Hoboken BOE meeting focuses on moving on from failed referendum, future of school mask mandates


Last night’s Hoboken Board of Education meeting focused on moving on from the failed referendum on January 25th, as well as the future of school mask mandates in light of Gov. Murphy (D) announcing he’d be lifting them on March 7th.

The meeting appeared poised to head to public comment on agenda items after about 40 minutes of presenting student awards, which is par for the course.

However, Board President Sharyn Angley reminded those in attendance that the statewide school mask mandate remains in effect after seeing three people not wearing them.

“It’s a public meeting. Per the governor’s executive order and a notice from our county superintendent, everyone in attendance must keep their masks on throughout the meeting,” she said.

“It’s a public meeting and it’s in a public school district building: masks are required in every public school district meetings as of today and until a different decision is [made],” added Board Vice President Malani Cademartori.

After one of the three people began to shout at the board over enforcing the mandate, Board Counsel Vito Gagliardi also tried to maintain order.

“Sir, this is not a debate,” he said.

After he continued to yell out to the dismay of several other members of the audience, Angley called for another recess before a Hoboken police officer approached the non-compliant trio.

Eventually, they agreed to leave without any further disruptions, with the officer walking them out to some applause from the crowd.

Prior to public portion, Angley addressed the $241 million school referendum being voted down.

“The proposed new high school is one piece of the district’s long-range facilities plan to address actual and projected enrollment growth. While only 20 percent of the Hoboken community voted on January 25th, with the majority voting against the referendum, we’ve received valuable feedback from both supporters of the referendum and those not in favor of the referendum, which will help us plan for the road ahead,” she said.

“On the back of this, and to obtain even more feedback, the board will soon release a community feedback survey. Please keep an eye out for that. Since January 25th, we’ve all done a lot of reflecting and look forward to working together to satisfy the needs of our growing student population.”

While the plan was favored by the trustees and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Johnson, it was voted down by a 2-1 margin, meaning the board will not be able to reintroduce a new plan until the beginning of next year.

During public comment, Josh Sotomayor Einstein called on the board trustees to resign for the way they handled the referendum and renewed his call for them to pass a measure requiring three public meetings before they agree to have a citywide vote on renovations.

Others who were a part of the vote no movement generally took a more conciliatory tone, such as Manny Solar Rivera, who unsuccessfully ran for a council-at-large seat in November.

“I would like to mention that moving forward, I believe that the board of education, board members, when you’re going to run in an election, you should have all the facts out to the public,” he said, calling for more public participation next time and urging the board not to take their cues from City Hall.

Paul Presinzano stated that their were no winners on January 25th and only lessons to be learned, such as transparency is paramount, community involvement is necessary, and that people with different ideologies can come together and work towards a common goal.

“In my recent reading, I came across a quote that is very fitting for where we sit today. It comes from Joseph Fort Newton. ‘Men build too many walls and not enough bridges,'” he recalled.

“I think it’s time we build a bridge and dismantle the wall we built over the past two months.”

A few speakers who supported the referendum also weighed in on what’s next, such as Antonio Grana, a local zoning board member and parent who chaired the Friends of the New Hoboken High School committee.

“All of us have had a chance to reflect from the election and while I personally am not happy with the result, with the outcome, it’s important for us to remember that the voting public did speak with their votes,” he began.

“And that process is at the very heart of the democracy that we so cherish. I think it’s important because there’s a range of feelings that did come up, there’s a range of feelings in this room,” Grana added, also thanking the board for their leadership and giving the referendum a try.

He also agreed that more communication and more community engagement would likely yield a better outcome for all next time around.

The Hoboken BOE has not decided what their next move will be as far as mask mandates go, with Murphy giving individual school districts the ability to make their own COVID-19 safety rules once the state mandate lapses.

Johnson sent an online survey to parents yesterday that is due today at noon and while the topic did not come up very much last night, even in light of the three people being asked to leave, at least one parent said the policy should stay.

Alex Garcia, who has two children in the district and one infant at home, rationalized that an exposure could occur at school and bring the virus home to his two-year-old.

“My kids are vaccinated, except for the youngest, the baby. And if an adult gives it to a vaccinated child, my kids, then the baby gets sick, she’s not vaccinated. That’s the reason I’m saying vote for the survey to keep the masks on,” he explained.

