2014 Nov 2nd

Election in Hoboken this Tuesday, November 4th – HREN Endorsements

We’ve rarely done this in the past but think it is worth letting our readers know which candidates we support for Hoboken Board of Education in the upcoming election on Tuesday.  The quality of Hoboken’s schools has had a vast impact on the Hoboken real estate market.  Over the past 10 years, the most frequent reason I’ve heard for why people are moving out of Hoboken to the suburbs is because of the poor schools, especially Hoboken High.  Like it or not, deserved or not, true or not, that’s how people feel.  Improving our schools or at least improving the perception of  their quality will certainly entice more people to make Hoboken their home for longer.

As such, after much reading and research on the position of the candidates and who supports them (which says quite a bit to me) we believe the following are the best choice to improve the Hoboken school system:

#2 – Antonio Gray

#3 – Sharyn Angley

#5 – Monica Stromwall

The ballot is very confusing so the easy way to remember this is to remember 2 plus 3 equals 5.  The numbers appear in Column H on the ballot.

We also endorse a YES vote on both public questions.

The historic lack of turnout and voter apathy has been the single biggest detriment to positive change in Hoboken, in my mind.  Now, whether or not you agree with us, more than anything, I sincerely hope you will find the time to vote.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  1. Chili Agee

    Many people say “I don’t have kids” or “my kids are grown” so they think voting for school board doesn’t affect them. That is very short sighted. Better schools mean real estate values go up. Every homeowner should care, whether they have kids or not.

  2. Lori

    So true. The school system directly affects property values.

  3. Krystal

    People leave because of lack of space as well…have you ever tried raising 2 or 3 young children in an apartment/condo?

  4. Peter Kim

    Krystal, I grew up in a 1 bedroom apartment within a family of 4. It’s not about whether it’s possible or not to raise 2-3 young kids in an apt/condo. It’s all about what you value and prioritize.

  5. Lori

    And I grew up in a two bedroom apartment in Ridgewood, Queens and shared a bedroom with my sister until I was 8. Would not have traded that experience for anything!

  6. Krystal

    Lori and Peter, how many kids do you each have and are you raising them here in Hoboken?

  7. Peter Kim

    Krystal, I have 2 boys, ages 2 and 4. I just bought a 2 BR condo in Hoboken less than a year ago and plan on raising them here indefinitely. Of course, plans can always change but I expect to be here for a while. Many other young families I know have also bought in Hoboken recently and plan on staying.

    I can understand it’s hard to imagine raising kids in a small apartment when you grew up differently. However, many people who grew up in cities wouldn’t want it any other way. In addition, there are lots of articles and research about how values/priorities of Millennials in particular are changing to value experience and time spent with family over things like cars and homes.

    Personally, I value being close to Manhattan so I don’t have to commute 1+ hour or be dependent on a train schedule so I can actually spend time with my kids before and after work. I also value living in a walkable, bikeable community where I don’t need a car — there are numerous health and social benefits to not being car-dependent.

    If that isn’t the type of lifestyle you envision for yourself and your family, perhaps Hoboken isn’t the best place for you to live and that’s perfectly fine! We all have different preferences and values. However, I wouldn’t make generalizations that apartment living is unsuitable for raising families. If you look at NYC, Hoboken and urban areas across the country, you’ll see that more and more families are choosing this lifestyle.

  8. Craig

    This is an interesting debate – one I am currently having with myself internally. I personally don’t have an issue with the schools in Hoboken up until 8th grade. However, with our first child due in 6 weeks, we’re already struggling with where to put all the stuff we got at the shower. What happens when he arrives and we have to acquire even more stuff? Where’s he going to play inside? I reached out to Lori about 3 bedroom units – only to find we’re priced out of the market, with what few there are for sale starting in the 7 figure range.

    So as Krystal points out, affordable space is our issue, not the schools. And in a nearby very walkable town just 7 miles away, we’ve recently been shown new construction 3,000+ sq. ft. houses for a couple of hundred thousand dollars less than a 1500 sq. ft. 3 bedroom in Hoboken will cost. We’ve traditionally been anti-suburb, but now after living here 18 years, I’m seriously being tempted to go.

