‘Kids First’ Hoboken BOE ticket rolls out campaign platform calling for transparency, inclusion


The “Kids First” Hoboken Board of Education ticket has rolled out their campaign platform calling for transparency, inclusion, and educational excellence for all.

The Kids First Hoboken Board of Education slate, from left to right: Donna Magen, Pavel Sokolov, and Cindy Wiegand. Photo courtesy of the Kids First campaign.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Our policy platform is centered around three core pillars designed to strengthen education in Hoboken. These pillars are (1) Transparency & Accountability; (2) Educational Excellence For All; and (3) Collaboration & Inclusion,” Donna Magen, Pavel Sokolov, and Cindy Wiegand said in a statement.

“We believe that these are the priorities to that will have the greatest impact on improving educational outcomes and build a stronger partnership between the community and BOE in caring for our children’s futures and for our tax dollars.”

For one, they are calling for a more open and transparent process when it comes to the district’s high school expansion plan, stating that the $241 million referendum failed in January since the school board did not provide information to the public as it became available.

“I am running because I saw firsthand what our town is capable of when we band together and demand that our voices be heard and respected,” Sokolov, the secretary of the Hoboken Republican Committee and a strong proponent of the vote no movement, added.

“Through being one of the leaders of the Vote No campaign we discovered many issues in our school district that need to be resolved, that we otherwise would never have found out about. I want the Kids First slate to build on the success and affect positive change for all of Hoboken’s children.”

As a result, they are calling “for an end to backroom politics and secret meetings” and a more fiscally responsible plan that emphasizes education outcomes.

Furthermore, Magen said they want to attract and maintain families in the Mile Square City based on the strength of their public schools.

“I am running because I believe a good public education is a holistic endeavor: teachers, parents, and the community at large make for successful academic outcomes. I want parents to feel empowered to be more involved in their child’s education process,” she said.

“I also believe that any changes or updates to the curriculum should be made public immediately and for families to be encouraged to make informed decisions about their children’s education.”

A first time candidate, Magen works for a large hospitality corporation and is married with two children, the older of which who will be starting kindergarten.

On the topic of collaboration and inclusion, the slate calls for working with state, county, and local partners that includes charter and independent schools. They also expressed a desire to work with the Hoboken Housing Authority.

Wiegand, a former council-at-large candidate, also thanked Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Johnson for leading the district through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Putting Kids First, including great schools for all types of learners and being mindful of cost-of-living, is key for an engaged and thriving community. I have extensive experience going to communities for feedback and turning a variety of opinions into actionable solutions. A community-wide orientation will only strengthen our schools,” she said.

“We pledge that, if elected, any member of our community that comes to a Board of Education meeting or reaches out to us directly will be treated with respect and with a genuine openness to hear feedback and ideas.”

They will face off with the “Leadership That Listens” team, which consists of Trustee Alex De La Torre, Leslie Norwood, and Antonio Graña, as well as independent candidate Patricia Waiters and John Madigan – a former BOE trustee.

All eight candidates will via for three, three-year terms in the non-partisan November 8th contest.

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  1. “Leadership the listens” – Really? How about leadership that hides and obfuscates. The vote yes people could have had the referendum in November, but they didn’t want that. Instead, we had it in January and it still got voted down by an over 2 to 1 margin despite their voter suppression tactics. Kudos to all the people who really listened and voted down that monstrosity.

    The only side that is listening is Kids First and that is a fact. If the “leadership that listens” slate had truly listened, then the referendum would never have taken place in the first place. Who were these Candidates listening to anyways? Because the way I see it that HS project that was presented was a $330 million dollar boondoggle (counting interest) and most of the money went to amenities and not academics.

    • Hey kurt you really want these folks to win?
      Then take a hike. Your meme is a popular trump/ insurrectionist icon
      Your comments are dumb, and your mocking of Bhalla’s turban taints you and all you touch.
      Enjoy your final years on the sewer commission.
      Cash your paycheck and stuff it

      • I know that meme really pisses you off. That is why I still have it. You must have me confused with someone else because I’m as liberal as they come. You can confirm that with the horse yourself.

        Why won’t you or any of you Bhalla/BOE operatives answer the question I posed in the beginning of this thread: How do you justify spending $330 million on the HS? It is a fair question for those “listening” candidates to answer.

        I will not be drawn into a petty debate along partisan lines. That is Ravi’s playbook and not mine or many of the other voters I talk to as well.

        As far as the Sewer Commission I’m on it till 2026 in the only paid board position so you stuff it. Ravi had a chance to take me out and blew it. The business administrator could only come up with an old drunk to challenge me and that blew up in his sniveling scheming face. I’m on my way to $50,000 over ten years and there is nothing you or any of you Ravibots can do about it.

        Now answer the question: Why $330 million bond the high school is good thing. Answer it or get off this damn thread you Ravi-tool.

      • HobokenResistance is no one’s lap dog. He’s the Pimp Daddy of good government in Hoboken.

        No amount of Stinkus will change it. Thank you very much Hoboken Resistance

  2. Yes! Let’s vote for the Trump loving loser, the other lady who started a petition to eliminate all Covid protocols in Charter Schools, and the other lady who reminds us of Betsy DeVos.

    This is a clown show backed by Joe Brancoe and Paul Predazano.

    • Right, what a world when these candidates are infinitely preferable to the others who literally tried to rob the town blind, and institute voter suppression, all so that their kids wouldn’t have to drive the 15min to bayonne to play ice hockey.

        • Just to clarify for anyone reading these comments and who might let them inform their opinion but wasn’t a parent of a child in the Hoboken Public School district in 2020/2021/2022 or not aware of their approach – the current BOE and the Superintendent worked together with administrators, teachers and staff to develop a 2020-2021 school year plan, providing the unique opportunity for onsite or remote learning, and giving HPS students and families the gift of choosing the educational path that fit their needs during unprecedented and challenging times.
          Their Test to return plan kept kids safe while allowing them to return in person. You’d be hard pressed to find another public district that did this as successfully as ours- and THANKS to the BOE and Dr. Johnson.
          This election ISN’T just about views on a referendum, it’s about the total experience for the kids, first.
          Only Leadership That Listens has that as their priority!

    • Exactly, Romano is another one who tried, and it will all come out. He knew about the referendum before the November election and kept his mouth shut! His payoff was his no show 50K a year taxpayer funded job that started Jan 1st. Exactly 24 days before the election, he was a big Vote Yes person.

    • This “clown show” sounds more grounded than the group that tried to spend $241m on a dubious plan without any conversation. All in for this team…we need some professionalism on the BOE and this group fills that void.

  3. The Kids First team has my support. After that $241 million referendum debacle, we need to elect committed professionals who will truly put kids first.

  4. The team that listens still has not explained the justification of the $330 million monstrosity. I declare victory for this debate by default. The pettiness and outright stupidity of teeny zucchini and Travis and all the other losers on the team Ravi side have really lost their marbles.

    The referendum cannot be brought up again until next year. If team yes wins the referendum will definitely be brought again and this time it will be closer to $400 million due to increased interest costs. No confusion here. The costs to maintain a hockey rink are astronomical and have nothing to with education. And a football Stadium on top of the HS. Nothing more elitist than that!