Ed Reep, a local resident who has opposed Hoboken’s indoor mask mandate (which ended today), argued that the Spanish Flu of 1918 necessitated mask wearing and that didn’t become common practice again for about another century – therefore it’s time to move on.

“This should be gone for about 100 years: no seasonal mask, no ‘oh there’s a COVID spike in the winter, let’s do masking every winter.’ Nope, nope, nope, nope. It’s gone, it’s endemic, it’s normal, just like the flue became endemic after 1918 – well it happened before that but.”

The board did not take any formal action on mask rules and regulations at the meeting.

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  1. Oh nice to see the lunatics at the newly formed Activist Group DuJour : Hoboken Watchdog run by Cheryl Fallick, Sheila Brennan, Josh the Dog Walker and Rose the SID hater Markle sent their crazy advance team to spoil the meeting!

    Nice to expose kids in a school with their viral loads….

    • How dare anyone stand up or even dare to question the supreme infallible goddess Johnson and her loyal handmaidens !
      Oh wait thousands of Hoboken voters did just that on January when they came out and vote no and defeated Johnson’s quarter billion dollar boondoggle, by two to one .

    • Kids are not “at risk.” Show us an actual real world number of those healthy Hoboken students who were hospitalized and died from the Wuhan lab virus. I dare you. I double dare you!

      Talk about crazy. You’re a loon!

      Today, there was a student protest in Maine South High School in Illinois against these stupid virtue-signaling anti-science face masks. Of course in Hoboken, we get nothing but BS and condescension to the Hoboken public as they tried to start a Big Dig monument to themselves with a January election. How’d that work out again?

    • There is a risk for kids. The risk is the alleged “vaccine” not the virus. That costs is not yet tallied today. Each year thereafter, the higher costs will be added in deaths, strokes, myocarditis, neurological and reproductive damage. To each and every idiot parent who sacrificed their kid’s health to Tony Fauci’s lab rat experiment, you did this.

    • Rose Markle was a BoE president. The ugly attack on her reflects the same arrogant attack on the public.
      I stand with Rose against all of them. Thank you Rose for your honorable service to Hoboken.

      • No one said wearing masks was fun or pleasant. Being happy about stopping is only natural. Everything isn’t a political statement unless you live in a basement and have to substitute politics for human relationships.

          • Child abuse is the fetish of your party. That’s why Qanon exists. That’s why pizzagate happened. People who are unable to grapple with issues requiring a little thought just claim the other side abuses children. Then they don’t have to try to learn how to think or read something longer than a tweet. Then they go back to their basements.

          • No one is distracting with nonsense but you. Show us the list of hospitalized healhy Hoboken students felled by the virus. None exist! The civilized world doesn’t mistreat children, close schools and destroy their development with useless anti-science face diapers. You live in a psychotic mass formation world, an imaginary place where you talk to each other in fear, ignore scientific data and common sense.

            Go get another booster, beat down the immune system and leave the children alone. Democrats and the Great. Reset globalists turned the lot of you into mindless sheep. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ They’re laughing at you and can’t be bothered with face diapers, even on camera.

          • President Trump can give people choices, he didn’t force anyone to take an experimental injection, that’s your illegitimate leaders. Your DNC media reference is useless. The booster when it’s not killing and maiming countless people only has a temporary benefit.


            A temporary benefit of months. Oh, and it doesn’t even work as a vaccine and prevent infection. But the killing and maiming, that goes on and on and on…

            Luckily you and your fascistic love of tyranny are going down in flames from Norway to Ontario to Wash. DC. The entire civilized world is standing up against the anti-science mandates you worship like a good Branch Covidian.

            Go complain to your tyrants they are not living up to your demands for more tyranny!

  2. Looks like the BOE learned nothing from the overwhelming rejection of their take it or leave it bloated quarter billion dollar referendum. The same old condescending attitude when it comes to the public.

    Having the public wait for over 40 minutes while they do a self serving presentation of a few students who are doing well in their otherwise failing system, is proof that Superintendent Johnson will do nothing more then do a little public relations dance while again shutting out the taxpayers when it comes to any actual plan.