  9. Peter Kim

    Craig — to be honest, you probably have a lot of crap you just don’t need! :) One of the good things about moving 5 times in the past 5 years is that it’s forced me to get rid of crap I don’t need. As we look at staying at this place for a while, we need to develop a rhythm of constantly weeding out stuff (e.g. regular donations to Goodwill/Salvation Army), not buying stuff that we’re not going to use on a regular basis (and borrowing/renting stuff we only need occasionally), etc.

    A friend of ours recently spent some time back-to-back with us and then another friend who has a family with 3 kids. Her other friend has a very large home in the DC suburbs and she commented what a stark difference there was in the sheer amount of “stuff” they have vs us. And it was clear that our lives were not lacking as a result.

    I also love being able to easily take my kids into NYC on the weekends. I know for a fact that this is something I would not do if I moved further out into the burbs. I just think it’s such a privilege to have access to all of the cultural institutions and experiences that NYC provides.

  10. Craig

    @Peter – my wife and I have found we rarely go into NYC on the weekends anymore, so that’s something we have thought about. We actually spend most of our weekends relaxing at home – or at all of our friends’ houses in the burbs ironically. Rarely will anyone come to us for an evening because of the parking situation. The town we are debating is 7 miles west of Hoboken and the local NJ Transit stop would be closer than the distance from our current condo to the PATH. It would be a whopping 18 minutes additional travel time.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer to stay in Hoboken. I’ve lived here 18 years as proof of that. And I’m not a suburban type of person. But I can’t afford more space here. It isn’t about how much stuff we have. It’s about how I will replace the home office space I’m losing to a nursery. It’s about whether 2 adults, a soon-to-be active little boy, and an active dog will be more comfortable living in 1300 sq. ft. here, or 3000 sq. ft. 7 miles away for nearly the same cost. And so my internal debate rages on…

  11. Peter Kim

    I work at home about 2 days a week and have my “home office” in the corner of my bedroom. Sure, it’s not as nice as having a separate room for an office but it’s something I’m willing to sacrifice.

    You’ll certainly be more “comfortable” with more space and if you’re someone who likes to stay at home, then it sounds like that’d be a better fit for you. I like being outside — going to cafes, restaurants, parks, going on walks, etc., even with the kids, so it’s less important to me that my home is as “comfortable” as it could be. I have friends in Hoboken who don’t like going to NYC and don’t really value being in a walkable, vibrant town like Hoboken — and I ask them why they live here. They should just stop complaining about how expensive things are, how bad parking is and move somewhere that fits their lifestyle — it’s just not worth it if these aren’t things you value.

  12. Krystal

    Craig, congrats on your soon-to-be-here little boy, I have a 2 year old little boy and he will sure keep you on your toes! As for the schools, not sure if you and others are aware, but grades 6-8 share the Hoboken High School because there is no more space in the old middle school. Supposedly it was converted to make more space for the abbott pre-k 3’s and 4’s…this is something that really turned me off as I don’t think it is a good idea to have 12 year olds sharing the hallways with high school juniors and seniors (17 and 18 year olds)…this would make me more nervous if I had a daughter, not sure why lol.
    To Peter, are your kids public or private school bound, just curious??

  13. Liz Manning

    We have 3 children right now in a 2br/2bath (bunk bed with crib) and while with three we are close to being out of space (anyone interested in a 2br with backyard? LOL) you’d be surprised as a previous poster mentioned how much “crap” you don’t need. We kept a lot of the baby things in either storage or at my parents house until we needed them and as soon as they outgrew them put them away and took out the next phase equipment. As Peter said we however are one of those families that loves the walkability of Hoboken, the parks, restaurants, closeness to the city, etc. The free preschool is also a real plus in my opinion. My children are now in HOLA’s charter school which we love so although 10 years ago I thought we would be out in the suburbs we are now trying to find a solution to stay in or very close to Hoboken. As someone mentioned earlier it’s all about what’s important to you. I have friends in the suburbs with 3x the space and that’s more important to them…it’s all perspective.

