Theresa Minutillo supports Kids First


More letters of recommendation for the upcoming Board of Education election. Keep ’em coming!

Theresa Minutillo on Kids First…

hoboken theresa minutillo - Theresa Minutillo supports Kids First“Five years ago I wasn’t yet a parent. But I was a Hobokenite, and I cared about kids, so I created a volunteer program – The Senior Prep Day- to help our High School Seniors step into the real world after graduation. From getting to know our great young people it was a short step into wanting to involve myself in improving our district’s education.

I ran for the Board of Education as an independent in 2005 and narrowly lost to Mayor Roberts’ well-funded slate. I stayed involved by attending the board meetings, requesting payroll and overtime lists to figure out why more money wasn’t being spent in the classrooms or to support our teachers. I uncovered an extraordinary expense; $1.5 Million dollars of custodian overtime. Some favored custodians were making six figure, more than any of our teachers. This information made me want to pay more attention to how the money flowed and how the budget is created.

I ran again in 2006, but this time supported by a team dedicated to the goal of being fiscally responsible, and putting our money into the classrooms – in short putting kids first. That name described what we were about, so we kept it. I was the lone Kids First candidate elected that year. My first year on the board was a lonely one. I often seemed to be the only vote against the status quo and the only advocate for the Kids. In 2007 I supported a 4 candidate slate of Kids First members and we won three seats; Tricia Snyder, Carrie Gilliard and Rose Markle. The four of us have fought long and hard this year together to cut wasteful spending and demand accountability. And to put our money back into the classroom.

This year we only had four Kids First Board Members so each success was a compromise and a struggle. We were proud to pass a nepotism policy, which prohibited the Superintendent and all board trustees from hiring family members. Passing this state mandated plan also helped protect our pre-K funding. Another success was establishing a policy that all professional service contracts would be fairly bid. But our greatest success, without question, was working with the Superintendent to eliminate 12 administrative positions and to put that money back into the classroom.

Next year? You decide. Carrie, Rose and I need help on the board to preserve our gains and continue our progress. The loose coalition of parents, teachers, and other committed Hobokenites that call itself Kids First is running candidates Phil Campbell 4A and Brian Assadourian 7A and supporting Finance Chair Tricia Snyder 8A for re-election. There are committed independents running as well, but I know from personal experience how tough it is to beat the Mayor’s slate alone. This year there is a real risk that the pro-child vote will be split, and the Mayor’s slate will prevail. That would be a shame. So I’m asking my friends, and those who support great schools to support the entire Kids First team. I promise you, we won’t let you down.

Theresa Minutillo
Board President”

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[quote comment=”78015″][quote comment=”78010″]Do we even need 5 principals? I assume the 8 don’t include the charter schools or vice principals?

I can see three max: 1 HS (covering both HS and vocational/alternative school), 1 MS (covering all), 1 elementary school principal (covering all), with maybe a vice principal situated in the buildings where the principal is not located.[/quote]

Unfortunately, no slate wants to address that issue. There are currently 6 schools located in 5 buildings:

* Hoboken High School
* Brandt School
* Calabro Primary School
* Connors Primary School
* Demarest School
* Wallace Primary School

6 Schools = 6 Principals. Perhaps someone could list all 8 principals so we could figure out were they go. I could only find 6 (one per school) on the Hoboken Bd of Ed site.[/quote]

And I think one of those schools is closing next year, which brings it to 5. Assuming the charter schools don’t count in these numbers.


Cdigg I watched the video from the budget meeting. There is no way the old guard was going to vote a true CUT. The only reason the passed the budget is because the superintendent told them outright there was no legal way for them to get more money.

It’s not about what’s best for the students to them it’s how many buddies can they hire, and how many votes and influence will those jobs bring them.

I saw Brian Assadourian this weekend and it was great to speak to him. I’m definitely voting from him and Tricia.


[quote comment=”78032″][quote comment=”78018″][quote comment=”78011″]which candidate has promised to cut the budget ?[/quote]

“Promised”? The Kids First crew is already doing it (and without a majority on the school board).[/quote]

Not exactly. The budget for 2008 is still higher than 2007. In my book, cutting the budget means it goes down, not up.

The budget is now online at

The key line is:
2006 51,691,983
2007 54,232,318
2008 56,308,769[/quote]

I think cutting the budget will be pretty hard unless they can restructure the teachers’ contract when it comes up for renewal. The best the Kids First movement can do until then is to push to trim the fat (like Carmelo’s brother).


Saw Brian Assadourian out campaigning on Washington Street yesterday. I didn’t grill him on his specific thoughts and plans, but he gave off a positive, energetic vibe (and that does count for something).


[quote comment=”78011″]which candidate has promised to cut the budget ?[/quote]

Cost per pupil when Carmelo & Frances were elected 6 years ago was $16,000 per student, today it is $25,000 per student. They promised to bring spending under control and reduce the per pupil costs in 2002 as a campaign pledge. how did they do? Forget promises look at track records and judge on that criteria.

Promises aren’t worth the paper they are printed on with candidates such as these two. Results and progress is what matters and it is time for a new group to work with the Superintendent to get the schools turned around, regardless of who you support.