LETTER: A vote for Ciattarelli is a vote against Hoboken Public Schools, mayor says


In a letter to the editor, Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla says that a vote for Republican gubernatorial nominee is a vote against their public schools.

Dear Editor,

Over the last two years we’ve come to see how vital our public school system is to our community. When the pandemic forced us to close schools, it underscored how many basic necessities our schools provide for Hoboken’s children; not just education, but meals, emotional support, and access to the internet.

I was incredibly proud of our Hoboken Public Schools for being one of the only districts in the entire State to open full time for the 2020-2021 school year.

They could not have done this if they didn’t have a strong and supportive financial foundation. So when I hear Jack Ciattarelli continually attack our community, it underscores for me how much is at stake for in our election for our school children.

In the past month alone, Mr. Ciattarelli has made no less than 11 comments about slashing funding for the Hoboken Public School District, reiterating this fact once again at a campaign rally yesterday in Hoboken.

His focus on the price tags of homes rather than the needs of our schoolchildren shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the City and our school district.

His proposed funding formula will immediately lead to budget shortfalls for our school district, including our early childhood education program.

This leaves the district with no other choice but to raise taxes in order to maintain the high level of education and care our children deserve.

He is peddling a “reverse-Robin Hood” policy that will redistribute resources to wealthy communities at the expense of districts like ours. This “us vs. them “ approach is simply bad policy.

I strongly urge Hoboken residents to vote for Governor Phil Murphy, who has proven to be a friend and partner to the City of Hoboken and our public school system, understanding the nuanced needs of our school community are not reflective of median income or home values.

He secured $150 million to safely reopen schools and close the digital divide for all 231,000 students statewide, including those in Hoboken.

He’s set aside funding for tutoring, after school programs, and summer programs, as well as for additional mental health resources for children as they transition back to school in-person, again directly benefiting Hoboken’s students.

And Governor Murphy has been committed to, and focused on, providing universal early childhood education to our state’s youngest students.

He has a proven track record of prioritizing our students needs and providing the necessary investments to ensure a top-notch education.

The choice is clear and the stakes for our children couldn’t be higher: re-elect Governor Phil Murphy.

Ravi S. Bhalla
Mayor, City of Hoboken

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  1. Apparently the mayor doesn’t realize he lives in one of the wealthiest towns in NJ and he still hasn’t figured out how school funding works.

    The state does not need to provide additional funds to Hoboken as the hoboken board of education should be able to run a financially efficient school system with a tax base of over $15 billion in property values.

    • Wrong, wrong, wrong.

      The NJ Governor appoints the NJ Dept of Education Commissioner, and he/she is a member of the Gov’s cabinet. The NJDOE Commissioner serves at the will of the Gov and executes policy/funding in accordance with the Governor’s ‘platform’ and works with the U.S Dept of Education and Education Secretary in implementation of statewide educatiin policy. An NJDOE under Murphy admin is a different world than it would be under a voucher loving
      jackass like Ciatterelli.

  2. You understand the authority of New Jersey’s Governor to implement education policy and reform in accordance with his values- like Murphy has for NJ public schools. Under the NJ Governor, the DOE can lobby the federal govt for education monies and apply for grants, and Murphy has. Murphy believes in the democratization of education through a robust public school system, not in starving public education to dole out vouchers.

  3. This is what GOP admins do: slash taxes on the rich and starve public schools. Trump appointed know-nothing silver-spoon hack Betsy DeVos to do that dirty work, and she did. GOP are TERRIBLE stewards of public education monies, and the starvation is felt in every NJ public school district including HOBOKEN. Christie’s defunding the schools had material impact on Hoboken classrooms. Mayor Bhalla understands this completely.

    “The governor made two cuts to education in 2010 totaling about $1 billion to help close significant budget gaps. The New Jersey Education Law Center, a Newark-based school advocacy group, sued, claiming the cuts violated the law for giving aid to school districts, and put at-risk and poor students at an increased disadvantage.

    Ultimately, a judge agreed with the Education Law Center’s challenge. The judge also found that New Jersey would have needed $1.6 billion to fully fund education in New Jersey in accordance with the state’s funding law, and ordered the state to spend an additional $500 million on public education in poor districts the next year.

    Bottom line? Christie’s cuts totaled $1 billion.”