  14. Peter Kim

    @Krystal — my 4 year old is in the public PreK program. Our 2 year old will be entering the public PreK next Fall. We’ve been extremely happy with the public PreK program.

    We plan on putting our kids in the public schools going forward. Regarding charter vs traditional schools — just via odds, we’re probably not going to gain admission to charters but we’d be perfectly happy sending our kids to Wallace, Calabro or even Connors. I don’t feel like my kids have to go to the charters in order to get a “good” education — for me, comparing them to the traditional public schools is more about education philosophy than “quality”.

    I attended urban public schools on the north side of Chicago and later in Evanston, Illinois (which is actually quite similar demographically to Hoboken). Some of the schools I attended, especially in junior high and high school, had a considerable percentage of students coming from poverty, yet was able to produce dozens of kids in each graduating high school class attending “top tier” or Ivy League schools. You get an incomplete picture simply focusing on average test scores (which all rankings are based off) because regardless of how good the teachers and the curriculum are, there’s very little you can do to overcome challenges that students face outside of school (e.g. broken homes, poverty, etc). This is why I continue to be frustrated with parents in Hoboken making naive statements about Hoboken schools not being “good” purely based on test scores and rankings. I think as more families from middle and upper-middle class backgrounds choose to send their kids to the public schools, we’ll see those test scores and rankings naturally increase. I also believe that having a more demographically diverse student population will help everyone academically and socially.

    Hoboken High School offers many opportunities for high achieving students to reach their potential and as long as those opportunities continue to be available, there’s no reason why families should be hesitant to send their children there.

  15. Krystal

    Peter..while I totally agree with you on most of your points..most people don’t want to risk being a “pioneer” in the public school system here as traditionally it has turned out such unfavorable graduation rates..and you know how short-sighted and instant gratification our society/culture/generation tends to be..honestly, if I stay in this town long-term, I would still send my child to private school. That is simply my choice (and I always went to public).

  16. Alshew

    I think all these comments are do interesting. I agree with Peter on all points. It’s all about perspective and what you prioritize. I grew up in a 2 bedroom in Manhattan so apartment living seems so normal to me. I actually feel more secure in an apartment building. I sometimes think about the possibility of buying a brownstone or row house but I think those sort of homes must be do difficult with young children. All those the stairs and logistics of being in different floors seem might be two much.

    We own a large 2 bed/2 bath and have a toddler. We may not stay in this particular place forever but if we leave it won’t be because of space. I try very hard to purge unnecessary items on a regular basis. We’re also in the midst of a renovation and are incorporating space saving solutions and storage wherever possible. Our place is palatial compared to anything we’d get in Manhattan, plus the unheard of creature comforts like W/D and parking.

    I have no interest in the suburbs and if we ever move it will probably be back to he city or somewhere on the west coast. I absolutely value liveliness and walkability above all else. I love the fact that everything I need for daily life is within a 5 block radius of my apartment. I love the parks and all the classes for kids. I think I would go crazy in the suburbs with a young child.

    My kid is currently in private and that’s probably where he’ll stay. Again, it’s all about perspective. Compared to Manhattan the private schools here are a steal. I could send 2 kids to private school in Hoboken for less than the cost of 1 in Manhattan and without the added stress of cutthroat Manhattan school admissions. Frankly, I don ‘t know why more young families from the city arn’t moving here in droves. Seems like such a no-brainier.

  17. Alshew

    I think all these comments are do interesting. I agree with Peter on all points. It’s all about perspective and what you prioritize. I grew up in a 2 bedroom in Manhattan so apartment living seems so normal to me. I actually feel more secure in an apartment building. I sometimes think about the possibility of buying a brownstone or row house but I think those sort of homes must be do difficult with young children. All those stairs and logistics of being on different floors seem might be too much.

