On Tuesday, the Hoboken Board of Education (BOE) met to decide the future of Calabro Primary School, in the face of significant growth in the Hoboken Public School District’s early childhood education enrollment.
The district recently announced that there would be no lottery this year for early education programs, meaning they would require 66 classrooms for those programs, housing a total of 990 PreK students.
Citing a number of budget challenges—increased enrollment (up 15% PreK-12), facilities usage, rising costs of “Non-Discretionary Items” (Health Benefits, Salaries, Charter School Funding, Special Education) and a decrease in state aid (-$5.6 million over he next 7 years)—the BOE examined a number of options to accommodate students.
“Even with the maximum allowable school tax levy of 5.4% (a state-mandated 2% for those districts losing state aid, plus waivers for increased enrollment and healthcare costs) and a conservative ‘maintenance’ budget (i.e., maintaining current educational programs but no new initiatives), district costs will exceed revenue by $700,000,” said BOE Vice President Tom Kluepfel, in a statement sent to hMAG via BOE President Sharyn Angley.
Despite objections from parents of current Calabro students, the Hoboken Board of Education voted 8-0 (with one abstention) in favor of converting the Calabro School into an Early Childhood Center—transferring the 99 Calabro students from Grades 1-5 (and their teachers) to Brandt School, three blocks away.
According to the BOE, the move represents various savings and new revenue totaling about $716,000. The board insists that keeping Calabro Primary School open in its current form would have necessitated cutting or curtailing programs elsewhere in the district.
The formal vote to adopt the budget will happen at next week’s regular May meeting. Adoption of this budget would increase the School Tax portion of one’s property tax bill by $24.00 per $100,000 of assessed value.