2010 Apr 19th

Just How Bad are Hoboken’s Schools?

Hoboken Schools Have a Bad Rep

school_houseIf there is any single factor that causes families to move out of Hoboken, above all it is the reputation of the Hoboken public school system.  Sure, taxes are an issue but taxes are a problem across the State and most of the NorthEast.  We’ve been an Abbott district for some time now, per pupil spending is well above the average for the State as are our operating expenses yet academic performance is near bottom.

Ind. Per Pupil District
%± vs.
1 Comparative Cost $24,808 70 $13,632 82.0%
2 Classroom Instruction 13,020 69 8,035 62.0%
6 Support Services 5,732 70 2,166 164.6%
8 Administrative Cost 1,412 36 1,379 2.4%
10 Operations & Maintenance 3,566 70 1,674 113.0%
13 Extracurricular Activities 692 70 258 168.2%
16 Median Teacher Salary 74,902 69 57,597
Data from NJDoE 2009 Comparative Spending Guide.[2]
*Of K-12 districts with 1,801-3,500 students. Lowest spending=1; Highest=70

Tomorrow are Hoboken School Board Elections.  Polls are open from 2:00pm to 9:00pm so there are no excuses – vote when you get home from work!

Of course, that begs the question of who should you vote for.  My opinion is that the current Kids First slate had their chance and as far as I can tell, not much has changed.  I will give someone else the opportunity to fix this mess so I’m voting for Real Results. As I understand it, they are the candidates chosen by the former supporters of Kids First who are also disallusioned by the lack of improvement and progress made by Kids First.  If it matters to you, Mayor Zimmer is supporting Kids First.  If you want to learn more about the platforms of the candidates read this or this. Now, you might be thinking “well I don’t have kids so I don’t care” or “my kids go to private school”.  A huge chunk of your taxes pay for the school system and bad schools hurt property values!!!  The one thing I do know for sure is that if you can’t be bothered to vote, you have no right to complain about our expensive yet failing school system!

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 27 Comments »

2009 Apr 21st

Don’t Forget To Vote Today! 2pm to 9pm. Board of Ed & Budget.

Some more interesting info about your choice for School Board to consider:


Censored Letter to the Editor?

Here is the letter to the editor of the Hoboken Reporter which they refused to print this week.  They claim they don’t print ‘negative’ letters the week prior to the election.  Can you say censorship?  Yet they printed Frank (Pupie) Raia’s letter on the same subject.  So in fairness, (thank you Hoboken411.com) you can read the other side here:

“To The Editor-

I was educated in New Jersey public schools and am the son of a parent who served three-terms as a trustee of the Board of Education. I believe in the importance of public schools and in the 23 years that I have lived in Hoboken I have always voted for the school budget. However, on April 21st, for the first time in my life, I will vote NO on the school budget and wanted to explain why.

We in Hoboken are suffering through an unprecedented fiscal crisis. The shocks to the financial industry have cost large number of our residents their jobs and those residents who are fortunate to still have their jobs worry about their job security and are trying to cut back in many ways to protect against things getting worse in their lives. At the same time, property taxes, which support the public schools, have increased 47%. People are hurting and need help.

Unfortunately, the leadership of Hoboken’s Teachers’ Union, just doesn’t get it. Thomas L. Friedman, in his March 17, 2009 column in the New York Times wrote about how teachers in other public school districts “get it” and have responded in the public interest. He wrote:

“The schoolteachers here [in Montgomery County, Maryland], who make on average $67,000 a year, recently voted to voluntarily give up their 5 percent pay raise that was contractually agreed to for next year, saving our school system $89 million — so programs and teachers would not have to be terminated.”

Here, in Hoboken, Gary Enrico, President of the Hoboken Education Association, screams at Board of Education meetings, threatening Trustees who do not support retroactive raises and orchestrates massive demonstrations of municipal employees at Board Meetings and leads walkouts at Board of Education meetings when the meetings do not go as he likes. He also has threatened retaliation at the polls for any trustee who dares to vote against the union’s demands. Not satisfied with delivering an extraordinary contract for himself and his members, now that it is election time, Mr. Enrico is following through on his threats for revenge.

On April 7, 2009, Mr. Enrico wrote every single teacher in the Hoboken school district in response to one slate of Board of Education candidates’ suggestion that Hoboken teachers should pay a health care deductible and part of their insurance premiums to reduce costs. Mr. Enrico responded that “This will never happen as long as I am president.” His April 7, 2009 letter threatens teachers with the consequences of losing their benefits and their jobs if they do not mobilize on behalf of the other team of candidates for the Board of Education and orders his members to fight for the school budget. He commanded all teachers to attend a General Membership meeting on Monday April 20th @3:00 pm in the Hoboken High School Cafeteria where “I will lay out our plans for Election Day. No excuses.”

It is clear that our fine and hard-working teachers are not being well-served by their union leadership. Mr. Enrico just doesn’t get it, and the Board of Education’s current leadership does not have the will to stand up to the union. We need to send a clear message at the polls that it’s time for our teachers to find a new leader, one who does not divide our teachers from our community and who is sensitive to the real pain that we taxpayers of Hoboken are feeling.

