Board of Ed – Vote Today!

4/21/2009 Update:


Updated Numbers

If you take the county machine numbers plus the absentees, here are the new totals:

  1. 2958 – Theresa Minutillo
  2. 2792 – Maureen Sullivan
  3. 2689 – Ruth McAllister
  4. 2373 – Frank Raia
  5. 2237 – Hector Irizarry
  6. 2049 – Anthony Oland

4/21/2009 Update:

Kids First Wins

ELECTION RESULTS PDF (As provided by the City)

Final Machine and Absentee Ballot Count

  1. 2792 – Maureen Sullivan
  2. 2689 – Ruth McAllister
  3. 2563 – Theresa Minutillo
  4. 2373 – Frank Raia
  5. 2237 – Hector Irizarry
  6. 2049 – Anthony Oland

1919 – YES
1885 – NO

Total votes cast: 5645

More information later…

4/21/2009 Update:


And They’re Off!…..

The polls are now open (2pm) for the 2009 Board of Education election and school budget vote. The two slates will stand or fall on one issue: who gets their vote out. Thousands will cast their ballots today, but tens of thousands more won’t bother. Frank Raia’s absentee ballot operation has apparently come up short of his 800-vote target. Pupie needs absentees to have a better shot of controlling the vote. When a Carmelo Garcia voter goes to vote at the polls Raia doesn’t know if they are just going to bullet vote Hector Irrizary or if they’re going to stick with their deal and vote the full ticket.

In contrast, supporters of the Sullivan/McAllister/Minutillo ticket are more likely to support their entire slate to win the crucial majority on the board. While some of Theresa Minutillo’s supporters are jealous of the attention Maureen Sullivan has attracted, they know they can’t afford to bullet vote the incumbent. Likewise, people turned off by Minutillo’s political alliances are likely to swallow their pride and vote for her anyway to ensure there are enough votes to get things done.

Endorsements and Political Statements

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the vote today is NOT a proxy for what’s to come in May. There are six people on the ballot facing each other, and they stand or fall on their own. The election for Mayor and Council is a different animal altogether with separate issues and personalities. In fact, it’s quite possible that candidates running together today on both school board tickets may support different Mayoral candidates next month. Today is just the school board race, plain and simple.

Cammarano plays it coy, Mason encourages voters

Peter Cammarano has made no public statement on the race, but his decision to place School Board President Frances Rhodes-Kearns on his Council-at-Large slate should give you an idea how he feels about the direction of the district. In different ways, both Cammarano and Beth Mason have decided not to insert Mayoral politics into the school board race.

Beth Mason sent out this letter yesterday:

“Dear Friends,

Education is one of the long-lasting gifts we can provide our children. Tomorrow, Tuesday, April 21, your vote can determine the direction our schools will take to offer the best public education possible. It is important to involve yourself in the decisions that affect the future of our children and our city.

I seek to make decisions I believe are in the best interest of those I represent. The future of our students, teachers, taxpayers and ultimately our country is very important and candidates should stand individually on their involvement, experience and the dedication toward creating a school district that works for all our children.

I respect the fact that both slates have advocated keeping politics out of school board elections. In a Mayoral election year it is particularly important to keep city politics out of the Board of Education race.

The focus of the Board of Ed elections should be on what is best for the schools, for the kids who attend them and for the parents and taxpayers who support them, and not on which Mayoral candidate is tied to which slate. Too much politicization of the Board of Ed race has already occurred during this election cycle, and I do not wish to contribute to what, I believe, is an undermining of the Board of Ed’s purpose.

I encourage everyone to exercise the privilege and responsibility as citizens to vote in tomorrow’s school board election.

Beth Mason
Councilwoman 2nd Ward”

The more people who vote today, the more likely Kids First will come away with a victory, since apathy – not Frank Raia – is their true enemy. Mason was an early supporter of Maureen Sullivan in her independent run last year, and many of her supporters will surely be pulling for Sullivan and her team today. That leaves Dawn Zimmer as the only major Mayoral candidate to send out a release endorsing a ticket.

