Hoboken council people urge school board not to continue litigation against HOLA


HOBOKEN — According to a press release from the Hoboken Dual Language Charter School, several members of the council have released statements urging the Hoboken Board of Education not to continue litigation against the charter school. The board has already lost several court battles to try to take away the school’s new eighth grade class.
Last month the Appellate Division of the New JerseySuperior Court affirmed the decision of the State Commissioner of Education granting HoLa’s application to expand the School to include seventh and eighth grades. The eighth grade has already started this year.
One day after the ruling, a lawyer for the school board told the Wall Street Journal they “would discuss whether to seek a review from the state Supreme Court.”
The fight, many say, is really with a state funding formula that directs too many funds to the charter schools – but the Hoboken board has focused for now on trying to reverse the school’s expansion.
The town has three charter schools, one of which was founded by Tom Kluepfel, who nevertheless was among the school board supporters of the suit against HoLa.
In response to HoLa parent advocacy, seven members of the council released statements urging the Board of Education not to continue the suit.
“The division this lawsuit has caused in our community has thankfully come to a close. I am a strong supporter of our traditional public and charter schools equally,” said Councilman Peter Cunningham, as quoted in a HoLa press release. “I encourage both sides to demonstrate leadership and empathy to and among themselves, our children and their parents in an effort to heal our community so we can all move forward together.”
“I’m glad this lawsuit is finally over,” said Councilman Ruben Ramos. “Litigation is never how we should be spending precious educational resources. I hope that the Board of Ed can now move on and focus on student achievement for all kids in Hoboken.”
“It’s about time we end this senseless lawsuit and start worrying about educating our children as our top priority!,” said councilman Michael Russo. “I am calling for the superintendent of our schools, the school administrators throughout our district, the members of the BOE and the city of Hoboken as a whole to all move forward. Let’s focus on providing our teachers the tools to make our public school system, which include our charter schools, the best in the state.”
“As one who disagreed with the divisive nature of this lawsuit from day one, I firmly believe that the resolution of the litigation presents a real opportunity for all of Hoboken’s families and residents,” said Councilman David Mello. “It offers an opening to work together to uplift our entire array of K-8 school options; whether traditional public, charter public, parochial or private. It also presents an opportunity to shape and support Hoboken High School so that it will become an even more attractive option for all Hoboken based eighth graders.”
“What everyone involved wanted was good schools for all the children of Hoboken,” said Councilwoman Jen Giattino via Facebook. “This fight occurred because the state funding formula pits district schools and charter schools against each other. Now we must all move on. And if we must still fight, we should fight for a more equitable funding formula.”
“With the appellate Court ruling, our community can begin to heal the divide that this two and a half year lawsuit created in our community,” said Councilman Michael DeFusco. “A major asset of Hoboken is the wide range of school options that we offer families. I look forward to working with both the district and HoLa to ensure we are working together collaboratively and avoid costly, contentious situations like these in the future.”
“Now is the time to focus our energy on making all of our schools even better, said Councilman Ravi Bhalla. “We should celebrate the parents and educators that work hard every day for our children. As a parent who has witnessed firsthand the excellence of both charter and traditional public schools, I appreciate the valuable contributions of all the schools in our community. While the issues raised in the lawsuit around school funding and demographics are important ones for us all to seriously consider, now that the Appellate Division has ruled on the merits, it’s time to move on. I look forward to working with all of our parents and educators in the years ahead.”
Councilman Jim Doyle and Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher did not provide the school with a statement as of press time.
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