Hoboken Councilwoman Fisher is first elected to come out against $241M school referendum


Hoboken 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher is the first elected official to come out against the upcoming $241 million school referendum on January 25th.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“I am not a yes vote on the New High School as currently proposed. I think the proposal is a Ferrari when maybe all we need is a Honda (or something in between) and would like to know if there is a different proposal that is a better fit (more affordable but still amazing) and determined based upon a process that is more transparent and involves input from many public stakeholders, not just a small few,” she said in an email blast last week.

“I actually support the need for a new High School, but my current view is a ‘not this / not yet / no on this proposal, and please try again.’ The BOE gave us this path by saying if this proposal is not approved, they would bring another proposal back in a year. Let’s take them up on that offer.”

She added that the proposal is actually closer to $330 million after the interest of the three-decade financial commitment is factored in, as well as that she decided to weigh in since mail-in ballots had just gone out.

“As an informed taxpayer, although I strongly believe the enrollment wave justifies expanded facilities, I am not confident that the Ferrari version of a school costing taxpayers $330 million is what is best for Hoboken without knowing if there is another alternative that could cost less and be a better fit,” Fisher continued.

” … And importantly, if you get to buy a new car using other people’s money, shouldn’t you have to explain why you need to spend so much to everyone you are borrowing the money from, not just those who will get to ride in it (which in this case are about 10% of Hoboken residents and taxpayers)?”

The project would be four stories tall and approximately 374,700 square feet with a 110 car spot garage underneath the school that will allow the first floor of the school to be elevated to comply with FEMA regulations.

The proposed Hoboken High School would have 27 general classrooms, 11 specialized learning rooms, and six self-contained special education rooms.

The price tag would lead to an approximately $496 annual tax increase per household, the school district has confirmed. Fisher said in a prior email that the school tax increase would be around 20 percent and the overall tax increase would be about six percent.

Last month, Mayor Ravi Bhalla and his three top allies on the city council, Emily Jabbour, Jim Doyle, and Phil Cohen, came out in support of the “transformative project,” indicating it would improve children’s quality of education along with increasing local property values.

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  1. Fisher didn’t come out against it. She said she is “not for it.” Which is kinda the same thing but it in a really long winded mealy mouthed way in which she tries to be all things to all people and not take a firm advocacy position.

    To put it gently, leadership is not her thing.

    Hoboken voters have a choice of yes or no. “Not yes” or actually if you bothered to read through the entire dissertation, “not yes right now but maybe later because I really think spending a lot of money on a new high school is something we need to do but I don’t trust the school board and superintendent to have made intelligent thoughtful choices for the district they were elected or hired to serve because only Tiffanie can make these decisions wisely” is not a choice on the ballot.

    I’m not convinced we need a new High School building at all, but if proponents can persuade me we do I will vote yes knowing that “not yes” is not a choice on the ballot. The alternative to yes is no and if this is voted down there is no assurance anything will be built any time soon if at all.

    However I wind up voting, I’m grateful that Ms. Fisher is not a decision maker given her complete lack of both qualifications and judgment.

  2. Tiffany came to the right conclusion. Nn the space issue, the BOE’s demographic study says they’ll need 231 more middle-school spaces by 2031. At a 15:1 student:teacher ratio, that’s 16 more classrooms. I think there are more cost-effective ways of achieving that than piling on all those luxury amenities in a new high school. The BOE needs to be sent back to the drawing board.

  3. Voting NO too.
    A no vote will allow for a transparent discussion to examine the facts and decide what they want and are willing to pay. This surprise BOE take it or leave it quarter of a billion dollar spending proposal and attached tax increase in a odd rushed vote this month is not the way Hoboken elected officials should be doing their jobs.

  4. More like 10 Stories when you include the stadium light towers, roof penthouses and they are able to add on top as they stated in meetings.

    4 story residential is 40 ft on average over the flood line
    Schools have 10-12 ft high ceilings in classrooms. The Ground floor of this school is at least 20 ft in height.
    Add 3 more floors at 35 ft plu the garage and flood baseline you’re at 60 ft easy, then the stadium lights and rooftop at least another 25 That’s probably hovering at 90 ft min. Average height on a 9 story building with 8ft ceilings.

    I wish there was a shadow study. The Park is going be in the shade most of the day now, and the small buildings around it will lose light and air.

    • Dr. Johnson’s hand picked no 3-bid, tight lipped architect/developer said he could do one at the first public meeting.
      All developers are required to do shade studies. It is a fast easy computer program. The mere fact that it has not been made public it is highly unlikely that result of that shade study would help Dr. Johnson’s agenda.