Stay of HoLa expansion denied in state court; seventh graders can matriculate in fall

The fate of a lawsuit to block the expansion of the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HoLa) to seventh and eighth grade is still up in the air, but the 21 students slated to form the inaugural seventh grade class will be able to matriculate this coming September. Victor Ashrafi, a judge with the New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division, virtually guaranteed that when he denied a motion to stay HoLa’s expansion this past Thursday.
The lawsuit was brought by the Hoboken Board of Education, which has argued that the state Department of Education (DOE) ignored HoLa’s allegedly segregated student makeup and its financial impact on the traditional school district when granting its expansion.
The state DOE requested a second chance to review HoLa’s enrollment data last November but ultimately upheld the expansion in March. That decision has been appealed in state court.
Prior to the state appellate court ruling this week, the state education commissioner also denied a motion to stay HoLa’s expansion in late May.
“We are glad to see the Appellate Court denied the Hoboken Board of Education’s latest attempt to hurt a great public school,” said Barbara Martinez, the president of HoLa’s Board of Trustees. “We hope that after having their frivolous claims shot down three separate times, the BOE puts an end to the unsuccessful litigation and instead focuses their energy on working constructively with the city’s public charter schools. This would be the responsible thing to do on behalf of all students.”
But the lawyer for the Hoboken school board, Eric Harrison, said the denial of the motion satisfied the board’s goal in seeking such an injunction, which was to prevent a situation in which any public school student, HoLa or otherwise, was left in a state of limbo.
“We’re glad to have certainty about what’s going to happen in September for everyone involved in the case, including the students in the HoLa seventh grade class,” said Harrison.
Harrison also cautioned that the denial of the stay was not a strong indicator of how the appellate court would ultimately rule in the case. Preliminary injunctions are seen as an extraordinary legal remedy and are only granted if an applicant satisfies a four-part standard of proof. A party must establish both that their case has a likelihood of success on its merits and that not granting a stay would cause irreparable harm, among other things.
Harrison speculated that the appellate court could not identify an irreparable harm to the HoLa seventh graders, since they could transfer to another school if HoLa’s expansion was overturned.

Hoboken ranked fifth best U.S. city for college grads

For many of the nearly 600 undergraduate members of the Stevens Institute of Technology Class of 2015, last month’s commencement ceremony was a farewell, not just to Stevens and collegiate life, but to Hoboken, their temporary home for the last four years.
However, according to college networking website Plexuss.com, they would do well to stick around. The site ranked Hoboken the fifth best city in the United States for college graduates, beating out Minneapolis, Minn., Bethesda, Md., and Cambridge, Mass.
The ranking was based on a variety of criteria, including the number of residents between the ages of 25 and 34, the number of available jobs on listing site Indeed.com, and the proximity to nearby colleges and universities.
The highest ranked city was Mountain View, Calif., home to the headquarters of Google, followed by Naperville, Ill. and Sanford, N.D.
In recent years, Hoboken has been ranked the number one hipster city, the sixth snobbiest small city in America, and the ninth best city in New Jersey by various websites. Perhaps it’s time for a ranking of the best (or worst) Hoboken rankings on the internet?

Little City Books to host roundtable on writing life Saturday

On Saturday, June 20 at 7 p.m., Hoboken’s new independent bookstore, Little City Books, will host a writers’ roundtable featuring female writers Jen Grow, Caroline Leavitt, Dylan Landis, and Sue Henderson. Little City Books is located at 100 Bloomfield St.
Grow’s stories have appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle, Other Voices, The Sun Magazine, Indiana Review and many others. Her stirring debut collection, “My Life as a Mermaid,” takes a look at the dark side of what it means to live “happily ever after.”
Leavitt is the New York Times bestselling author of “Is This Tomorrow,” “Pictures of You,” and eight other novels. “Pictures of You” was a Best Book of the Year from the San Francisco Chronicle, Kirkus Reviews, The Providence Journal and Bookmarks Magazine, as well as being a Costco Pennie’s Pick. She reviews for People Magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle and she teaches writing online for Stanford University.
Landis wrote the novel-in-stories “Normal People Don’t Live Like This,” a Newsday Top Ten Book of 2009 and a More magazine choice for Top 100 Books Every Woman Should Read. A journalist and author of six interior-design books, Landis won a 2010 fellowship from the National Endowment from the Arts.
Henderson is a two-time Pushcart Prize nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets award. Her debut novel, “Up From the Blue,” was selected as a Great Group Reads pick by the Women’s National Book Association and a favorite reads feature on the Rosie O’Donnell show.
“We are delighted to host an intimate evening with four writers, who happen to be women,” said Little City Books co-owner Kate Jacobs. “There will be readings and conversation about writing, books, life, and the place they coincide.”

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