It seems HoLa applied to the New Jersey Department of Education (NJDOE) to expand its charter from K-5 to K-8. When a charter makes an expansion request, the NJDOE requires an impact statement from the Superintendent of Public Schools; in Hoboken, that's Dr. Mark Toback. An impact statement is an assessment of how the changes in the charter application would affect the public school district and its students. Dr. Toback's impact statement to NJ Commissioner of Education, Christopher Cerf is what packed the room last night.
GA hears there may be some misconceptions floating about...
1. Myth or Fact: School Board melee knocked down a light pole.
|Today at 8:15 AM|
A. MYTH. This light pole at the corner of Willow and 11th street (Wallace School) was bent by a wayward car. GA recommends the driver's license be shredded and placed in a hamster cage. Because anyone driving like this at a school intersection doesn't belong on the road. As for the School Board, in spite of high emotions, GA hears the atmosphere was civil and the discourse polite.
2: Fact or Myth: Toback is against Hola and wants it's charter revoked.
A. MYTH: Toback supports HoLa grades K-5, without expansion. Toback does not want renewal of the amended charter, not a revocation of the original charter. And he calls for a study prior to granting the renewal. GA agrees, this wasn't clear in his letter.
3. Fact or Myth: Toback does not support HoLa expansion because he is a big meanie.
A. MYTH: Toback wrote that he does not believe the model urban district that includes a mix of charter, private and traditional public schools can happen if public schools continue to lose huge amounts of funding to support charters "especially when we have increasing enrollment. "
4. Fact or Myth: Hoboken School enrollment is increasing.
A. FACT: Enroll ment is increasing and please note, public schools must take ALL CHILDREN, unlike charters. Our public school enrollment has been growing every year, take a look:.
5. Fact or Myth: Hoboken public schools cannot sustain expansion of charter schools without devastating impact on schools OR taxpayers.
A. FACT. Public schools are facing steep increases EACH YEAR as a percentage of our operating budget for the 'status quo' and CANNOT sustain another (estimated) $700,000 to $1,000,000 on top of CURRENT INCREASES without severely impacting our students and that is a FACT. Actual costs and appropriations:
6. Fact or Myth: HoLa enrollment is sharply increasing.
A. MYTH: Dr. Toback reports that HoLa currently has 18 children in (2) 5th grade classes- 9 kids per class. Which means the top grade (5th) has LOST 59% of their students since the start of program, 44 children (22 per class). At the current rate of enrollment dropping, how many would be left by 8th grade? So, while public school enrollment is INCREASING, an expansion of a school that is precipitously DROPPING enrollment would take an unsustainable percentage of the public schools operating budget.
7. Fact or Myth: Dr. Toback is making the decision about the HoLa expansion.
A. MYTH: No. Commissioner Cerf will. As noted, Toback was required to write an impact statement.
8. Myth or Fact: The more Hoboken residents former BoE candidate/ realtor/ politico Brian Murray scares 'to the burbs' by attacking Hoboken's public schools, the more likely he will obtain hefty real estate commissions.
A. Fact. Murray's harsh and constant stream of negativity about Hoboken Public Schools, his refusal to acknowledge even the smallest material improvements with the nasty tone of his rhetoric strike GA as marketing gor his business. Here is what a Hudson County TV reporter said in February 2013 in a piece about Murray's "Hoboken to the Burbs" group called "The Hoboken 3": "The Hoboken 3 are hoping to drum up new business as a result of the seminars but it may take some time." And one of their realtors said: "The schools are the number one priority for anyone moving out of town."
9. Fact or Myth: GA thinks all of our kids are terrific: public, charter and private.