The following is taken directly from the Facebook page of a political group in Hoboken known as Kids First. Kids First is an active political group that have gained control over the public schools of Hoboken. First rising to some note in 2007, Kids First gained full majority control of the Hoboken Board of Education in the spring of 2009 and have remained in majority control since that time. In February of 2012 the Kids First majority voted to move Board of Education elections to November instead of having them in May. This was a controversial decision. On the same night, Kids First also voted to not have the yearly budget of the Hoboken Public Schools come up for public vote if the budget for the forthcoming year was less than 2% of the previous year. This was another controversial decision. With this as a pre-text, Kids First is now running for 3 seats in the upcoming Hoboken Board of Education elections. The following statements are part of their political platform. Campaign literature always tries to paint candidates in the best light. The current candidates are all fine people who I am sure want to do well for the community. However, it is important sometimes to look beyond the rhetoric and spin and look for the substance. I have tried to some detailed information and to verify that information as independently as possible. Best of luck to everyone.
The vocal crowd was mostly disappointed when five of the nine board members – often referred to as the “Kids First” majority – supported the decision. -Ray SmithA decision was also made by Kids First to eliminate the very popular Saturday U Program for gifted and talented youth. A program that was recently expanded to include new curriculum and an expanded reach for student participation.
As for the claim about the arts, many people still remember the very controversial and unpopular decision to not grant tenure to Ms. Paula Ohaus, an award winning, theater arts program director. A great many people came out to support both Ms. Hillenbrand and Ms. Ohaus but Kids First stuck by their decision. Some may want to read this very detailed description of the meeting and the circumstances surrounding the non-renewal of both Ohaus and Hillenbrand by Hoboken Patch.
The elimination of the IB Program, the delay in effective AP implementation, the ending of the John Hopkins Program and Saturday U and the non renewal of nationally known teachers Ms. Hillenbrand and Ms. Ohaus do not seem to support the general contention of the political literature for Kids First.
"I like the tablet in place of laptops. Reasons for are the weight, size and cost...tablets are much easier to care for, weight less and can be put in a small back pack or in its own carrier. Battery life can be short but for the amount of good it provides I'll stick with it. Cost is far less than many laptops."
However, in August of 2012 the Hoboken Board of Education Business Administrator and Assistant Business Administrator were terminated less than 2 weeks before the start of the 2012-2013 school year. To date, no reason has been offered or given for the sudden termination.
The only thing thrown under the bus was the promise of openness and transparency made by the KF team. Can it possibly matter what they said back in September? On Feb. 6 they said the superintendent hire was not on the agenda for Feb. 9. It did not appear on the agenda posted to the district website or handed out on the night of the meeting. It was not put in writing at the last minute as a "live" item. The details of the contract were hammered out between 7 and 9 p.m. in closed session, as members of the public disappeared. Again, the audience was given no official word that the superintendent would be hired that night. Heck, I wasn't aware it was going to happen. Theresa M. read the resolution to the remnants of the crowd. Read it, because even the members of the board did not have a written copy of the resolution
(KIDS FIRST) Board member Carrie Gilliard joined Theresa Minutillo and Rose Markle in opposition to the spending document. “$59 million is troubling me. We need to revisit this. I cannot support it,”Yet, three years later, the same members who voted no in 2009 to $59 million had no trouble voting YES to a $63.2 million budget 3 years later....and with less Hoboken resident students in the district. An increase of over $4 million dollars.
Furthermore, the KIDS FIRST claim on keeping the tax levy flat is a little overplayed as this analysis shows of previous budgets over time--- where the municipal tax levy was kept very consistent (in inflation adjusted dollars).
Its nice to see the Board support the superintendent as opposed to then Board President and current Kids First member Theresa Minutillo who wrote letters to the Hoboken Reporter and Hoboken Now against the then superintendent barely 1 year into his tenure as superintendent.