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The Superintendent of Hoboken Public Schools Deserves Your Respect

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Dear Editor:

Maureen Sullivan’s recent letter to the editor is nothing more than an attempt to perpetuate anger and instill mistrust about the Hoboken Schools Long Range Facilities Plan and Referendum on a New High School, and I am unable to remain silent as the author argues that our Superintendent of Schools is “incompetent” and intentionally trying to deceive the residents of Hoboken.

To suggest that Dr. Johnson’s motives are anything but well-intentioned is not only misleading, false, and insulting, but seemingly a campaign designed to slight the character of the one person most invested in our Hoboken Public Schools and their long-range success.

Dr. Christine Johnson is a passionate and visionary leader whose dedication to excellence and personal commitment to the Hoboken Public School District have been key drivers of its most recent successes. She builds partnerships, working collaboratively with administrators, teachers, parents and families. She earns trust by generously making herself accessible to anybody with questions and by willingly engaging in discussion with those who wish to share complaints or praise.

Dr. Johnson makes recommendations and decisions based on thorough research and planning, facts, and data. Never has this been more apparent than over the past few years, as the district has navigated the unprecedented challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Johnson’s forward-thinking and data-driven approach enabled the Hoboken Public School District to be one of only a handful in New Jersey to deliver full-time, onsite instruction, while simultaneously delivering a full-time remote learning option, for the entirety of the 2020-2021 school year. Dr. Johnson is always unquestionably focused on what is best for all children in the school community, not just a few.

Families who may have otherwise left Hoboken in the past are staying, many attributing their stay to Dr. Johnson’s commitment and leadership, and the district’s continued growth and ongoing success. District enrollment over the past 10 years has grown by 27%. Our three elementary schools and Hoboken Middle School are near capacity, and enrollment is projected to grow by an additional 30% by 2030-2031. The 2021-2022 freshman class is the largest the district has seen in over 10 years. There is growth pressure moving upwards, and the time to plan for that is now. Hoboken has not invested in school facilities since the 1960’s, but has been the recipient of large sums of state aid during that time, effectively reducing the burden on the average Hoboken taxpayer. Now is the time to allocate additional funds to school facilities so that our city can continue to grow responsibly.

Dr. Johnson and the BOE’s proposed long-range facilities plan is the result of extensive planning and data-driven research, has been fully-approved by the NJ DOE, and is being presented now per proper protocols and with the best interest of the Hoboken Public School District and our Hoboken community in mind.

How each Hoboken resident decides to vote on this referendum is a personal choice. Regardless of where you stand, Dr. Johnson deserves your respect.

Erica Gavin

 

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