As a Hoboken taxpayer I am extremely concerned with the mismanagement, waste and corruption in our school system, resulting in the highest per-pupil spending in NJ: $25,000 which is double of the state average. Three years ago the average Hoboken teacher earned $25,000 per year more than statewide and now that discrepancy is growing even greater. The correlation between the exorbitant salaries and benefits of the Hoboken school system employees and the highest per-pupil cost is not in dispute. The superintendent freely admits: “The bulk of our expenses are in salaries and benefits.” The disparity between the Hoboken numbers and the state averages is huge and is faster growing even wider. The problem is just as clear as the solution. It has already been clear for many years. Then why was nothing done to fix it?
The answer became painfully obvious to me at the Board of Education public hearing on budget on March 30. I witnessed an endless line of school system employees expressing their gratitude for their substantial salary increases and their full satisfaction with the new budget and thanking the Board for its generosity with the taxpayers’ money. Then the Board members one after another reached their own backs and padded themselves for the excellent job they did wasting even more of the taxpayers’ money. The new budget increased salaries and benefits with $1,780,446 at time of economic and financial crisis, with rising unemployment, with taxpayers losing their jobs and their benefits, or taking cuts in salaries and benefits in order to keep their jobs.
I have descended into the Orwellian world of Hoboken politics where the lie was truth and the truth was a lie. To the employees and their associations who negotiated the salary and benefits increase of $1,780,446 while we the taxpayers are suffering the most severe recession since the Great Depression, I have this to say: “You are thugs and bullies. Your greed is unchecked and out of control and your corruption is rampant.” The phony and fake self congratulatory speeches of Board members have made me physically sick and I was about to leave the meeting in a complete despair.
And then I suddenly heard a voice of reason, a voice of sanity: Maureen Sullivan. In her cogent analysis she identified the real issues before the Board, the issues the Board chose to ignore. Maureen Sullivan is a mother of two children of school age. A member of the School Leadership Committee and president of PTA, she is deeply involved in and knowledgeable about the Hoboken school system. Maureen Sullivan is the leader we need.
Maureen Sullivan backs the Real Results slate: Liz Markevitch, Kathleen Tucker, John Forsman and Perry Lin who share the same values, strive for the same goals and have the same vision. They will support her in her efforts to reform the school system to reduce mismanagement, waste and corruption. I strongly urge the Hoboken voters to vote for the Real Results slate.