Hoboken Board of Education

Mayor should support schools, parents' choices

In a recent column in a local newspaper, Mayor Roberts has indicated that he wants to change the process of selecting School Board members from an elected to -appointed Board. The reasoning given in the column is that the Mayor feels that the District is not responsive to the community. Apparently the Mayor thinks the public is incapable of making decisions facing our children. This is another not so veiled attempt by the Mayor to grab power for political gain.

Board of Education: Horrible display by board members

Dear Editor:
On Tuesday, August 8, 2006, I attended the Hoboken Board of Education monthly meeting – as a citizen of the city of Hoboken and a strong advocate for education; I am writing to express my disheartening concerns regarding the behavior exhibited by the Hoboken Board of Education Trustees with the exception of Theresa Minutillo. First, I would like to commend board member Theresa Minutillo for her leadership initiative in advocating for the "Open Process" – it is my observation that all other board members always engage in dialogue about the "Open Process" but does not take advantage of implementing the process when the opportunity is presented to make progressive changes for the betterment of the children.

To David Anthony

Dear Editor:

Evolution vs. Revolution!

An evolutionary process takes eons. In contrast, revolution gets results.

Hoboken's students cannot afford to wait any longer for evolution to plod along; it is time for change in the immediate!

You, sir, have been sitting on the Board of Education for 11 years. Perhaps you would dazzle us Hobokenites with your results and accomplishments during that time. In your letter to the editor you stated, "Over the past 11 years as a Board member I have listened to you and learned." Let us in on those lessons learned and what action(s) you have taken as a result. You also said, "I have fought and won many battles on behalf of the children." That is rhetoric! Enlighten us with a list of those battles and your victories. You might want to touch on what you did about the Abbott funding loss (and Mayor Roberts might want to make a statement about that as well.)

Hoboken's school children have a pitiful record of low State test scores, low SAT scores and an appallingly low percentage of seniors going onto higher education.

There is a deadly lack of preparation for the "real world" for seniors who are not furthering their educations. They are the ones who get minimum wage jobs, with no futures and no benefits, because they are unable to properly fill out a job application, or create a credible resume. Shameful! No training exists for these soon to be young adults. Parents need to advocate more for these at risk kids!

I heard that at a special meeting Mr. Curko will relinquish his Board Secretary position. I seriously question, given that you already have a full time gig, how will you manage with your additional responsibilities? You were on the Board last year when they approved over $700,000 in overtime pay for our custodians. The overblown $50 million budget cannot abide such situations. You must answer for that and the fact that Hoboken has the highest administration costs per pupil in Hudson County.

With all the overspending, it blows me away that the Board prioritizes fat cats, while the students languish.

Louise Friedman

Politics aside, Carmelo is doing great things

Dear Editor: I read with interest your front page story on Carmelo Garcia and the controversy over his role as a member of the Hoboken Board of Education. I was very disappointed that you failed to recognize his role as an advocate of improving public education for our children or his service to our community as Director of Health and Human Services. Carmelo has always been an advocate of the "people" whether young or old, but also those who deserve or are in need of essential services. Mr. Garcia has always been an advocate of our children, and his passion for that cause is displayed both on the Board of Education and in Human Services. Hoboken has never been offered as much programming for our children or offered as many opportunities since Mayor Roberts appointed Carmelo to serve as a City Director. Subsequently, a member of the Board of Education, Carmelo has worked equally as hard to provide and promote cutting-edge programs in our schools. Unfortunately, politics becomes an unfortunate factor that undermines policy and performance. However, all one has to do is overlook words and focus on results to recognize the accomplishments that the Roberts' administration and Carmelo have achieved over the past four years. We are very proud to have Carmelo as a Latino leader in this community. Substance always wins over style, and I salute Carmelo Garcia for all he has given our city. Luz Marrero

The kids aren't alright

Dear Editor:

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking pass Hoboken High School while some students were still gathered outside waiting to go in. I was appalled at the sights, sounds and smells as I passed. I am aware and have never judged a book by its cover; however, with pants hanging well below the waist and gathered two sizes too long at the bottom, girls' navels exposed, bandannas around students' heads, etc., I am concerned about our future citizens. The language from the mouths of some students between slang words and cursing, I wonder how anyone can possibly understand or respect those individuals. And lastly, the stale stench of cigarette smoke was most sickening. I thought I was walking through miles of dirty ashtrays.

Now let's go back in time, and some of you out there will remember when Mr. Gaynor was principal. First, there was a strict dress code, and students looked like they were prepared or being prepared for the outside business world. Second, though we did use slang language as a way of conversation at times, cursing was very seldom heard or not heard at all; we had respect for each other and more importantly, respect for ourselves. And lastly, smoking was prohibited anywhere around the school and surrounding areas. I remember getting detention because I was smoking in the park across the street from the school.

My question to our school supervisors, educators and principal is "what happened to authority and respect?" I know the dress code standards back in the 70's and 80's are too strict and impossible for many of the young people today; however, they could look a bit more decent and look like they actually fit into their clothes. As far as the language spoken, judging by the students I observed speaking in this manner, it may be an impossible task. The smoking issue most positively can be controlled. Just like the teacher that was standing holding the door open on 9th Street stopped a female student walking into school with headphones on and made her put them in her bag prior to her entering school. This is the same teacher that could have and should have prohibited the smoking near the cafeteria area.

If more teachers were visible outside of school and enforcing rules and regulations, which was how it was in the 70's and 80's, our young people may start having respect for the school system, people walking pass them and for themselves.

Debra Morrissette
A former HHS student

Sorting it out at the Board of Ed

Dear Editor: Change is evolutionary...not revolutionary. While media circus with the Board of Ed may be confusing to most, there is some truth in there. There is a fundamental shift in philosophy and direction going on. In the end, these struggling, posturing and politics will deliver a better school system. For the parents of school children, know that the administrators, teachers and support staff show up every day to service your children to the best of their ability. For the taxpayer, know that controlling spending and putting the dollars where they are needed is a high priority. Over the past 11 years as a Board member I have listened to you and learned. I have fought and won many battles on behalf of the children. I believe the schools are better than a decade ago. Regardless of the past, we must continue to adapt and change to the needs of the community. I thank you in advance for your continued support. As a Board Secretary I will work hard through actions, not words. Please bear with us. Sincerely, David Anthony

City Budget: OK, let's look at what Roberts has done - and hasn't

In his letter in the Oct. 27 issue, Hoboken's Chief Financial Officer Michael Lenz asks that the we judge the Roberts administration "on what we do". I agree. Let's look at their fiscal record.

Councilman Roberts used to rail against high spending at the Board of Education. Yet in the last election, Mayor Roberts took no position on the budget? How should we view his silence?