The filing deadline is Monday, Feb. 25.
However, with the public schools closed all of this week, those who haven't already picked up a filing packet may have a harder time getting one. When asked about this, Board Secretary David Anthony said he will leave a note on the door of the board office at 1115 Clinton St. this week letting people know how they may pick up a packet (see sidebar).
Various political leaders have said they will back certain candidates in the race.
The April elections may be a dress rehearsal for the council and mayor elections in May of 2009.
Three running for re-election Three of the incumbents on the nine-member board plan to run for re-election this spring, and political observers are asking whether Mayor David Roberts, as well as various council members and the town's various "reformers," will put together their own tickets.
Seats on the nine-member school board are unpaid. The members must vote on the board's annual school budget (currently $52 million) and manage a district with six schools and two charter schools.
All three incumbent board members - Board Vice President Frances Rhodes-Kearns, member Tricia Snyder, and member Carmelo Garcia (who has a full-time job helping run the Hoboken Housing Authority projects) - have already declared their intention to run for re-election this spring.
All registered Hoboken residents are eligible to vote in April's election for three members and for the next school budget.
Candidates roaming at Tuesday's board meeting In addition to the three incumbents, several former candidates and former board members said last week that they are considering a run. Many of them were present at Tuesday night's relatively uneventful school board meeting.
Former school board member Theresa Burns, a parent who lost her election bid last spring, was present at the meeting as she often is. Burns, who took out a candidate packet, said she is unsure yet whether she will run again. She said it depends on the political landscape of the race.
"I won't run to be a spoiler," she said. "If it looks as though there are certain people who will cannibalize a certain vote, I won't sacrifice the larger picture for my own interest."
One of the reasons Burns is considering a campaign is because of what she described as the "hostile" way in which certain board members treat Superintendent Jack Raslowsky.
Throughout the year, the recently elected "reform" board faction has been criticized by opponents for supposedly micromanaging Raslowsky's decisions, rather than setting policy.
After hearing about Burns' comments, Board President Theresa Minutillo objected to the charge.
"The superintendent does not have the authority to run the district on his own," she said. "We have a responsibility to the district to work with [Raslowsky] so to ensure the students are receiving the best education they can."
Last year, Minutillo was the only board member to vote against Raslowsky's appointment as superintendent, although she said her dissenting vote was based on the quick way in which the selection process was run, and not Raslowsky.
Also present at Tuesday's meeting was Felicia Rubino-Drasheff, a former candidate who also regularly attends meetings, and who also lost an election campaign of her own last year.
"I have a vested interest in the [Hoboken school district], and I'm seriously committed to education in Hoboken," said Drasheff, whose two daughters attend the Wallace School. "Although I think we're going in the right direction, I haven't seen as much policy decisions being discussed at board meetings as I'd like to."
She said she was considering a run, but is undecided now.
Another former board member present at the meeting was Ron Rosenberg, who ran for a council seat last year and lost. In the past, he has campaigned with Burns and current board member (and former council candidate) Frank Raia.
"I am seriously considering it," Rosenberg said. "I think I have a different and unique perspective that can be beneficial to the students of this town."
Raia declined to say whom he would support this year.
Roberts, Zimmer, and Russo In addition to Minutillo picking up three candidate packets, Michele Russo, wife of former Mayor Anthony Russo and mother of current 3rd Ward Councilman Michael Russo, also picked up three candidate packets. According to Michele, who was herself a board member from 2000 through 2003, she took out the packages for a few residents she believed would make a positive impact on the board, reiterating Burns' assessment of the way the board treats Raslowsky.
Michele Russo said that she believed the three candidates she would support had already taken out the packets; but she wanted to leave no room for error.
When asked where he stood on the upcoming election, Councilman Michael Russo, who attended several board meetings at the end of last year to challenge certain decisions, said that he was currently in the process of interviewing people whom he felt would best help the school system and aid Raslowsky.
Raslowsky, a former private school principal who lives in Hoboken, was chosen for the position last year.
In keeping with the same sentiment, Mayor David Roberts said that over the past few weeks, he has had "serious conversations with parents and other residents who have expressed their interest in being candidates."
