Lines in the sand were drawn during the end-of-year holiday season in 2021 when Hoboken residents first heard of a $241 million school referendum. Who are the biggest winners and losers with the vote in the books now?
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The referendum opposition
Republican, Democratic, and unaffiliated voters (a few pictured above) came together to soundly defeat the referendum. They will certainly run a BOE slate this fall, but the bigger question is how far will they try to spread their wings in the Mile Square City?
Hoboken Republican Party
The committee paid for lawn and window signs, while Chair Joe Branco and Secretary Pavel Sokolov were key in organizing the GOTV efforts on Election Day.
Tiffanie Fisher and Ruben Ramos
The 2nd ward councilwoman and 4th ward councilman, respectively, were the only elected officials to come out against the referendum. They now have a much larger audience paying attention when they criticize the Mayor Ravi Bhalla administration.
While 19 percent turnout doesn’t sound spectacular at a glance, it is actually very good considering that is more voter participation than some council races get. They also will not have to bear the burden of a six percent tax increase now.
The Board of Education
The BOE trustees, along with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Christine Johnson, were the biggest proponents of the plan and were unable to convince the electorate this ambitious option was necessary. Their upcoming meetings will certainly have some interesting public portions.
Bhalla and his allies on the city council supported the project, with Councilwoman-at-Large Emily Jabbour working the hardest to help, but the final vote tally wasn’t close. The council meetings just got a lot more enticing, for politicos at least.
Believe it or not, there are some parents and teachers who legitimately wanted the referendum to pass so students would have state-of-the-art facilities for many years to come and that would be worth any price tag. Of course most Hoboken voters disagreed.