Dawn Zimmer Endorses Kids First Slate

Councilwoman Dawn Zimmer endorsed the Kids First Slate of Theresa Minutillo, Maureen Sullivan and Ruth McAllister. Zimmer said, “Theresa, Maureen and Ruth are committed to the changes we need in our schools. They strongly support focusing more resources on the classroom to help our kids learn and cutting back administrative overhead in order to accomplish this important goal.”

Dawn Zimmer noted that this will be an especially important School Board election. “The next School Board will face new challenges due to the continuing fiscal crisis, which could be made worse by a potential reduction of Abbott Funding”, said Zimmer. “We need dedicated School Board members who will work hard to do more with less,” Zimmer added.

Councilwoman Zimmer encouraged all Hoboken voters, no matter who they plan to support to vote in the school board election. According to Zimmer, less than 4,000 people voted in the last school board election as opposed to 22,000 who voted in the 2008 Presidential election. “Thirty percent of our property tax dollars go to the schools and it is critical that we ensure every dollar is well spent,” said Zimmer.

The polls close at 9pm. Check back with Hoboken411 for the results, and read yesterday’s preview below.


The first in a string of spring elections comes our way tomorrow when the polls open at 2pm for the annual Board of Education election.

24 hours till you can vote

The competition this year is fierce, with Frank Raia’s dads facing Maureen Sullivan’s moms to decide who will control the school board in the year ahead. The “New Look” Kids First has spent its money on internet advertising and mailers while Pupie’s Posse focused on wordy print ads and a massive push for absentee ballots. Hoboken411 hasn’t heard boo from the Raia/Oland/Irrizary slate, which ran an old school campaign with no internet outreach. If they had a video to post, I’d post it, but instead we have one today from the Kids First team:

The budget is a LOT of money!

In addition to the election we have the annual vote on the budget. In the 23 years Phil Cohen has lived in Hoboken, he’s never voted against the school budget, but after seeing the letter teachers union President Gary Enrico wrote to his membership posted here on Hoboken411, Phil will be turning thumbs down tomorrow. He sent a note to the editor of the Hoboken Reporter indicating he would be sending a letter advocating others vote “No” vote on the budget as well.

Imagine Phil’s surprise when he got a response saying it would not be published because of their policy of not running “negative” letters the weekend before an election. Now, its one thing to say they won’t run a “Candidate A kicked my dog” letter the weekend before, but they will only publish letters from people who want to see the school budget PASS the weekend before the vote??

Seems a little ridiculous to me, so I bring you the letter the paper wouldn’t publish:

Here’s what Phil had to say:

Vote NO on the School Budget
“To The Editor-

I was educated in New Jersey public schools and am the son of a parent who served three-terms as a trustee of the Board of Education. I believe in the importance of public schools and in the 23 years that I have lived in Hoboken I have always voted for the school budget. However, on April 21st, for the first time in my life, I will vote NO on the school budget and wanted to explain why.

We in Hoboken are suffering through an unprecedented fiscal crisis. The shocks to the financial industry have cost large number of our residents their jobs and those residents who are fortunate to still have their jobs worry about their job security and are trying to cut back in many ways to protect against things getting worse in their lives. At the same time, property taxes, which support the public schools, have increased 47%. People are hurting and need help.

Unfortunately, the leadership of Hoboken’s Teachers’ Union, just doesn’t get it. Thomas L. Friedman, in his March 17, 2009 column in the New York Times wrote about how teachers in other public school districts “get it” and have responded in the public interest. He wrote:

“The schoolteachers here [in Montgomery County, Maryland], who make on average $67,000 a year, recently voted to voluntarily give up their 5 percent pay raise that was contractually agreed to for next year, saving our school system $89 million — so programs and teachers would not have to be terminated.”

