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Hoboken Board of Ed Opposes Proposed Charter School

A group of Hoboken parents is looking to start a science based charter school.

A group of Hoboken parents are one step closer to obtaining a charter from the Department of Education to found the new, science based DaVinci Charter School, after making it through the first round of the application process. 

The Hoboken Board of Education, meanwhile, is opposing the new school.

"The opening of this charter school would not be in the educational or financial interests of our school district," states Tuesday night's school board meeting agenda. "The Board opposes the application of the DaVinci Charter School and endorses any and all appropriate action taken by the Superintendent of Schools to challenge the same."

Laura Siegel, one of the ten founding parents of the proposed school, said that such a resolution from a district is not unusual. The board's resolution is not binding. The ultimate decision will be made by the state. 

The main reasons for a district to oppose the addition of the Da Vinci school are funding and enrollment. Charter schools receive money from the district—more charter schools means a tighter budget for the public schools—and potentially prevent enrollment in the public schools from going up. 

Charter schools are public, but students are admitted by way of a lottery. The schools are run privately, and are—besides tests and other state wide requirements—independent from the local Board of Education. 

For Siegel, starting the school is a matter of adding another choice to Hoboken's educational landscape. She said the founders hope to "bring together a range of members of the community."

Hoboken currently has three charter schools, , and Spanish dual language school, . It's still unclear where DaVinci will be located. is one viable location, Siegel said. 

Founders and volunteers of DaVinci will attend Tuesday night's meeting to show their support for the school and try to tell the board members that the community supports the new school, Siegel said. 

Now that the school's application has made it past the first round of review, the founders just have to wait, Siegel said. Siegel said they will find out if the charter is approved by September of this year. The school—pending approval from the state—is scheduled to open in September, 2013. 

"I wish I had stronger science education," Siegel said. "More and more good jobs will be in that field."

