Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Who is REALLY "Bankrupting" the Hoboken Public Schools? --- Student Enrollment Down -4.2%, Instructional Professionals up over 22% in Hoboken During the Last School Year

from the 2013 Comprehensive Audit Report
Maybe there are explanations other than "white flight" and segregation for why Hoboken parents are seeking alternative educational options for their children

I received the following letter from a charter school activist in Hoboken
The Hoboken Board of Education President (speaking for himself and NOT for the entire Board of Education) recently was quoted in Salon.com as saying, “they’re (Hoboken charter schools) fostering white flight, and they’re bankrupting us...We are creating separate but equal school systems.” 

Terms such as bankrupting, like "white flight" and "segregation" are really very intense words with strong connotations. Clearly, a school district is free to spend money how they wish, make various allocations, and decisions. [note: It is not my intention to second guess what a Board member or a superintendent thinks is best for a school district.

It seems very curious to that the addition of 18 charter school students in 2014-2015 at approximately $11,500 per student is going to bankrupt a school district with a $65,000,000 budget (roughly .32% of the annual district budget!). Especially when leaders in the district increased instructional staff by 20% (45 professionals) from 2012 to 2013 at the same time student enrollment in the district dropped by -4.2% (minus 103 students). Even more questionable when the Hoboken district had an unused sum of $1,500,000 last year (the current "bank cap"). Bankruptcy? Really? 

To repeat, from 2012 to 2013 the Hoboken school district lost 103 students or -4.2 percent. At the same time, the district increased its instructional staff by over 45 members or 20%.

Maybe the district is going bankrupt. I do not know. But if the district is going bankrupt its not because of 18 students from Hola for the 2014-2015 school year. 

note: A typical district professional starts with a $50,000 salary plus a benefits package worth about $20,000 for a total of about $70,000. That comes to a value of about $3,100,000. This during the same year when student enrollment decreased by -4.2%(!) The cost of the 18 Hola students come to about $207,000.  An increase value of $3,100,000 is fine. But an increase of $207K (or even doubling that to $400,000 depending on various calculation) is going to cause bankruptcy? Is anyone pay attention to this???

Conclusion: Claims of "bankruptcy" are exaggerated, divisive, incendiary and of questionable administrative judgement.