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Kids First Celebrates Victory

Candidates and supporters gathered at Maxwell's Tuesday night

The atmosphere at Maxwell's after the Board of Education election results came in Tuesday night was one of pure celebration. Victorious, confident and with a drink in hand, the Kids First team celebrated what seems to be—without counting the provisional votes—a clean sweep. 

"I believed in this team," said sitting Kids First board member Theresa Munitillo. 

Hoboken voters also approved the school budget, with 1,493 (or 55.8 percent) of the voters voting in favor of the budget. A total of 4,982 Hoboken residents cast their votes between 2 and 9 p.m. on Tuesday. 

Hoboken voters chose four candidates to sit on the Board. Two of the members were up for re-election, while Vice President of the Board Carrie Gilliard and long-term board member Jimmy Farina retired. 

Current Board President Rose Markle, who came in fourth, went neck-to-neck with independent candidate John Madigan throughout the night. Madigan and Markle switched between third and fourth place in the race for the third three-year seat as the results from different wards kept coming in.

"At the end of the day," said Munitillo, "I just couldn't believe John Madigan could beat Rose Markle."

According to the city clerk's office, Markle received 1,322 votes and Madigan received 1,256. This comes down to a difference of 66 votes. Provisional ballots—which are expected to be relatively high this year, due to problems with at least four voting machines around town—have not been counted yet. It's still unclear how many provisional votes were cast.

The Kids First victory means that the team has a six-person majority on the nine-person Hoboken Board of Education. Board Member Maureen Sullivan separated from the slate after she disagreed with the Board's pick for superintendent.  

"I really am grateful," Markle said. When asked if she predicted the clean sweep victory, she said she had had her doubts before the results came out. "There were a lot of candidates out there," she said. 

Markle, who has served as board president for the past year, said it's up to the new board to decide who will be the new president. "I don't care," Markle said. "I'll do whatever the majority of the board wants."

The sweep is also seen as a victory for Mayor Dawn Zimmer, who endorsed Kids First and attended the party at Maxwell's with her husband Tuesday night. Council members Michael Lenz, Carol Marsh, Ravinder Bhalla and David Mello also stopped by for a drink and a chat. 

Jean Marie Mitchell, who decisively won the 1-year term seat, said she was "elated." Her 13-year-old son Andrew, who attends Hoboken public school, attended the victory party. In second place for the one-year seat was Ken Howitt, who received 1,083 votes, according to records from the City Clerk. 

Leon Gold, the one man on the slate, and who does not have any children in the Hoboken public school system, said he wanted to thank the husbands of "the best three women I ever met in my life." Gold added that part of the upcoming challenge is to winning over those people who did not vote for Kids First in this election. Gold got 1,464 votes, according to the clerk's office.

Irene Sobolov, who was appointed to the board late last year, came in first among all candidates with 1,626 votes. 

"It feels better to be elected than to be appointed," she said. Sobolov said the very first thing on the Kids First agenda is the search for a new superintendent. But, the newly (re-)elected candidates put off work for one night, celebrating their victory together into the late hours of the night.

4321 April 21, 2010 at 01:45 PM
I find it strange, that Hoboken being a city of 40,000+, votes on its school budget. Especially when only 9% voted. I've known of many city districts that do not hold elections, when it comes to a school budget. Just wondering if it's a city to city, district to district choice...?

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