I lost, but I’m still here.

By | January 5, 2022

I lost badly, finishing with only 1174 votes and now: we all might lose.

The Hoboken Board of Education, with support of winning Team Bhalla is pushing through a massively expensive sports complex with an attached high school under the guise of improving our schools. Improving our schools is a noble goal that I support – but I’d like to see every dollar spent go towards improvement in educational outcomes. Here is my open letter to the BOE:

Board of Education & Dr. Christine Johnson,

I’m a longtime Hoboken resident (August 15th, 1998) and longtime Hoboken business owner (December 5th, 2002). My daughter will soon attend school in Hoboken (fingers crossed for the upcoming pre-K lottery). Since the closure of the local movie theater, my business has become the only family entertainment facility in Hoboken. Play! Hoboken also works with schools in Hoboken to provide both academic and physical education.

I am shocked and dismayed that a referendum to bond for a school development project this important was sprung on Hoboken residents with such short notice. The scale of this project is enormous. This proposal was presented at ‘public meetings’, but concerns raised by parents and residents were completely ignored. A pre-written FAQ on a website is not an appropriate way to answer valid questions from concerned parents.

Considering the size of this project, it is more important to get things right than to get things done quickly. I’ve listened to both sides, I’m inclined to agree with those who feel that this is a sports complex first and a school second. Some believe this project will destroy Columbus Park and I agree; this project will have a negative effect on Columbus Park during construction and once completed. The school’s value to our children’s education is questionable at best. Nearly all talking points for this project involve extra-curricular. This school falls short on the improvements it will make in academics.

NJSDA is a state organization (www.njsda.gov) that funds, designs and builds New Jersey schools with the best possible outcomes for the students for 31 lucky districts within the state.  Hoboken is one of those districts.  Why isn’t NJSDA involved in this project?  The Board of Education says there isn’t funding through NJSDA for a new high school but it’s not just about funding, it’s about expertise. This sort of project is far above the qualifications of our board of education. Why does the Hoboken Board of Education believe it can do better to design and fund a school than the professionals who are tasked with this exact purpose? 

My wife is a Hoboken resident and an architect with a degree from the top school in the country. She designs schools professionally and is putting the final touches on a 1000+ student school in Queens. She would design a much better school than what you’ve shown us. Why should Hoboken children have to settle for a far inferior school than one in Queens designed by a Hoboken architect?

Please reconsider this project, we can do better for the children and residents of Hoboken.

Ian Rintel – Play! Hoboken

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