose any more resources in our schools. It’s not good for anyone. Reading letters from Dr. Toback and HoLa’s Board President side by side last week it was clear we need an impartial party to review the facts. What is wrong with asking the state to do that before making a decision this decision that will make a bad budget situation worse? It’s the same as a family budget. When one of my kids wants to buy something, I sometimes have to say no, or “let me think about it” and weigh that against what my other children need. It’s hard, but a good parent stands firm even when that child has a public tantrum. HoLa is good at sound bytes. They advertise that they educate 10 percent of the students with only 4.6 percent of the public school budget. Where’s the fine print that admits that they will not even try to educate a child with significant special needs which obviously costs more? Those kids are welcomed with open arms in the Hoboken district which costs more. That’s just one of many footnotes that should be added to the stats.
Another talking point is that the population of HoLa mirrors the city’s population. Isn’t the legal requirement that charter schools must reflect the school age population, not the population of the whole town? Why are people still confusing this? Does HoLa want to get their decision based on misinformation or to stand firm on a decision based on the law? The Board of Education is simply asking the state to do a study of our town and then make an impartial decision about expanding HoLa. This isn’t vindictive, it’s fiscally responsible. Maybe that study will still result in an expansion of HoLa, maybe not. Only then should we move on. Either way, we should all be working together to continue the great work being done to improve all of our schools. As perceptions about our public schools change, perhaps Hoboken will be less transient. People would be invested in Hoboken for the long haul and take better care of it. More people would vote and make decisions based on the long term good. The only people who benefit from the current situation are the real estate agents. I for one, don’t want to keep seeing my friends “move on”. Again, I thank the Board of Education for looking out for the all of the kids in town, not just 10 percent of them. It’s a thankless job and you shouldn’t have to fight city hall to get it done.

Nancy Zaklukiewicz

© 2000, Newspaper Media Group