According to Superintendent of Schools Christine Johnson, kindergarten enrollment has climbed from 288 students last year to about 331 this year.
Of the 441 Pre-k4 families in the district, 331 families said they would definitely be coming back for kindergarten and 48 families said they were unsure.
According to Johnson, the district placed all 379 families just in case, and placement letters were scheduled to go out at the end of last week to Prek-4 families. This is about four months ahead of schedule, she said. Placement letters typically go out in June.
According to Johnson, the district placed the students using specific parameters. First, the district plotted every student into a Google analytics program, which showed how geographically close they were to the district’s four elementary schools. Then they placed siblings together in the same school. Next, they looked at the children who needed specialized programs and placed them in the schools that would best serve them. The district has expanded their specialized education programs to all elementary schools but Wallace Elementary School will still predominantly help, as it houses the ADA program and therapeutic sessions. Last, the district looked at the remaining families and placed the students in the closest schools and all students have been placed within 0.08 of a mile from their home.
She added that the schools will be more similar in terms of diversity in the coming year. Last month the district released a report that showed the socioeconomic and racial footprints of each school which showed similarities between Wallace and Calabro and differences between Brandt and Connors.
“All schools of the initial placement have between a 25 to 30 percent minority footprint range and a 70 to 75 percent non minority footprint range,” said Johnson at the Board of Education meeting. “And all schools upon initial placement have a 19 to 25 percent economically disadvantaged footprint. So we were able to keep everything within a five to six percent range and variation upon placement.”
The district has been striving to ensure diversity and inclusion in each of its elementary schools and is scheduled to launch subcommittees comprised of parents and administrators this month.
Hoboken Police Department warns residents of check scam
According to a press release from the Hoboken Police Department, a recent fraud took place in Hoboken this month after the victim was contacted through LinkedIn, the social networking website.
The victim told police that they received a LinkedIn message from someone they knew, saying the victim would receive a payment after completing a survey about eBay gift cards.
After following the instructions, the victim received a check in the mail from an unknown person in the amount of $2,900, mailed from an address in Tennessee. The victim was instructed to deposit the check, and the deposit was posted on the account. Following instructions given from the survey, the victim then purchased over $2,000 in eBay gift cards and sent the card numbers to an unknown person.
Several days later, all the cards had been used, but the victim noticed that she hadn’t been credited for the amount of the original check and the cost of the eBay cards had been deducted from her personal funds. The bank then contacted the victim and advised her that the check she deposited was fraudulent.
“This type of scam has changed over the years. It has been used on Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Classified Ads websites,” states the police department’s press release. “Anyone receiving a check through the mail should not deposit the check into their personal bank account. The check will not clear, leaving the victim without the funds in their account. It is best to not contact anyone related to the scam and report the matter to the police.”
Standard & Poor’s affirms Hoboken’s AA+ credit rating
Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings has assigned its AA+ long-term rating to the city of Hoboken, the rating agency’s second-highest rating. S&P cited Hoboken’s “very strong economy,” “strong budgetary performance,” “very strong budgetary flexibility,” and “very strong liquidity.”
“A strong credit rating and sound financials form the foundation of a healthy government that can be responsive to the needs of the community,” said Mayor Ravi Bhalla in a press release from the city. “I’m committed to being Hoboken’s infrastructure mayor, and our high credit rating will allow us to make the investments we need while being responsible with taxpayers’ money. I thank everyone that worked hard to ensure we have a fiscally responsible budget.”
This rating indicates Hoboken’s economic turnaround since 2008, when Moody’s issued a Baa3 rating (the S&P equivalent of BBB-), one notch above junk bond status, to hospital bonds guaranteed by the city. Moody’s cited the city’s “significant deferred charges, annual cash flow borrowing, and a history of financial mismanagement.” That same year, the state of New Jersey appointed a fiscal monitor to manage much of the city’s finances.
Prieto to become Sports Authority president
Assemblyman Vincent Prieto, who was replaced as Assembly speaker earlier this year, will resign his Assembly seat to become president and CEO of the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, the state agency that oversees the Meadowlands.
Recommended for the post by Gov. Phil Murphy, Prieto will assume his new duties at the NJSEA on Feb. 25, and will receive an annual salary of $225,000.
Prieto under law must step down from his assembly seat in the 32nd district that includes all of Secaucus, North Bergen and other towns outside Hudson County. It has not yet been determined who will be named to replace him in the interim, before a special election can be held later this year.
Author Elif Batuman and New Yorker Editor Carla Blumenkrantz at Little City Books
Elif Batuman, New Yorker staff writer and novelist, reads “The Idiot,” her best-selling autobiographical novel about her freshman year at Harvard in 1995. She will be in conversation with the New Yorker non-fiction editor Carla Blumenkrantz on Thursday Feb. 22 at 7 p.m.
Online Tickets: http://www.littlecitybooks.com/event/elif-batuman-idiot. Tickets are also available in the store so stop by or call.
Little City Books is at 100 Bloomfield Street and they can be reached at (201) 626-READ.
Free ferry rides for kids this weekend
Kids under the age of 12 ride free on NY Waterway ferries between New Jersey and Manhattan from Feb. 17 through President’s Day, Feb. 19.
Ferries travel to Midtown West 39th Street from Port Imperial and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken and from Fourteenth Street in Hoboken.
Parking is available at the Port Imperial ferry terminal with NJ TRANSIT rail and bus connections available. For more information, call 1-800-53-FERRY or click on http://www.nywaterway.com/KidsRideFreePresDay for more information.
Get free income tax preparation help
United Way of Hudson County is teaming with the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program and HOPES to prepare and file federal and state income taxes for locals. The service runs through April 13.
To be eligible, participants must have been New Jersey residents for all of last year. They must also have a Social Security number, work in New Jersey or New York (or have taxable income like pensions, IRA distributions, interest, or stock trades.), and not have an income from a rental property or a business with employees, inventory, a loss, or over $25,000 in total expenses.
The AARP Foundation will be offering walk-in filings Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
The Foundation is located at 855 Bergen Ave. in Jersey City
HOPES will be offering filings Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., by appointment only.
HOPES has locations in the Hoboken area, including 532 Jackson St., Unit 1B and 300 Bloomfield St.
Call (201) 468-8805 for more assistance and information.
Hoboken police investigate intruder at City Hall
The Hoboken Police Department is investigating an incident that occurred at the Mayor's Office on Thursday night according to a press release from the city.
A man entered City Hall through the Newark Street entrance just before 8 p.m. on Thursday, Feb 15 and went through the metal detectors and told security officers that he was going to use the restroom.
At the time, the only person in the Mayor's Office was Deputy Chief of Staff Jason Freeman.
Mayor Bhalla was on his way to the office following a community meeting. From his office, Mr. Freeman observed that a bag with an object had been thrown in the direction of the administrative assistant's desk and made eye contact with the individual.
The individual then ran out of the Mayor's Office. Mr. Freeman called the police, which is currently investigating the incident.
"This incident, along with death threats to me and my family, is an unfortunate reminder that we need to take security seriously," said Mayor Ravi Bhalla in the press release. "The Joint Terrorism Task Force has evaluated City Hall, and we have been working to implement their recommendations for physical and procedural changes to improve security for all employees in the building."
"We take incidents like these incredibly seriously and will continue working to ensure the security of the mayor and everyone who visits City Hall," said Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante.