Friday, May 17, 2013

Why is per student cost in Hoboken so high?- Recent Letters to the Hoboken Reporter

President Theodore Roosevelt in Hoboken (1909)
There have been a number of Letters to the Editors in the Hoboken Reporter recently speaking about the per pupil costs in the Hoboken School District. I am including 2 thoughtful letters by Michael Fischetti which were published on April 28, 2013 and May 12, 2013. I am also including a "response" from someone who feels the per pupil costs were higher a few years ago. 

Clearly, some clarity needs to be brought to this situation. Per pupil costs are relatively easy to calculate but there are complicating factors which can become confusing to someone not fully acquainted with terminology. To a large part, this confusion has been leveraged by the Kids First Board of Education majority to make people think the Board is paying for all sorts of things and blaming the high cost per pupil on everything and everyone but themselves. 

Please enjoy these recents letters and posts on the topic of per pupil costs in the Hoboken Public Schools.  -Dr. Petrosino 


1) Why is per student cost in Hoboken so high?
Apr 28, 2013 | 248 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

Recently, the Hoboken BOE passed a budget for the coming year. It is about $64 million. It seems like a lot since the school district has about 2,100 students. Roughly, that amounts to over $30,000 per student per year. Some of the best private schools in the area do not charge that much for tuition and fees. By way of comparison here is how Hoboken compares to some other jurisdictions.

Hoboken: 2,100 students, $64 million, $30,000 per student; Weehawken: 1,250 students, $24 million, $19,000 per student; Glen Ridge: 1,800 students, $26 million, $13,000 per student; Montclair: 6,700 students, $118 million, $17,000 per student; Jersey City: 28,000 students, $660 million, $23,000 per student; Union City: 12,500 students, $220 million, $18,000 per student.

Regardless of the source of funding or size of the jurisdiction Hoboken spends more. Why?

Michael Fischetti

2) What is per student cost in Hoboken so high and why are the results so poor?
May 12, 2013 | 603 views | 3 3 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

When I sent in my letter to the editor a couple of weeks ago, I asked why per student cost was so high-over $30,000 per student. That was before I learned that Hoboken was second only to one other school district in New Jersey in cost per student, and that Hoboken ranks in the bottom 25 percent of New Jersey schools.

It is probably time to examine the governance structure and the quality of management when expenditures are so high and achievement is so low. Certainly, the people of Hoboken deserve better.

Michael Fischetti

Read more:Hudson Reporter - What is per student cost in Hoboken so high and why are the results so poor


May 12, 2013
Our pupil costs are high but I believe based on your original letter, your math is way off. You calculate the per pupil cost based on the BOE budget which includes funding for pre-school and charter schools but your pupil count doesn't include all those kids. You also should keep in mind the district spends well over $6mm on special ed students and I'd be curious to see how many districts spend on average over $3K per pupil on that line item. You should also ask yourself how much higher the costs would be if the people who ran the district 5 or so years ago were still in power. Many of the people they put on the payroll who never went near a classroom are no longer on the payroll. Go also look at the budgets and more detailed information. Go track down that audit from 2008 I believe. It was quite informative. There is a ton of information out there worth looking at and I encourage you to look at it all.

Read more:Hudson Reporter - What is per student cost in Hoboken so high and why are the results so poor

Picture Information: 

Roosevelt with crowd, Hoboken, N.J.

  • Digital ID: (digital file from original neg.) ggbain 03222
  • Reproduction Number: LC-DIG-ggbain-03222 (digital file from original neg.)
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA