As the mayoral election is upon us, I have often heard candidates talk about how to maintain “Hoboken loyalty”; that is, getting families to stay in Hoboken even as their children grow up past kindergarten age. This is an issue which impacts my family greatly, as we have a son who has just entered the public Pre-K program here.
There is a fundamental flaw in the logic I have seen used in this matter: Hoboken expects loyalty from its residents, and yet does not reciprocate. Let me explain: my husband has been a homeowner in Hoboken for more than 25 years, and I moved here to be with him 14 years ago. That is over 25 years of paying taxes in this town, and staying loyal despite being impacted significantly by such inconveniences as Hurricane Sandy flooding and PATH overcrowding.
When our son came along, we moved closer to the Brandt school, as we were told that placement decisions were made based upon where you lived, and we wanted him to attend that school in particular.
When placements were made, they were done by lottery. Other factors such as special needs and sibling preference were taken into consideration, but what was absent was any consideration of how long one had lived in Hoboken. So my son was placed on a waitlist, while the person next to me, a renter who had moved here 3 months prior, was placed immediately. Those people not waitlisted are placed in the school closest to them, while those of us waitlisted are placed in schools as spots opened up. My son was placed at a school very far from my home, with Brandt just 3 blocks from my house. I challenge anyone to try walking a 3 year old 8 blocks first thing in the morning without incident.
I have tried in vain to get my son transferred, but to no avail. I am told time and time again that the lottery system is the only “fair” system, but to my mind, that could not be farther from the truth. Isn’t it just common sense to reward those who have been loyal to Hoboken with at least something when they finally need something in return? Sadly, this lack of school choice may be the one issue which causes us to leave this town we so loved once.
A former loyal Hobokenite who is barely hanging on,