Roberts, who held the state's first forum on charter schools 12 years ago and has vocally advocated reform in the district, said, "We have one of the best superintendents, and we need people who will help [Raslowsky] move forward an agenda that will make our public schools even better."
Former candidates and board members weren't the only ones at Tuesday evening's meeting.
Also present was Jenny Davis, who was the campaign manager of 4th Ward Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer last year. Zimmer supporter Rachel Goldberg was also there. When asked if this meant that Zimmer was proposing a ticket of her own, both women laughed.
Davis, who is not yet a Hoboken resident but plans to become one later in the year, said that her reason for attending the meeting was purely out of curiosity, having always had a passion for education.
Goldberg, who has a master's in education from Harvard University with a concentration on education policy, specifically with regards to urban secondary schools, had a similar response.
According to Goldberg, who teaches English at a public high school in Elizabeth, she attended Tuesday's meeting not as a potential candidate, but rather a concerned resident.
After adamantly saying that she was not forming a ticket, Zimmer herself said that she hopes Goldberg will run one day, as she would be an asset to the board and in turn the students.
Rumors confronted, candidacies confirmed After winning three of four seats in last year's elections, the Kids First ticket, which is described by many as a reform slate, were rumored to be having difficulty in forming a ticket for this year.
Indeed, the reform movement in Hoboken has had some problems with reformers attacking each other in advance of the 2009 mayoral election.
Last year, the Kids First slate successfully supported current board members Rose Marie Markle, Carrie Gilliard, and Tricia Snyder.
According to Board President Theresa Minutillo, the rumor of splintering couldn't be further from the truth.
"Absolutely not," replied Minutillo. "The process of selecting a candidate we can support is a long process. All Kids First members have influence over the decision so that when we do decide on a ticket, each of us can completely and fully support every single person on that ticket."
Minutillo added that they are reaching out to all segments of the community.
Snyder will lead this year's ticket. She said her first priority "is to build a stronger curriculum." A lack of a district-wide curriculum was cited as a problem by a panel of local educators last year.
The other two seats on that ticket have yet to be announced.
Snyder added that she would like to see a greater emphasis on art and music across the district, while providing older students with more college preparatory classes and a better selection of vocational programs.
Another incumbent and mother of two who has decided to run for re-election is board Vice President Frances Rhodes-Kearns.
"Education and helping children have always been my passion," said Kearns, who has served on the board for the past six years. As a mother who works two jobs, Kearns feels she is a representative of the many working families who send their children to Hoboken public schools.
The third and possibly most charismatic incumbent running for re-election this year is board member Carmelo Garcia, who also has served the district in his current capacity for the past six years.
"As a parent of two children who are currently enrolled in the district, I'm passionate about improving student achievement and making sure that our children receive a top-notch education that teaches them to think more creatively, conceptually, and critically," Garcia said.
Garcia stressed the importance of providing students early on in their education with an academic roadmap that assesses their strengths and obstacles.
Garcia recently introduced a $1,000 scholarship to be awarded to a college-bound graduating high school senior.
Two other Hoboken residents who took out candidate packets last week were Phil Campbell and Eugene Drayton. Campbell, a salesman who was born and raised in Hoboken and is a product of the Hoboken Public School system said his reason for running is to "give back to the system that helped me and hopefully enhance it, so to better prepare students for the challenges that face them."
When asked if he was joining a ticket, he said he couldn't answer that question at this time.
Drayton, a retired Hoboken police detective and former president of the Hoboken chapter of the NAACP, said that he had no comment at this time and would know by the end of next week.
Run for school board; your taxes are involved Do you want to run for the Hoboken Board of Education? Three seats on the nine-member board are up for election on April 15. School board seats are unpaid. Board members vote on policy, personnel, and the district's annual budget. Currently, the budget is $52 million. It is funded by state aid, federal aid, and your tax dollars.
You must file to run by the deadline of Monday, Feb. 25. Candidates must be Hoboken residents.
To pick up a packet to run, go to 1115 Clinton St., the Board of Education building.
The schools are closed this week, but Board Secretary David Anthony said he will leave a note up telling candidates where they can pick up a packet.
Michael Mullins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.