Superintendent of Hoboken schools posts letter regarding charter school-related lawsuit
Apr 30, 2014 | 2679 views | 1 1 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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HOBOKEN -- Recently, the majority of the Hoboken school board voted to hire a lawyer to try to overturn state approval for the expansion of the HoLa charter school, a bilingual charter school, to grades 7 and 8.

Some board members have said that the charter schools in town (of which there are three) draw too many resources from the other public schools, and are too ethnically segregated as compared to the rest of the district.

On Wednesday, Superintendent Marc Toback submitted a letter to the Reporter and also posted it on the district's website.

The letter follows. See related stories linked below, and leave comments below.

Dear Residents,

Last week, the HoLa Dual Language Charter School ran a prominent advertisement in the Hoboken Reporter, publicly urging the Hoboken Board of Education to drop a lawsuit. In light of this, it is appropriate for the public to know what is actually happening.

First, there is no lawsuit against HoLa. Instead, the Hoboken Board of Education filed a petition with the Department of Eduction focused primarily on the department's actions in approving the expansion of HoLa to include seventh and eighth grade. In doing so, the Hoboken Board of Education is following the established procedure by which all disputes involving the New Jersey Department of Education are resolved. The matter will not be part of any trial, but may result in administrative proceedings. Any advancement of the petition is dependent on how the New Jersey Department of Education responds.

Second, the petition is not seeking any kind of monetary damages. Rather, it asks that:

1. The March 5, 2014 renewal and expansion of HoLa be set aside;

2. The Commissioner of Education should reassess granting the renewal and expansion in accordance with New Jersey statutes and the New Jersey Administrative Code, including a comprehensive review of the school, including but not limited to the segregation effect and funding on non-charter school students;

3. The Commissioner of Education should implement a remedial plan to address the issues of funding and segregation within the currently approved grades if a renewal is granted. An expansion should not be granted until a remedial plan has been implemented and proven to be effective; and

4. The petition requests any other relief the Commissioner deems just and equitable.

I believe that most residents, upon reading the petition, will agree that the Department of Education's decision was not consistent with current state law and must be re-examined.

I must also make clear that the expansion of HoLa will have a significant impact on the children attending the traditional public schools and is therefore a matter of reasonable concern for the trustees of the Hoboken Board of Education. Likewise, the HoLa community should be equally concerned about the actions of the New Jersey Department of Education as those actions only serve to weaken HoLa and the charter school movement in New Jersey. In summary, The Hoboken Board of Education is simply asking for the Commissioner and the New Jersey Department of Education to follow the laws of this state.

I encourage all residents to read the petition to fully understand the issues (at side).


Mark Toback

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April 30, 2014
Thank you Dr. Toback for defending Hoboken's public school district children and thank you for responding to what apparently was a misleading 1/2 page ad. Could that ad have been paid for by the PR wing of Hola spending my tax dollars to try and mislead me and the rest of the public? If the Hola administration are really professional educators, why don't they know that what the BoE did was follow an established procedure for handling disputes? I know that Hoboken residents have a propensity for 'going to the mattresses' when emotionally charged issues are up at bat, and every disagreement has, at least, two sides - but, they could, at least, be honest in presenting their side to the public.