On April 21, please join me and vote NO on the school budget. A NO vote on the budget is a vote for fiscal sanity to return to our public schools.

Phil Cohen

If you own property in Hoboken, you are paying for the schools. If you are selling, this affects your property value. If you are thinking of buying, this matters! Even if you rent, your landlord’s property tax increases can legally be passed on to you, the tenant! PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO VOTE TODAY!

Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 17 Comments »

2009 Apr 15th

The Weekly Wednesday Wrap Up: Hoboken Condo Sales and Activity for the Week of April 15th

Research, analysis & post by Lori Turoff


The Hoboken Condo Weekly Numbers

Another week with a prime example of a seller chasing the market.  Let’s take a look at 2 Constitution.  It’s a nice, big townhouse style unit at the Shipyard.  It faces the other building so there’s not really a river view but because it’s a duplex with real stairs, it does feel almost like a little house.  The owners paid $620K for it back in ’01.  They first listed it for $1,399,000 in January 2008 when, in my estimate, it was worth just over a million or maybe 1.1mil.  From there, was reduced several times until it was down to $1,275,000 in July of ’08.  Then they re-listed it with a different agent at $1,149,900 in January of 2009.  It was again reduced to 999,875 in Feb. and to 965,000 last week.  It’s finally under contract.  How much more do you think they would have gotten over a year ago had they priced it lower to start?  It will be interesting to see the actual sale price when it closes.  Assuming they sell for something close to 950K (given that so few buyers are willing to pay asking these days), I figure they could have easily done 100K better and saved over a year of aggravation and strangers traipsing through their home.   Yet every day there are similarly overpriced properties listed and the price reductions follow.

Here are this weeks stats:

  • 541 active Hoboken condo units today – 533  last week.
  • 24  price reductions vs. 23 a week ago
  • 5 dabos (under contract) vs. 6 last week  
  • 6 (3 + 3) sold vs. 6 last week  (including 1500 Hudson, 98 Park and 1011 Park.  All closed in the past but the status wasn’t changed in a timely manner.  In fact, I brought the buyer to 1011 Park and made 2 calls to the broker requesting that the status be reported as sold.  Finally, I had to call the Liberty Board (our MLS) to get them to do it.)  So the true number sold this week is 3.  From now on I’ll break out what really sold this week and what didn’t.
  • 23 new listings vs. 35 last week
  • 5 expired listings vs. 8 last week
  • 8 withdrawn listings vs. 10 last week  (almost all at the Emsee, a new building at 517 Jackson)


Studio & 1 Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

202  total active – $430,593 average asking price. 88 average DOM.

2 dabos after 91 DOM.

  • 410 Jeff listed at 299K  Feb.1; reduced to 289K Feb. 16; 279K March 31.
  • 601 1st St. listed at 319K Dec. 15; reduced to 309K Feb. 26.

2 sold –  $342,800 sales price.  24  DOM.

7 new listings – average list price $419,434.

7 price reductions.

Two Bedroom Hoboken Condos:

281 total active –  $644,651 average asking price. 116 DOM so far.

2 dabo’d.  85 average DOM

  • 99 Park listed at 749K Dec. 2; reduced to 700K Feb. 26. (Had first been listed last year for 824.9K last July with a flat fee agency).

1 sold – $333,500 sales price. 55 DOM.

13  new listings – average list price $737,891.

14 price reductions.

Three Bedroom and Larger Hoboken Condos:

59 active 3BR condos –  $961,284 average asking price.   135 DOM so far.

1 dabo.  90 days.

  • 2 Constitution listed for $1,149,900 Jan. 14; reduced to 999,875 Feb.25; reduced to 965K April 3.  

None sold.

3  price reductions

3 new listings average list price $669,280.

Hoboken Condo Open Houses

If you are in the market for a Hoboken condo, our once again improved Hoboken Open House Google Map is your single best source for info on every open house in Hoboken. It’s posted on Friday every week. The info is updated weekly. If your google search seems to pull up an older version, click on the title link to get the most current map.


Elections Matter When it Comes to Hoboken Real Estate

A full 30% of your real estate taxes in Hoboken go to the school system here.  It’s only 6 days until Hoboken School Board elections are here.  Tuesday April 21st is the day.  I’m not sure what time polls are open as it’s always a controversial issue – I believe it is 2 pm to 9 pm.  It is possible to vote by absentee ballot with this form.  There is a candidates debate this Saturday, April 4th from noon to 2pm at the Demarest School at 401 Garden.  I do know that if you have an interest in protecting nothing more than the value of your real estate there is no question that it’s time for a change.  Our high school has failed us and our students miserably.  Seeing how the current board conducts themselves at public meetings on TV and the internet is disgraceful and shocking.  I urge you to support the “three moms”:  Theresa Minutillo, Maureen Sullivan and Ruth McCallister.  You can get more info here and here.  Please take the time to vote.


Posted by Lori Turoff | Currently 1 Comment »

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