Horse Sense: HHS’s Unaccounted, ‘All-House’ Money Theater Program

Hoboken’s BoE is missing something heading into the April 27th election.  Call it the burning flame of conflict what have you, with one uber slate removed from the battle and real results awaiting the duel between Kids First and another Frank Raia sponsored slate.

The ginning up of some educational conflict for this election looked like just a rehash of the Old Guard’s we talk a good game about kids but the Hoboken BoE is a jobs program for friends, family and those who in the know versus Kids First, the moms who just keep plowing ahead on cutting waste, fat, and nepotism at every turn while trying to improve the district’s quality.  (They have the list of enemies to show for it too.)

As Hoboken was rolling along with nary a big issue to ponder other than a referendum on the KF brand of educational effectiveness, Hoboken Patch decided to weave a new spell and did not one but two stories in one day surrounding the sudden resignation of theater “director” Paula Ohaus.  Maybe Hoboken Patch thought her name was Mike Russo, perish the thought.

Now Ms. Ohaus is beloved by the students.  She’s one of those memorable people who cross many lives and clearly for the better.  But last year it was revealed she was working in the high school as no more than what one might call an Artistic Director.  In the State of New Jersey no such position exists in the education system for any of its high schools.  Somehow Hoboken had magically triumphed to the benefit of its students but absolutely not a whit to the taxpayers or the law.

So just like last year, the HHS theater program is being used a prop, but not for culture or for enrichment of student life but for political power in the hope to take down Kids First before the April 27th election.

While the KF majority is not at stake in this election, the undermining of its efforts over the last two years certainly is and board member Carmelo Garcia is rumored to be readying dozens of children for tonight’s meeting to gin up parents against his arch nemesis’ who haven’t welcomed him into their brand.  Likely, Mr. Garcia, not one known to attend beyond the minimum meetings to retain his current BoE seat, plans to use the nuclear weapon of Paula Ohaus’ sudden resignation as a club and he will do so with abandon.

According to Patch, Paula Ohaus blamed her resignation on harassment by former Superintendent Carter.  Oddly, no one seems to find it odd she resigned after meeting with school administrators who went over her schedule next year, months after Mr. Carter’s departure.

Since Ms. Ohaus was returned to the classroom as per NJ State Law last year, no one seems to think that has a lot more to do with her departure.  Don’t ask why, this is Hoboken and there’s an election coming.

Talking Ed Note:  Trying to get a picture on what this HHS Theater Program cost to taxpayers is harder than trying to get Mike Russo to tell the truth on his bribe meeting with Solomon Dwek.

Here’s some of the costs MSV is collecting on the last blow out production of “Hairspray” from HHS.  We know some off Broadway productions that come in far lower than these related costs:

March 8, 2011
Submitting for review and approval, I hereby recommend Ms. Laura Cornish as
Lighting Designer for the musical “Hairspray” at a salary of $1,800.  Charge to
account line item #11-401-100-07-1903-00000.

DECEMBER 7, 2010
APPROVED CONSENT:   Submitting for review and approval, the following staff from
Hoboken High School for positions for the musical “Hairspray.” 
Charge all to account line item #15-401-100-100-07-1903.

Musical Director:  Meg Zervoulis  $ 2,000
Rehearsal Musician:  Meg Zervoulis  $ 2,000
Choreographer:  Derrik Ladson  $ 2,000
Scenic Design:  Matthew Fick  $ 2,000
Stage Manager:  Marleny Alonzo  $ 1,000
Costume Designer:  Janell Berte  $2,000
Seamstress:  Janell Berte  $500
Sound Designer:  Josh Christie  $2,000

Subtotal of ancillary expenses: $15,300
(These totals are incomplete)

As MSV went to post this story, posted a story announcing Paula Ohaus has rescinded her resignation.

Only in Hoboken folks, only in Hoboken.

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