BoE Meeting 4/8/2008 – Recap

4/08/2008 Recap:

It was a packed house for the final Board of Education meeting before the April 15 election. With no major school or administration presentation on the agenda, things moved quickly. The election ahead was referred to several times, along with further discussion of the budget, and one of the “Phils” breaks his silence! Read on…

hoboken board of education meeting recap april 8 2008 - BoE Meeting 4/8/2008 - Recap

Teacher Retirements = Fewer Layoffs

The board accepted notices of retirement from several teachers. That could help save the jobs of newer teachers on the list to be laid off as part of the new budget. Among the teachers retiring at the end of the school year: Irving Ortiz at the Brandt School, Lucio Gentile at Calabro, Margaret Sojkowski and Nancy Stinson at the Wallace School.

During public comment Teachers Union president Gary Enrico made a plea to save more teachers, and the board agreed more would be done with the budget to save as many jobs as possible. Finance Committee Chair Tricia Snyder stopped short of pledging every teacher would (or could) be saved. Enrico said he specifically avoided being the first speaker, lest he once again be described on Hoboken411 as “sprinting to the microphone” like he did at the budget hearing. (Sorry Gary, but if the shoe fits…)

School Board Candidates Ask Questions

School board watchdog and active Connors parent Maureen Sullivan asked about some budget issues, and inquired about the resignation of International Baccalaureate Coordinator Kate Dominique. Sullivan, an independent candidate for the board, was concerned about whether the program would continue in her absence, and Superintendent Jack Raslowsky indicated they would seek to fill the position.

Former Board Member Ron Rosenberg rose to ask why the district is paying a Bond Counsel when it is not permitted to bond under state Abbott School District rules. Apparently the district paid a bond attorney to tell them why they can’t bond at the moment, but may be able to if things change in the future. Trustee James Farina has been pushing the administration to find a way to borrow money to fix Connors.

One of the “Silent Phils” Speaks!

hoboken board of education ballot april 2008 - BoE Meeting 4/8/2008 - RecapAlso during public comment, Phil Campbell broke his silence and made some comments. Campbell said he supports the budget, called for greater accountability, and asked Raslowsky if he would support a mentorship program for graduating seniors. Raslowsky took the opportunity to stand up and give a speech, noting it is “election season”. While these were Campbell’s first comments at a meeting, he is still way ahead of Phil DeFalco, who did not attend the meeting and has never spoken his mind at any board meeting.

DeFalco is the only candidate in this year’s election to never have attended a regular board meeting in the board meeting room. He is also the only one to declare he would not send his kids to the Hoboken Schools even if he were elected to the Board of Education. Apparently he is counting on his smile, Italian name and #1 ballot position to carry him through. Sadly, in Hoboken this can be all you need.

Next step: VOTE Tuesday, April 15 from 2pm to 9pm. Every sitting board member agreed to support the budget on the ballot, even though Carmelo Garcia, James Farina, and Carrie Gilliard voted against it two weeks ago.

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The Bard of Agon
The Bard of Agon
Friday, April 11, 2008 7:52 am

Couple of notes:

Saw a good post elsewhere on the BoE topic that I found illuminating by a guy/gal named Wollipog:

“Okay – that’s two I can vote for.

I don’t know enough about Campbell yet to say ‘Yea’ or ‘Nay’ – but I do know that a vote for Ron Rosenberg or Maureen Sullivan only increases the chances of an absolute, unmitigated zero like DeFalco or a thick-headed nepotist like Bubbles Rhodes-Kearns getting in.

Sullivan lets her ego trump her valuable activism just like Ralph Nader. She has almost no chance to win – be honest – but could very well screw the chances for the closely parallel values of Kids First from getting another seat OR the chance to finally get rid of Garcia.

Nader gave us Bush;
Sullivan will give us Garcia.

Thanks, Maureen.”

And what’s more, what Maureen should do (just like Nader should’ve done) was pull late after her message is clearly heard and encourage her fans to help Kids First get rid of the real bad guys: Garcia, Rhodes-Kearns and DeFalco.

And secondly, that Carmelo Garcia has always reminded me of Squidward… with a make-over.

And a metro make-over at that.
(You know – Squidward, from SpongeBob.)

Thursday, April 10, 2008 1:40 pm


Thanks for the thoughts – but that bit about Brian Assadourian being somehow down with Carmelo Garcia is laughable.

If you actually knew the two of them, you’d realize in a heartbeat they couldn’t be any more different:

Garcia is the quintessential shallow, grandstanding patronage junkie;

Assadourian is earnestness and collegiality personified.

It’s a complete no-brainer.

The Bard of Agon
The Bard of Agon
Thursday, April 10, 2008 11:30 am

Brian Assadourian is certainly a breath of fresh air in the school-board race. He’s actually fairly well-known around town; he just doesn’t self-promote at all the way the traditional politicos do here. And if you haven’t heard much of him, it’s simply because he’s getting into politics to serve, not star. He’s an unaffiliated Democratic committeeman from 5-5 and a very honest, independent and good neighbor with a primary focus on his son’s school experience. When you get to know him you see he has a very direct and earnest social connection, and it has real impact on his civic interests: he had the initiative, guts and independence to run as a write-in candidate against a machine-beholden incumbent all by himself. And won. He is also the national Chairman of the Armenian Students Association: as such, he MAKES the time to contribute to his community in many significant ways, ESPECIALLY for our our children and their education. He brings rich experience at forging successful policy programs and finding inclusion for people from all walks of life. He’s a natural bridge-builder and is capable of a sidewalk diplomacy we all should be praying for in this city so prone to old-school political back-biting and corruption. He will inject himself into the school politics and oversight with a candor and effectiveness driven by his close devotion and attention to his son’s school experience – and with an earnestness you only find in those rare individuals who actually DO like all kinds of… Read more »

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 6:15 pm

[quote comment=”77198″][quote comment=”77194″]
Dave Roberts has his eyes on DeFalco, who is rumored to be in the running to replace Peter Cammarano on Roberts’ 2009 at-large ticket.[/quote]
they do seem kind of interchangable. P. DeFalcarano

Wednesday, April 9, 2008 6:08 pm

This election has captured my attention even though 3 years ago I made the hardest decision of my life and chose to invest my money elsewhere for the sake of my son’s education. Both my husband and I are “BNR” (as you bloggers like to refer to us who where born and raised in Hoboken ), our parents and siblings still live in Hoboken . Yet we bought outside of Hoboken merely so that my son could be better prepared for college than my husband and I were when we left Hoboken High. I remain connected with the community and still have family members going through the Hoboken educational system so I felt the need to share my story in hopes that voters make the right decision and understand that a change is greatly needed. Now this is probably going to start a flurry of emotions especially from educators, but I have to speak up in hopes that it will influence voters to not get caught up in the emotion and face reality. I keep hearing (from candidates running for election) how great the Hoboken schools are and that they keep getting a bad wrap, etc. Well… My son was getting A’s and B’s without even studying while going to Wallace, the supposed “good” school which all parents want to get their children into. When we were faced with the decision of moving, I approached my son’s teacher regarding my concerns. He told me that my son would receive the… Read more »

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