|St. Anne's Day- Hoboken, NJ (date unknown)|
The City Council has advanced an agreement allowing the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School (HoLa) to lease 1,183 square feet in the Multi-Service Center for its incoming seventh grade class.
If fully adopted at the next council meeting on Aug. 5, the lease could help answer the crucial question of where the new 21-student class, approved by the state Department of Education last year, will be housed.
The school currently rents out most of the Jerry Molloy Youth Center, another community building, from the Boys and Girls Club of Hudson County, but is already at capacity in that space.
A lawsuit filed by the Hoboken Board of Education seeking to halt HoLa’s expansion still awaits a hearing in state appellate court, though it will not be able to prevent the seventh graders from matriculating in September.
Expanding up, or out?
For the past year and a half, supporters of HoLa and the traditional public school district have carried on a lively and sometimes contentious debate over the implications of the school’s expansion to seventh and eighth grade, often wading into the minutiae of population trends and funding algorithms. Precious little of that discussion has dwelled on the actual logistics of absorbing as many as 113 additional students into HoLa by 2018.
Last September, the City Council passed a resolution allowing HoLa and the Boys and Girls Club to seek an expansion of the Molloy Center before the Zoning Board.
The resolution was required because the Molloy Center is a city building, leased by the Boys and Girls Club for fifty years for a nominal annual fee of $2. By contrast, HoLa paid the Boys and Girls Club $338,608 for its use of the facility this past school year.
Architectural plans released last fall called for a new third floor and two rear additions accommodating 13 classrooms. With the building already so full that classes were held in temporary trailers this past school year, the rear additions would address only extant student population growth in grades K through 6.
The Multi-Service Center lease advanced on Monday would provide HoLa with 1,183 square feet of classroom space in what is currently a rec room filled with ping pong tables, plus additional office space. Rent would amount to $1,100 a month.
Hoboken’s under-20 population increased by 2,400 between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census, and HoLa is not the only local public school currently scrounging for more classroom space.