Hoboken Tax Reform Coalition
Where Do our Board of Education Candidates Stand on the Key Issues Affecting
The objective of the Hoboken Tax Reform Coalition is to drive a significant reduction in property
taxes without compromising the safety and soundness of Hoboken. We appreciate your taking
time to answer the following questions that will explain your position on issues of importance
regarding the Hoboken School District to the members of the HTRC and the taxpayers of
Please submit your response by March 31st, 2009 to Valerie Pels at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. What do you believe are the three greatest strengths and three most serious problems
facing the Hoboken schools? What specific proposals do you have to address the
problems you see and what is the fiscal impact of those proposals?
2. What do you see as the educational priorities in each of the following areas: a) Abbott
pre‐kindergarten; b) kindergarten through fifth grade; c) sixth through eighth grades;
and d) the high school. Insofar as these were not addressed in question 1, what
specific proposals do you have to address deficiencies in each of these areas and what
is the fiscal impact of those proposals?
3. What evidence‐based metrics would you use to measure student, teacher, school and
system‐wide performance and quality? Do you support performance‐based merit pay
for teachers and supervisors?
4. How would you rate Superintendent Jack Raslowsky’s performance in the two years
since he took over? Do you believe the schools have gotten better or worse, and why?
5. What would you do to boost performance in the middle school (grades six through
eight) which has long been the weakest link in the school system? Specifically, how
would you raise the low test scores in those grades?
6. Our per pupil cost, roughly $25,000 per year, is nearly double the state average of
$13,000. What specific proposals do you have to reduce the per pupil cost of the
current student population? What does your examination of administrator to student
and faculty to student ratios indicate to you with respect to current administrative and
faculty staffing levels? What staffing cuts, if any, do you think are warranted?
Would you consider consolidating schools to reduce costs?
7. What specific budget cuts do you propose, if any, for the coming fiscal year and over
the next five years? Please be specific as to the areas you believe should be cut and
what specific savings you believe would be realized by each cut. How do the present
labor and other contracts impact the ability to achieve cuts that you propose?
8. In what ways does the FY ‘10 (proposed) budget comport or not comport with your
budget reduction recommendations and educational priorities?
9. The Hoboken schools overwhelmingly draw from the lower income segments of our
community. What, if anything, would you do to attract more middle‐class and
newcomer children to the schools and to create a more diversified student body?
10. Some estimates of the number of illegal out‐of‐town students in our school reach as
high as 300, with the cost ranging up to $6 million a year, roughly 10% of the total
school budget. Do you believe that this is a significant problem for the schools
and/or that it requires investigation? What specific plan, if any, do you have to
address this concern? How would this impact your overall budget proposal?
11. Please disclose any business or other interests and business, family or personal
relationships which could create a conflict of interest in the discharge of your duties
as a member of the school board.