prosbus May 08, 2012 at 12:39 PM
It is unfortunate that real educational innovation and addressing the academic needs of Hoboken are emerging from parents and community leaders and not from the Board of Education and its educational professionals.
ThisMeansWar May 08, 2012 at 02:20 PM
it's unfortunate that your credibility on BOE matters is permanently compromised. http://www.nj.com/hobokennow/index.ssf/2010/04/hoboken_police_blotter_hoboken_3.html
Carl Wallnau May 08, 2012 at 02:32 PM
The problem is funding. The money ends up coming out of the Public Schools to support a specialized institution. The Public Schools have mandates to support special needs kids, developmental services etc. that a charter school doesn't have to do, By taking money out of public schools for these charter schools, you are devaluing and defunding the public school system to a dangerous degree. They have to make cuts and since the mandates don't change, the general education , science and technology classes are hurt even more. More students are hurt to help the few who end up in the charter program. I think charter schools are a fine idea as long as someone else is paying for them.
CuriousGal May 08, 2012 at 02:41 PM
A series of public forums by Dr. Toback, Mr. Howard McKenzie and other district STEM leadership outlining THEIR vision for STEM education and a plan for its effective implementation for the district's students to the community would likely be more effective than a protest letter to the state. I wonder whether articulating potential financial problems for the district based primarily on not meeting the curricula and instructional needs of its constituents (parents, families, community at large) will find a sympathetic ear in Trenton.
rtrux May 08, 2012 at 03:27 PM
nailed it, exactly right. the only problem with your comment is that it is non-biased and well-reasoned...and those are traits not recognized or appreciated by some commenters here.
ThisMeansWar May 08, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Yeah, but you were never much good at math. Remember when you said that moving BOE elections to November for over 400 out of 538 districts with budget elections = "not popular"? http://hoboken.patch.com/articles/hoboken-school-board-proposed-to-move-election-date#comment_2441917
Journey May 08, 2012 at 04:36 PM
While I want my daughter to have a solid foundation in math and science, this very good point to consider.
Journey May 08, 2012 at 04:42 PM
While I almost never agree with you, I to would love to see the district develop a curiculum with a stronger emphasis on math and science. I'm intrigued by the idea of a school like DaVince, but taking my daughter out of public school is not my first choice and one that would be hard to make. No one in my family went to private schools, we are a public school family (and I grew up hearing my parents complain about the parents who sent their children to private school and always voted no on every school budget, why should the schools get any money when their kids didn't go to them?). Either way, I still plan on having at home science projects.
CuriousGal May 08, 2012 at 05:59 PM
The district DID develop a project-based, inquiry-rich, hands-on curriculum, with a focus on STEM a few years ago that was never adequately implemented (it was passed by the board in Dec 2009). That curriculum also had a strong emphasis on literacy as well and is still evident in SRI, LitLife, etc. Dr. Petrosino led the effort along with dozens of teachers with the help of the Liberty Science Center and reviewed by experts around the country. Kids First and Interim Superintendent Carter never adequately implemented that curriculum. There would be far less NEED for DiVinci's charter application if STEM education in the district centered on project based instruction and inquiry like it was suppose to then the antiquated use FOSS kits and "recovery" mathematics.
ThisMeansWar May 08, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Journey, you can cut out the middle-curiousgal and go straight to Kim's source. http://uteachpbi.blogspot.com Kim is characterizing this as an oversight, miss, poor implementation by KF. And you'll recall all the many, many posts Kim has on STEM, SRI, and FOSS where she now hopes to pass herself off as an expert and long-time champion. You're putting your child in the schools. She isn't.
Journey May 08, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Fruit from the Petrosino tree again. And the past. I'm interested in what is happening today, and you know why I don't trust anything from the past administration. Now if you can explain the very strange enrollment numbers from back then, which are far beyond any definition of standard divination. Oh, that is right, all requests to have those numbers explained, fall on deaf ears. I guess you have not figured out how to spin that in your favor.
abc May 08, 2012 at 07:45 PM
The charter schools also have the mandate to support special needs kids as well. They receive state funding and are subject to the same mandates. It is a lottery system, and if a special needs child applies and is randomly chosen the charter school has to educate them as well.
Journey May 08, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Like Petrosino's blog will explain the suspicious enrollment numbers.
Journey May 08, 2012 at 09:01 PM
To go or not to go to this meeting tonight. I'd have to bring my daughter and explain the Russo mob's behavior to her. So want to shelter her from that till she is bit older.
Gardiner4Freeholder May 08, 2012 at 09:10 PM
Did it ever occur to Prosbus and Not So Curios Kim that The curriculum put forth from Petrosino while he worked from Florida wasn't worth implementing fully or even at all in the opinion of some? Holy Purple Pillows People! More Pimping for Pupie's Pal Petrosino from Prosbus on Patch. Perfectly predictable.
Gardiner4Freeholder May 08, 2012 at 09:11 PM
I mean Texas. Not Florida.
franksinatra May 09, 2012 at 03:53 AM
The critics here are dead wrong when they say the charter schools cost the public schools money. Quite the opposite--the public schools save an enormous amount of money when a student doesn't attend a public school--where the cost in Hoboken is $24,000 a student--and instead goes to a charter school, where the school board kicks in only $12,000 and keeps much of the rest. The public schools save even more money if the student goes to a Catholic school or private school--that's zero cost to the board. Despite plummeting public school enrollment the last few years, the board hasn't cut its budget at all, so it has just as much money as ever but many fewer students. No financial hit there. Instead of trying to block a new charter, the board should focus on turning around its steadily failing schools. It certainly didn't encourage anyone to stay in the public schools when it fired Paula Ohaus and Mrs. Hillenbrand.
Journey May 09, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I don't buy your claim of plummeting enrollment. For the last 13 years the standard deviation on total district enrollment has been 238.4. School Year Enrollment Change from previous year. 2010/2011: 1816 -138 2009/2010: 1954 81 2008/2009: 1873 -421 2007/2008: 2294 403 2006/2007: 1891 -9 2005/2006: 1900 -114 2004/2005: 2014 -73.5 2003/2004: 2087.5 -33 2002/2003: 2120.5 -60 2001/2002: 2180.5 -29.5 2000/2001: 2210 -214.5 1999/2000: 2424.5 -201 1998/1999: 2625.5 If you are going to say anything about 2008/2009, you have to explain 2007/2008. I'm looking forward to the explanation.
CuriousGal May 09, 2012 at 03:05 PM
Good data Journey- thanks
MadisonMonroe May 09, 2012 at 04:39 PM
So using Journey's numbers, between 2007/8 and 2010/11 the enrollment dropped 21%. Sounds like a plummet to me. And I believe the district officials projected the enrollment to drop again next year as Hola Charter increases in size.

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