The Hoboken Board of Education voted unanimously (7-0) last night to send a preliminary $74,875,799 budget with an 8.47 percent tax hike to be reviewed by the office of Hudson County Executive Superintendent Melissa Pearce.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“This is a preliminary budget that will be submitted to the county office on Monday, March 20th, as required by code … The county office has made changes and updates that they wish for us to make to this budget,” said BOE Business Administrator Joyce Goode.
“That will be done and those changes will be presented to the finance committee first, and then to the full board, at the April meeting.”
Highlights in the school budget that she also mentioned include a lose of $4,236,998 in state aid over the past five years, delivering a combined tax increase of 0.52 percent in the past two years, maintaining all curriculum programs, managing for health benefits, other insurances, and contractual salary and benefits with their union employees.
Furthermore, Goode indicated that the total tax levy is up $4,680,165 from last year and the tax increase can be broken down to 6.93 percent coming from the public schools and that 1.54 percent is attributed to the city’s three charter schools.
To that end, the charter schools budget is up $851,229 from the prior year’s budget, an increase of about 7.4 percent, with budgeted charter school transfers up nearly 57 percent since 2014.
Additionally, nearly half the budget,$35,310,584; is set aside for spending plans at the individual schools within the district, with the smallest item being for regular instruction programs: $1,450,332.
After resident Mary Ondrejka called on the board to tighten their belts this budget cycle, noting that the city’s preliminary budget is $135 million with a seven percent tax increase (which they’ll consider on first reading tonight), Superintendent of Schools. Dr. Christine Johnson explained further why they were in this predicament.
“Unfortunately, this year, with a reduction of state aid, and the fact that many of the COVID grants that came in are no longer there, we had to shift some of our funding back to the general fund budget and the two years of a lack of a tax levy [hike], or I should say the extremely narrow tax levy for two years, which averaged to 0.52 percent,” she reiterated.
The schools chief continued that had the district opted to do consistent two to two-and-a-half percent annual tax increases, this year would’ve been a much smaller burden to taxpayers, but also pointed out that all faculty and staff deserve to be taken care of due to their stellar work during the pandemic.
” … If I was able to give them a 25 percent increase, I would give them a 25 percent increase because of the value that they bring to the children is immeasurable. At the same time, we are a local governing body and we do understand the impact that taxes have on the community.”
Although Johnson didn’t make any promises, she committed to working with the board and the administration to bringing that tax increase down to a smaller number.
While the meeting lasted for nearly three hours, the session began with about 90 minutes of student achievement and teacher awards and ended with a brief closed session.
Trustees Leslie Norwood and Melanie Tekirian were absent, the former due to testing positive for COVID-19.
The Hoboken BOE’s public budget hearing will be on Tuesday, May 2nd, at 7 pm. at the Demarest School Auditorium, located at 158 4h St.
Bloated, fat schools that sucked down virus money like candy and now complain it’s not there. What a pathetic joke. Not a single board member there to argue against this massive increase. Not a single one from the board monolith.
The hour and a half “student achievement” presentation at the being of the meeting is pure propaganda for a Board Of Education that is failing the majority of the students while highlight the select few who are succeeding. The long delay also discourages those who disagree with Board and those who do endure the wait are dismissed with condescending silence and or eye roll.
So they artificially kept the tax levy low because they knew they were going to try and pass a 20% tax increase with the monstrosity of a HS referendum.
And since Hoboken residents did not fall for their scam and hidden maneuvers, the chicken have come home to roost and they have to increase taxes a large portion.
Not to mention that the employees of the District do NOT pay anything towards their health benefits, it is in their contract for life. Every other employer, be it public or private, has employees contribute a portion towards health care costs.
Once again Donald Trump has foiled our town leading to a barely 10% tax increase, when will our town realize we need to adequately fund our schools, nothing less than a 20% tax increase like in Jersey will get our test scores to somewhat below average as opposed to abysmal.
Highlights in the school budget that she also mentioned include a loss of $4,236,998 in state aid over the past five years while Democrat Governor Phil Murphy is in office.
Let that sink in.
After what they tried to do to Hoboken taxpayers with their luxury $300,000,000 luxury high rise sports complex with a high school attached why should anyone ever trust Dr. Johnson and her BOE to ever tell us the whole truth about what they are doing and why.
How many people will these tax increases push out of their homes in Hoboken ?
Interesting story but the schools keep being forced to provide programs in summer that the citys recreation department didn’t provide, and that has to change. The city announced a year ago that they would revilalize the department and hired a new person and then forced the schools to offer swim lessons which is something rec departments do for ALL kids in every other town but Hoboken. Instead of our officials, in the cars that we paid them raises last year to afford, going out of town to Stilton every summer, we need the schools and parents to stand up and demand our new rec director come up with a real program this summer. Instead its put on the schools and no wonder the budget is up. Not to mention even if they get funding it leaves the rest of town without these options because not everyone is in the public elementary schools, a rec program should be doing these things, not the schools being forced to pick up the citys slack. Cant our officials finally get the city’s Rec Program to come up with real summer programs and activities for our kids? We do have the space. What happened to the new person? Parent committees and surveys are just wasting our tine. Let’s have a program announced for the whole city next month so the schools dont have to keep expending manpower on that.
Parents should provide for their kids summer play dates and not expect others to pay to keep them amused.
How do you propose that will work, if 2 working parents are required to pay Hoboken rents? Child protection would be called if you leave a Kindergartener at home alone.
LOL So are you saying the city hired a recreation director last year to make a big change by Telling parents to sit home with their kids on play dates? IF that is indeed the case, then please let us keep our money and pay a sitter or we’ll take our money and come up with better things for our kids to do. You know that cities in other towns have a lot of activities for kids in summer, right? I don’t see much being planned and apparently I’m not alone. Personally I hope I’m wrong but either way it’s not schools that have to do it.