Here, in Hoboken, Gary Enrico, President of the Hoboken Education Association, screams at Board of Education meetings, threatening Trustees who do not support retroactive raises and orchestrates massive demonstrations of municipal employees at Board Meetings and leads walkouts at Board of Education meetings when the meetings do not go as he likes. He also has threatened retaliation at the polls for any trustee who dares to vote against the union’s demands. Not satisfied with delivering an extraordinary contract for himself and his members, now that it is election time, Mr. Enrico is following through on his threats for revenge.

On April 7, 2009, Mr. Enrico wrote every single teacher in the Hoboken school district in response to one slate of Board of Education candidates’ suggestion that Hoboken teachers should pay a health care deductible and part of their insurance premiums to reduce costs. Mr. Enrico responded that “This will never happen as long as I am president.” His April 7, 2009 letter threatens teachers with the consequences of losing their benefits and their jobs if they do not mobilize on behalf of the other team of candidates for the Board of Education and orders his members to fight for the school budget. He commanded all teachers to attend a General Membership meeting on Monday April 20th @3:00 pm in the Hoboken High School Cafeteria where “I will lay out our plans for Election Day. No excuses.”

It is clear that our fine and hard-working teachers are not being well-served by their union leadership. Mr. Enrico just doesn’t get it, and the Board of Education’s current leadership does not have the will to stand up to the union. We need to send a clear message at the polls that it’s time for our teachers to find a new leader, one who does not divide our teachers from our community and who is sensitive to the real pain that we taxpayers of Hoboken are feeling.

On April 21, please join me and vote NO on the school budget. A NO vote on the budget is a vote for fiscal sanity to return to our public schools.

Phil Cohen

Oh, but praise for the budget is A-OK!

While that was too much for the paper, they did manage to publish this letter in favor of the budget from City Clerk and longtime School Board member Jimmy Farina:

“Dear Editor:

I ask all members of the public to join with me and the Hoboken Board of Education in support of the school budget on Tuesday, April 21. For the last two years the board has worked closely with the superintendent to present to the voters a good budget, a budget that is responsible and works to right size the district’s staff and expenditures. This budget provides the resources for a high quality education for our students and reasonable growth for our taxpayers ..

The budget for next year reflects a decrease of 2.81 percent in the tax rate. This decrease in the tax rate was achieved by cutting expenses. The cuts include the elimination of nearly 20 positions to make sure the district is correctly staffed. The budget also reflects funding for new programs throughout the district, including peer-leadership training in the middle schools, increased offerings in Saturday U and the Johns Hopkins program, Read 180, Lit Life and new electives in the high school. This budget reflects hard work aimed at controlling spending. With your support that hard word will continue as we move into the future. Please join me in voting Yes for the school budget on Tuesday, April 21. Polls are open from 2 to 9 p.m. Thank you.

James Farina
Member, Hoboken Board of Education”

How do you plan to vote? Do you plan to vote?

Will you be like the vast majority of Hoboken registered voters who ignore the annual Board of Ed election or do you intend to make time between 2pm and 9pm tomorrow to add your voice to the mix? Comment below good bad or indifferent.

Leave a Reply

177 Comments on "Board of Ed – Vote Today!"

7 years 5 months ago

sounds like a great plan.

7 years 5 months ago

[quote comment=”151393″]Anyone going to the swearing in on Tuesday.[/quote]

I will go for the swearing in, but I will leave before Jack starts naming people who will lose their jobs.

Can’t this just be a swearing in?

How about they swear the new board members in, then head over to Maxwells for some dinner and drinks?

7 years 5 months ago

one more try.. Conrgrats to the hard working Kids First team!! Anyone going to the swearing in on Tuesday.

7 years 5 months ago

Ref: #173

How can there be a thread kept on topic?
……. a cherry without a stone?
……..a ring that has no end?
……..a chicken without a bone?
……..a poster with no agenda?
……..a baby with no cryin’?

Thank you & good luck to the new board members!

7 years 5 months ago

Thanks to everyone who came and got involved, we have a chance to continue the successes that work and get rid of the bureaucracy. This was truly a historic event.

There were red shirts everywhere. It is so empowering to know that when people take a stand and join together we can make great changes. Kudos to the citizens of Hoboken!!!