As Chairwoman of the Hoboken Board of Education's Finance committee, I am encouraging all Hoboken residents to attend the upcoming School Board budget hearing on March 25th. As has been widely reported, the new School Budget being proposed by Superintendent Jack Raslowsky is roughly $56.9 million up from $52.9 million budgeted last year. This increase continues a disturbing trend - spiraling costs in the face of declining enrollment and slow educational progress.
Following the March 3rd presentation of the budget, I and my fellow Kids First Board Trustees - Carrie Gilliard, Rose Marie Markle and President Theresa Minutillo - raised this issue and highlighted another disturbing fact: our per student cost is now projected to be $24,482 per child. This massive jump from the $ 20,814 reported last year is only partly due to increased costs - the greater part of the apparent increase comes from a change in practice - this year we have stopped over-estimating future student enrollment.
In light of this newly acknowledged reality, over the past several weeks we have had a number of serious and far-reaching conversations with the Superintendent. This had led to a stated commitment on his part to take on the difficult task to immediately reducing costs and proposing significant cuts to the budget. We are gratified by this resolve and look forward to working closely with Jack once he presents a new budget proposal. That said, we are committed to using our oversight role to ensure that cuts come from administrative overhead, and not from effective educational programs or from classroom instruction.
We don't agree with the Board member who stated at the last meeting "whether we are paying $19,000 or $29,000 per student the good people of Hoboken have always passed our budget, and always will." We hope and trust that Hoboken taxpayers will pay for good and ever improving education. We believe they will not - and should not - pay for waste and mismanagement.
On the 25th of March, we will be working to craft a budget in cooperation with the Superintendent that reflects those priorities. We need your support if we are to prevail in presenting the voters of Hoboken with a budget that will produce the results we deserve. Hope to see you there at the Board of Education, 1115 Clinton Street, 7 p.m.