Wednesday, January 14, 2015

What is the Capacity of the Building Known as "Hoboken High School"?

From 1962 HHS Dedication Program 
What is the Capacity of the Building Known as "Hoboken High School"? A fairly simple question. But what is the answer? Read on. But it is fair to say that the building now has 3 extra grades and is at less that 42% of its initial capacity as a state of the art comprehensive high school.  -Dr. Petrosino 

At the December 2014 Hoboken Board of Education Meeting, Board Trustee Ruth McAllister (Tyroler) went on and on about the capacity of Hoboken High School. Seems as if she was responding to some discussions and critiques that when Hoboken High School first opened in 1962 it had a capacity of 1502 students and that now it is "half empty." (see the 52:00 mark of the video of the December HBOE meeting for the specific monologue; or transcription below)

Furthermore, during that time, since it was during the "baby boom"-- classes consisted of "30-35 students with students sitting on the window sills." Trustee McAllister (Tyroler) went on for a few more minutes about he fact that there are now media rooms and multimedia studios in Hoboken High School-- but failing to mention that back in 1962 there was an extensive Wood Shop, an Auto Shop, a Photography Studio, and a large Audio Visual Studio (see the 1962 HHS Dedication Program for more details as well as the building diagram below). 

1962 HHS Floor Diagram
To make a long story short-- We know that in 1962 the stated capacity of Hoboken High School was 1502 (see top photo). We also know by looking at the HHS Floor Diagram that there were almost 65 classrooms. Even if the building was at capacity, that would mean less than 24 students per class (65x24=1560). Significantly less than the "35 and sitting on the window sills" as mentioned in Ms. McAllister (Tyroler)'s monologue. 

In the 2009 Audit Report of the Hoboken School District, we learn that the stated capacity of Hoboken High School in 2000 (after the "baby boom") is officially listed as 1484 or a reduction of 18 students (-1.2%) from 1962. 

In the same 2009 Audit Report of the Hoboken School District, we learn that  in 2001 (again, well after the "baby boom"), the stated capacity of Hoboken High School was officially listed as 829 or a reduction of 673 seats from the 1962 capacity and a reduction of 655 seats from the previous year. This corresponds to a stated reduction in capacity of 55.19% from the 1962 levels and 55.9% reduction from the previous year. 

In fact, from 2000 to 2001 the seating capacity of the entire Hoboken School District went from 5214 students to 2763 students or a reduction of about -88.7%

When Hoboken High School opened in 1962 it was a "full three-year senior high school" meaning grades 10, 11, and 12. According to the 2014 ASSA Report (see below), Hoboken had approximately 294 students in grades 10, 11, and 12 or about 19.6% of the 1962 capacity. But, Hoboken High School has undergone 3 different configurations in the past 5 years under the current Board Majority: (9-12; 8-12) and finally as the Hoboken Junior-Senior High School (7-12). According to the 2014 ASAA Report, Hoboken has approximately 629 students in grades 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 or 41.9% of its 1962 capacity, 42.4% of its 2000 capacity and 75.9% of its 2001- 2014 "diminished" capacity. 

In short, the building commonly known as "Hoboken High School" now has 3 full additional grades from its original configuration and the building is at 41.9% of its 1962 opening capacity, 42.5% of its 2000 capacity, and 75.9% of its 2001 "diminished" capacity. 

2014 ASSA Report- NJDOE 

Board Trustee Ruth McAllister (Tyroler) said at the December 6, 2014 meeting, "we certainly have room for a few students in each grade" but really wanted to get across the point that Hoboken High School is no where near empty. Seems that an objective and data driven discussion on capacity in the building known as Hoboken High School would indicate that the statement made by the Board member  did not mention the 1962, 2000, and 2001 changes to seating capacity, the "special" rooms that existed in 1962-2000, the additional grades added to the building, and the current student enrollment by grade. Add to this that well over 120 of the current 629 students currently in the Hoboken High School building are not from Hoboken ("choice" students), and we need to be somewhat skeptical of Ms. McAllister's (Tyroler) assurances that the building is close to capacity.  

Board Trustee McAllister's (Tyroler) explanation of
Hoboken High School seating capacity
In an unrelated item, Hoboken Charter School and Elysian Charter School received their charter in January of 1997 and opened their doors the following September.