I am a huge supporter of our schools. And I feel I can be this, and still vote 'No' for the proposed New High School because I am also a huge supporter of our entire community.
I recently spoke to a district parent I know who is a champion for the district, and a big, loud 'yes' vote for the proposed new high school. I don’t know her that well, but I have known her for a while and I respect her immensely including her view and her vote. She asked if amidst our debate, even if I didn’t support the proposal, could I show my support for the district – a message that seems to be getting lost in all this.
I am exceptionally supportive of our district schools. I actually support all of our schools and have tried to participate as and when I have the opportunity to.
I have known and regularly have spoken with Dr. Johnson since 2016, when I first learned in a City Council meeting of Hoboken’s "doubling of kindergarten aged children in just five years". We spoke then about her huge challenge of getting enough vouchers, and ultimately classrooms, for the preK classes in those early days with long waitlists, last minute decisions and her heart break that those with greatest need could not be given highest priority under state law. I spoke with her about her desire to make Hoboken a “Model Urban School District", the challenges of income inequality in education in Hoboken specifically. I learned of her steadfast focus on making sure that schools addressed as many of the needs of district students as possible, regardless of their background; the programming she added to catch kids before they were lost, regardless of their background; the expanded curriculum she created to allow kids to meet their greatest potential, regardless of their background; and her tremendous focus and energy on creating bridges in our community, even when certain environments (like Hoboken's special form of politics) doesn’t seem to have this shared interest.
And with all this, I was armed and ready and have spoken to many Hoboken residents who have reached out to me, especially new ones, advocating for why they should send their kids to the district schools. And when I have door knocked for re-election, and when "education" is the answer to my question “what issue is most important to you?”, even though the City Council doesn’t have purview over our schools, I wax poetic about them and often connect parents with my friends who are district school parents or school board members.
I am a huge supporter of our schools. And I feel I can be this, and still vote 'No' for the proposed New High School because I am also a huge supporter of our entire community. And I think working together, we can achieve something better for all of us.