  3. Angley said:

    ‘only 20 percent of the Hoboken community voted on January 25th, with the majority voting against the referendum”

    Pretty delusional spin saying that the damning result was the result of a simple “majority” made possible by a low turnout. 2-1 is a landslide not a simple majority, and 20% is a huge turnout for a January referendum. The honest take re: turnout is “wow” not “only.” Not to mention that the school board and Superindent’s strategy was to hope that only 10% or fewer voted so they knew from the get go that most Hoboken voters wouldn’t support this. They themselves believed an “only” turnout was their only hope and devised a strategy they hoped would result in that.

    A worthy project is very much needed and could still emerge from the wreckage of this debacle, but only if the school board and superintendent work on their listening skills, and are able to acknowledge and learn from their serious errors of judgment.

  4. Agree w “undecided parent” – the Board was likely expecting far less than a 20% turnout, and one suspects that an even higher turnout would have yielded a wider margin for the No vote. Onward.

    Something I hope gets wider coverage over the next few months is President Angley’s comment about the high school being one piece of a more far reaching plan. Should the public be given a more holistic view of the Board’s plans before weighing in on whatever revisions are being considered for the high school? I realize information has been shared regarding grants and the needs of our other buildings – it would be great to see these, along with resultant changes to operating costs, in one comprehensive document.

  5. What the BOE fails to realize is that most Hoboken voters have no direct interest in the district schools. In Hoboken, we have 3 charter schools and 7 private schools (Stevens, Mustard Seed, All Saints, Hudson, Tessa, and 2 Montessori schools). For high school, we have Hoboken Charter, the county schools, and a ton of private and parochial choices.

    If we add up the voters who don’t have children (seniors, singles, etc.), and private and charter school parents, those voters far outnumber parents of district school kids. Moreover, their project created strong opposition (easily over a thousand votes) by destroying the property values and quality of life of neighbors surrounding the site.

    The only way a project can succeed is if the entire community is involved in the process and there’s broad consensus across our community in support of it. To try again with the same or slightly modified plan after being overwhelmingly rejected by voters (65% No, 35% Yes with an astounding 20% turnout) is just a recipe for failure.

    Our community will support a good solution, but the BOE has to work with our community in an inclusive and collaborative fashion. Nothing else will work.

  6. Move the School Board Elections back to April, so Hoboken voters can vote like we used to on the School Board Budget. Yes, we have not voted on the School Board Budget since the election was moved from April to November back in 2012-13. That might take gathering signatures for petitions.

  7. It is difficult to trust anything the Hoboken School Board President Sharyn Angley says is the truth after she withheld from the public the $300 million tax increase before asking to be elected in November. Highly unlikely if she told the truth she would still be on the HBOE.

  8. I was the disabled woman denied the right to speak at this meeting. I am a disabled WTC survivor, disability counsellor, and former Hoboken substitute teacher. Who better to discuss the question of disabled children in our schools? It’s sad the audio is so bad. Also sad no newspaper will allow me to submit a Letter to the Editor. So much for democracy. The BOE claimed to be following the governor’s mandates. Yet the governor’s mandates clearly state that if you are medically unable to wear a mask, you are exempt from wearing it. No one was required to wear a mask at this BOE meeting. No one! There was no issue over the mask mandate for over 40 minutes until the public commentary portion of the meeting was about to begin. At no point did I disrupt anything. It was my legal right to be there and actually voiced the fact the Governor’s mandates the BOE speaker refers to contains a provision for a medical exemption. It is self-evident this was a tactic to prevent anyone they believed would question the BOE about the mask mandates and graft money. The police although respectful told me my only outlet for being denied the right to speak at this meeting was to file a complaint with the NJ division of civil rights? In other words it wasn’t their duty to follow the US constitution or even the governor’s mandates either. I didn’t lose anything, the organization I represent didn’t lose anything but I will tell you who did? The City of Hoboken lost its democratic facade and the children of Hoboken, especially the disabled lost their voice. Please join the Hoboken Medical Freedom Alliance. Contact us at: hobokenmedicalfreedom@protonmail.com. Let’s reopen City Hall, bring back open government, and stop abusing our children.