BoE Candidate Maureen Sullivan
Maureen Sullivan writes her post-election message:
“Thanks, 411ers, for all the support, debate, advice and clever repartee throughout this school board campaign. I am so glad that Hoboken has this forum where ideas can be hashed out all day and all night. You challenged me – and I appreciate that.
Yeah, I’m bummed that I didn’t win. My glorious victory speech stays on ice and I have no good reason to head to the mall and shop for a new outfit.
After less than 2 months of campaigning, I have new respect for the presidential candidates out there every day for seemingly years on end. It was a pleasure meeting so many new people, many of whom said they learned about my campaign here on 411 (shoutout to the “king of manhole covers”). I have a few regrets: aiming a brochure at a lady who was blowing her nose (”I’m blowing my nose, okay?!?”), getting cornered by a guy in the back hallway at Panera who insisted on lecturing me on Maureen Dowd’s views on Israel (and it turned out he’s not even a voter!), and letting my radical pastor define me as Anti-American.
When I look at the numbers in each district and ward, it’s heartening to see the successes (another reason I did well in the 2nd ward, 411, is that I live there) but I cringe at my weak showing in the 4-4 – the housing authority territory near Connors where my kids go to school. I finished last with 10 votes – Ron Rosenberg got 11! But, as promised, I was at the school leadership committee/parent-teacher organization meeting on Wednesday. Just a few of us have to organize movie night and the school’s 100th anniversary celebration and a 7th-grade dance.
We also heard how it’s going to be tough next year to find the money to finance another anti-bullying program for the kids cause the principals had to slice their budgets for next year. Why is it that the district’s budget is going up 6.4% to $56.3 million but there won’t be money for something that directly impacts the kids? I know, 80% of the budget goes to salaries and benefits. No doubt when the new contract is “negotiated” there will be hefty raises all around.
Thank you to everyone who voted for me because you heard my ideas and embraced them, or because you liked the name Sullivan or you’re a Hoya fan or you were afraid Padre Pio would smite you. If you didn’t vote for me, well then, in the immortal words of Margaret, I guess you’re a dirtbag.
A luta continua…
BoE candidate Maureen Sullivan sent Hoboken411 this last minute message to share with the readers:
“Dear 411 Readers:
When I got into this school board race, my mom handed me a card with a crisp $100 dollar bill in it. On the envelope, my sweet 81-year-old white-haired mother had written three words: “give ‘em hell.”
Those are the words that inspire me, prod me, haunt me when I’m campaigning across Hoboken.
- Give ‘em hell on their $56.3 million budget, which they hiked 6.4% in one year.
- Give ‘em hell on per-pupil spending of nearly $25,000 — up 50% in just three years. At this rate, we will be spending $37,000 per student three years from now.
- Give ‘em hell on a 23% increase in health care costs. Remember, our superintendent told us all at the budget hearing that he “can’t control health-care costs.”
If elected, I would fight for excellence in education and also make it my priority to:
- Demand a desk audit to see who actually works in the district and what they do;
- Figure out how many children are here legally by simply sending home a letter to their Hoboken address that they then have to bring back into school, just like the parking authority does each year when handing out parking stickers. If you can’t produce the letter, there’s a good chance you don’t live here. (Yet some of my opponents consider even that simple measure to be a “witch hunt”); and
- Cut taxes rather than just let the increased number of new taxpayers continue to fund the bloated system.
So you decide. Do you want someone sitting on that board who has spoken up for six years on behalf of students and taxpayers and been yelled at and/or publicly ridiculed by the former superintendent, the current superintendent, a principal, the union president and various other people we employ? Do you want someone who has taken the heat from the entrenched bureaucracy, gotten changes enacted, and kept coming back for more? Do you want someone whose children are enrolled in the public schools and has a compelling interest in making sure the schools perform well?
Or would you rather have board members who have never faced the wrath of the powers-that-be? Can you count on untested candidates – no matter how well intentioned – to fight on and not capitulate over the next three years?
I’ve heard that I can’t win because I’m not aligned with a slate of candidates. I’ve heard that I’m just a spoiler, running to ruin things for the “reformers.” I’ve even had to put up with the scurrilous charge of being “idealistic.”
I am running to represent you, the Hoboken citizens who could care less about a hundred years of political backroom deal making and ticket engineering. I am running as me, Maureen Sullivan: parent and taxpayer, advocate and opponent. You can read more about me and my campaign at maureensullivan.weebly.com.
Whichever way this election on Tuesday goes, I urge you all to “give ‘em hell.” Take back our school system and help make it the showcase for excellence in urban education that I believe it can be.
Thank you, Maureen Sullivan, 2A
See previous messages after the jump…
Let this serve as a reminder for all candidates running for office. Whether it be for Board fo Education or otherwise. You want me to publish you opinions? Send them to me!
Maureen Sullivan for School Board
“Dear 411 Readers:
My name is Maureen Sullivan and I am running as an independent for a seat on the Hoboken school board.
My background is in journalism, so I am used to digging deep for information and holding people accountable for their actions. I moved to Hoboken in 2001 after 12 years of living and working in South Africa, where I covered the end of apartheid, and Hong Kong, where I covered the handover to China. I’m the fourth generation of Sullivans to hail from nearby Elizabeth, and I graduated from Georgetown University with a degree in American Government. On my mother’s side I am related to Padre Pio, the saint from Pietrelcina, Italy.
My two children, Timothy and Julia, started at Mile Square Pre-K and Wallace School and now attend Connors School, which is at 2nd and Monroe. Tim’s in the fifth grade and Julia is a third grader. Much to their chagrin, I am a frequent visitor to the school as president of the parent-teacher organization, member of the School Leadership Committee and volunteer at after-school activities.”
(Maureen Sullivan continued)
My husband, John, and I are proud to send our children to Hoboken public schools. They have been taught by some of the finest teachers in the state and now have begun to tackle the advanced placement computer-based math program offered in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University. It pains me to hear how many people write off our schools without bothering to check them out. I want more residents to feel as though the public schools are right for them. Over the years I have challenged administrators who believe the schools belong to them and not to us.
To be sure, I’m not blind to the inadequacies of the system. I know them first hand, which is why I can be an effective advocate for change. It’s ridiculous that we spend $56.3 million a year–or $24,949 on each pupil, more than almost any other district in the state. Over the years, the board has spent freely, hired freely and paid freely. And now we are stuck with the bill.
As an independent, I am not beholden to political insiders, so I am willing to speak my mind. For the past six years I have regularly attended board meetings and stepped up to the mic to take the administration to task on wasteful spending and failed programs. I fought for safer conditions for the three-year-olds when they were moved to Brandt Middle School in 2002. I saw the massive problems of the lax Saturday U gifted-and-talented program and I demanded that the parents have a say in fixing them; it was the parents who lobbied for a tougher, more challenging curriculum. When the city decided not to open the high school pool last summer, I worked with the recreation department and the board–and the kids got to swim. I will never be afraid to speak up for the taxpayers who are willing to pay to educate our city’s children, but who don’t want to be ripped off by a bloated bureaucracy.
If elected, I will never forget that I am spending your money and educating our children. I ask for your vote on Election Day, Tuesday, April 15. The polls are open from 2 to 9 p.m.
–FIGHTING FOR EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION