The Hoboken Board of Education is hitting the vote no faction over a tax hike claim related to the upcoming $241 million referendum, with the group returning fire.
An artist’s rendering of the proposed Hoboken High School. Screenshot via YouTube.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“$241 million referendum[.] This will result in a 20 percent TAX INCREASE. The largest in Hoboken history!,” a door hanger-style piece of literature from the vote no side says.
“This statement is false and misleading to the voting public … The actual tax increase that would result from approval of the bond is in the amount of approximately 6% on those Hoboken taxpayers who pay school taxes on an annual basis,” the BOE said in a statement released by Vision Media Marketing.
They also distanced themselves from the “Hoboken For Public Schools” group, who has been sending text messages indicating the district is supporting students by going against the proposal, the BOE also said.
Jerome Abernathy, one of several spearheading the vote no movement, responded that while the BOE wants to parse words, they continue to mislead by omission.
“Specifically the BOE states we are inflating the project’s effect on taxes. What they are not saying is that the 20% school tax increase that they are proposing is the largest school tax increase in Hoboken history, even though Hoboken residents’ overall tax bills would ‘only’ increase 6%,” he said in an email.
Abernathy further stated that this would be the most expensive high school ever built in U.S. history at about $500,000 per student, the most expensive public works project in Hoboken history, will be funded solely by taxpayers, and that the ongoing operating costs still haven’t been released.
“Our students deserve the best education in facilities that provide the most supportive learning experience. Where we differ from the BOE is that we believe the current proposal is designed with too many costly amenities that are not proven to enhance learning,” he added.
“Voters deserve to understand what this luxury project will cost them now and in the future, and they also deserve to have input into what would be the most expensive public works project in Hoboken’s history.”
The BOE has been regularly accused of trying to stifle turnout in the January 25th referendum, with those opposed noting that details of the plan didn’t begin to come to light until about a month ago – after the BOE election on November 2nd.
Nevertheless, Board of Education President Sharyn Angley said that’s not the case, indicating they are committed to having informed votes cast next Tuesday.
“There are a range of opinions and perspectives surrounding this proposal to build a new high school, and respectful disagreement is a keystone value of our democracy,” she said in a statement.
“The Board is committed to ensuring that everyone’s voices are heard and the residents of Hoboken are able to cast an informed vote on Tuesday, January 25th.”
The district also pointed out that they have had a FAQ sheet and other pertinent info posted on their website, as well as hosting a handful of public information sessions on the referendum.
The last session at Hoboken High School will take place tomorrow at 7 p.m.