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Hoboken School District Still Spends Most in County

Less than last year, but still several thousand dollars more than the state average.

Although the cost per pupil in the Hoboken School District was roughly $3,000 less in the 2009/2010 school year, the district still spends more per student than any other municipality in the county. 

According to the state report card that came out earlier this week, the Hoboken school district spends a total of $18,726 per pupil. The state's average total cost per pupil is $15,538. 

Hoboken's comparative cost, compared to other districts, is $21,8589. School board member Maureen Sullivan, a critic of the Kids First board majority, called that number "pretty shocking." 

"We've come down, but it continues to be so high," Sullivan said.

The board will also look at a recent transportation audit in trying to cut those costs.

Although some of the districts in the county are much smaller than Hoboken—such as Guttenberg, East Newark and Weehawken—Hoboken still spends more than the larger districts in the county, such as Jersey City and Union City. 

One of the reasons why the cost is relatively high in Hoboken, is because salaries in the district are high, said School Board President Rose Markle.  

"Most of the budget is salary driven," Markle said. "We're working on it."

Markle said that although more cuts must be made, a $3,000 reduction in per pupil cost since last year is significant. Markle said that the board will be looking at the recently completed transportation audit to see how costs can be cut in that department. 

Sullivan, known as fiscally conservative, said that Hoboken has too many custodians. "We need to look at contracting out custodian services," Sullivan said. 

Sullivan also expressed worries over the amount of state aid Hoboken will receive this year. Last year, the district lost $2.3 million in state aid. 

"We need action now if we want to cut cost," Sullivan said. 

Total Per Pupil Cost per Hudson County district in 2009-2010:

Guttenberg $11,898 Kearny $14,442 Weehawken $17,431 Bayonne $13,342 West New York $16,315 East Newark $12,573 Harrison $16,682 Union City $18,156 Jersey City  $17,249 North Bergen  $14,371 Secaucus $15,257 Hoboken $18.726

Editor's Note: The numbers in this story are the absolute total numbers of cost per pupil in Hoboken, while Maureen Sullivan had the comparative numbers in mind when being interviewed for this story. 

David A. Liebler February 14, 2011 at 08:18 PM
For all the money that Hoboken invest in Education, it is a wonder why Hoboken High School is not ranked in the 10% of Urban Public Schools, based on the quality of the education. If the High School was converted into a Prep Academy and every student was college prepared, that would truly be a positive story to read about. Image what that type of school would do to home values, the community and the city budget's.......One can only dream....
p1ywood February 16, 2011 at 02:18 PM
It would be interesting to take a visit to Guttenberg and see what they know that we do not. Costs are trending in the right direction, but so much more needs to be done, and the state is loosing interest fast in funding the inefficiencies. But we are off to a good start.

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