    We own a large 2 bed/2 bath and have a toddler. We may not stay in this particular place forever but if we leave it won’t be because of space. I try very hard to purge unnecessary items on a regular basis. We’re also in the midst of a renovation and are incorporating space saving solutions and storage wherever possible. Our place is palatial compared to anything we’d get in Manhattan, plus the unheard of creature comforts like W/D and parking.

    I have no interest in the suburbs and if we ever move it will probably be back to he city or somewhere on the west coast. I absolutely value liveliness and walkability above all else. I love the fact that everything I need for daily life is within a 5 block radius of my apartment. I love the parks and all the classes for kids. I think I would go crazy in the suburbs with a young child.

    My kid is currently in private and that’s probably where he’ll stay. Again, it’s all about perspective. Compared to Manhattan the private schools here are a steal. I could send 2 kids to private school in Hoboken for less than the cost of 1 in Manhattan and without the added stress of cutthroat Manhattan school admissions. Frankly, I don ‘t know why more young families from the city arn’t moving here in droves. Seems like such a no-brainier.

  18. Peter Kim

    Yeah I think those of us who are pro-public schools have some work to do to change the perspective that our children would not thrive in the public school system. I definitely think there is less of a feeling that you have to be a “pioneer” in order to be willing to put your kids in public school. The number of middle and upper middle class families sending their kids to public schools in Hoboken is increasing and my hope is that as that continues, it’ll feel less of a “risk” for more parents to consider doing the same. At least for me, that “risk” isn’t worth the amount of money that private education costs but I fully understand that’s a very personal decision.

    There is certainly more to the decision about public vs. private school than the “quality” of the school. As I mentioned previously, the more progressive teaching philosophies of some of the private and charter schools are certainly appealing to me. Some families also want religious instruction to be a central part of their child’s education.

    @Alshew — I am getting the sense that more families from the city are moving here. Many of the new families in Hoboken I talk to are coming from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and even Queens (which is where we lived and had our two boys). I’m sure Lori is trying to find ways to market to some of those city folks. :)

  19. Krystal

    Those coming from the city…there is now, instituted in Sept., free universal preschool in all boroughs of NYC. Did you all know of this before making the move to NJ? Or it didn’t make a difference?

  20. Peter Kim

    NYC universal PreK only starts at age 4. Wouldn’t have made a difference for me. If people think Hoboken real estate is nuts, it’s even crazier in NYC. In Astoria, I was looking at $3000+ a month for a 1000 sq ft 2 BR apt. that didn’t even have washer/dryer in unit. If I was to move further out into Queens, the commute would have been longer than it is from Hoboken to Manhattan. There’s also the 3.5% NYC income tax that I don’t have to pay anymore. For buying property in NYC, it’s even worse. They have the whole co-op construct which I’m not a fan of. Actual condos are really expensive. Add to that the whole shadiness of NYC real estate agents. I tried working with a few NYC real estate agents about buying a co-op/condo and I encountered so much BS.

    There’s still this psychological deterrent to living in Jersey, which I’m perfectly fine with since it keeps real estate prices relatively low compared to NYC.

  21. Alshew

    Krystal- the new Pre-K in the city is not really universal because not all 4 year olds are guaranteed a spot and not all neighborhoods have a zoned Pre-K. Also, while there are some neighborhoods in the city where the zoned school is very good you are not necessarily guaranteed a spot at your zoned school. I remember that at the beginning of the financial crisis a lot of parents pulled their kids out of private school only to find that their highly regarded zoned school did not have space.

    I put very little attention to school rankings. I would definitely put my kid in a Hoboken public school over a big suburban school. He’s in a private because we like the progressive philosophy. I’m not a fan of common core or the over use of standardized tests in public schools.

    I do believe that a good student can thrive in Hoboken schools. The opportunities and resources are mostly there, plus you have the added advantage of having so many opportunities for enrichment both in Hoboken and a PATH stop away in Manhattan.

Leave a Reply

Copyright © 2008 Hoboken Real Estate News     Login     Sitemap