In a letter to the editor, Hoboken resident Kevin Davis poses the question of what’s the point in having nine board of education trustees when they all always vote yes?
Since January 2019, there has only been one vote where a member of the Hoboken School Board has voted no.
It was in August 2021, when board member Sheillah Dallara voted no on appointing a First Grade Wallace School teacher for a long-term leave replacement position.
Over the last three years, none of the current board members except board member Dallara have voted no on any resolutions.
Is this the kind of representation that we deserve from President Sharyn Angley, Vice President Malani Cademartori, Alex De La Torre, Chetali Khanna, Thomas Kluepfel, Ailene McGuirk, Joyce Simons, & Melanie Tekirian?
What is the point in having nine school board members, when they all vote the same way?
Alex De La Torre, who is running for re-election this year, has yet to vote no on any resolutions during his entire tenure on the school board.
One example of a 9-0 vote is when the HBOE voted to put a $241 million school bond (with an additional $90 million in interest) for a new Hoboken High School on the January 2022 ballot.
Not only did the board unanimously vote to put this on the ballot, but they were united in keeping this quiet until after the November 2021 school board election, even when they have been working on this since 2019.
If this bond had passed, it would have raised school taxes by 20% to build an oversized school without any state aid or meaningful community input. Luckily, this bond was stopped when 65% of voters voted No.
The 35% of Hobokeners who supported the bond have adequate representation on the school board as 100% of school board members supported the bond.
The issue is that the 65% who opposed the school bond, have 0% representation on the school board. It is time for voters to make a change this November since we aren’t being represented by the 9-0 school board!
Another example of the 9-0 school board is that every January the school board votes at their reorganization meeting on the president and vice president of the school board.
Based on what I experienced before the July 2022 school board meeting, I can confidently say that the school board made a mistake when they voted 9-0 on electing Malani Cademartori as their vice president.
Before the meeting started, I was just sitting in one of the middle rows close to the aisle in the Demarest auditorium. Vice President Cademartori got up from her seat on the dais and walked toward me in the stands.
Cademartori stated that she read my letter on expanding the hours of community swim at Hoboken High School and that my letter was “misinformation.”
For something to be misinformation, it must be false, and nothing in my letter was false as city elected officials during the referendum argued that the proposed high school would have increased community access, and my letter quoted Sheillah Dallara stating that the reason why there aren’t any weekend or evening hours is because of the city.
This did not dissuade Vice President Cademartori from demanding that I speak with her before publishing letters.
Ms. Cademartori, I will not speak with you before publishing letters critical of your 9-0 school board, as I have a constitutional right to free speech, and I don’t have to. This is a free country, and as a member of the 65%, you don’t represent me.
To the rest of the school board, you need to listen to Ms. Cademartori’s own words when she stated that “It also helps to be able to check your ego at the door and have a thick skin.” I agree with those words, even though the source of that quote doesn’t practice what she preaches.
We need a leader who represents 100% of Hoboken, not the hawks within the 35% who believe that the Hoboken school board can do no wrong.
There are many issues with the 9-0 school board that could take up more space in this letter, but we can close the book on this chapter by electing three new representatives to the Hoboken Board of Education this fall.
Kevin W. Davis