Demand an Apology From Superintendent Feldman and the Belleville Board of Ed!

 

This petition has been circulating for a couple of weeks now. At the time of this writing, the Belleville Education Association is only about 135 signatures short of reaching their goal of 1,000 by Monday’s BEA/NJEA rally at the high school (5:30 PM).

Although that total is climbing rapidly, we need your help to push it not only over the goal line, but well over the 1,000-signature mark!

The body text of the petition is copied below, and the link to the actual petition is posted at the end of the article.

Please sign and share it! Thank you.

 

 

Demand that Superintendent Feldman and the Belleville Board of Education immediately apologize to the Belleville staff, students, and community for their recent actions.

 

We ask that you sign our petition to show your desire for a better Belleville. We all want a future where our students can succeed, and we all want an intimidation-free workplace for Belleville school employees. Our current superintendent and board of education have failed to provide these and instead, have created an environment filled with bad decisions and unethical behavior. It’s time to hold them accountable.

Moreover, the Belleville school district’s finances are in ruin. In the last two years—under the helm of Superintendent Helene Feldman and this current board of education—the district has racked up 32 audit deficiencies and has mismanaged and misappropriated budgeted taxpayers’ money so poorly, a state Department of Education monitor has been assigned.  What happened to public transparency and fiduciary responsibility?

Instead of listening to the public and staff concerns, this superintendent and board of education are argumentative, disrespectful, and choose to demoralize their staff by refusing to address even the most basic of educational needs.  You have the power to change the tide.

Join the statewide movement and demand that the Belleville superintendent and board of education apologize to the staff, students, and community for their actions.  Your signature will demand transparency, accountability and cooperation over intimidation, corruption and stonewalling. Together, let’s speak in one clear voice:  It’s time for a better Belleville.

Thank you for your support.

Yours in unity,

The Belleville Education Association

 

 

Click here to view and sign the petition:

Demand an apology from Superintendent Feldman and the Belleville Board of Education!

 

 

 

 

About Griff 319 Articles
Lee "Griff" Dorry - Founder, watchdog, and public advocate. They've got strings, But you can see, There are no strings on me.

19 Comments

  1. Griff, I’m reading the comments section from the petition page included in the link you provided. The wide variety of responses is very interesting, and serves as a reminder to all of us that suffering bullies in high places is something we do not want to tolerate. The bully always has a reason for their actions, and their play, by nature, comes at someone else’s expense. We are all hostages to their drama until they are required by others to confront their own destructive actions and the legacy which such actions entail.

    Even then, a bully is likely to claim themselves to be the victim, as they seek refuge in the assertion that others have done them wrong. As displaced bullies resettle into new digs, they are liable to lament, “I was robbed! I was this close to my dream, then boom!”

    Life, for a bully, is so not fair. They will exhibit a pronounced tendency to grab all that they can, and stomp or reject anyone who takes issue with their aggression.

    No one is “permitted’ to stand in the way of a bully, once a bully attains a position of authority. That is the first rule of the bully gospel. It in turn becomes for individual citizens to claim the right to challenge a bully and to make a stand. We have such individual citizens in Belleville, and our schools have graduated many more. Our fellow citizens remember the worthy efforts of our teachers and leaders and neighbors, and are here to remind us why we must strive in the face of adversity. The signees of this petition hail from across the state and beyond.

    I will admit that I thought the petition was too soft, because my feeling is that resignations are in order. As a show of solidarity, and a community chorus, however, it is an important vehicle and I encourage people to sign and register a comment.

    Schools are a critical arena where young minds begin to take shape. A student’s earliest steps are formative, and though compressed into a dozen or so years, have lifelong implications for everyone in the community. This is why schools can never be allowed to become “soft targets” for takeover artists of any sort. Learning environments need to be continually cultivated, and it is a process that happens over time. For this reason, I think it appropriate that many parents and educators feel that we have little time to lose in recovering from the damages of unchecked zeal and conspiratorial enterprise, now painfully evident in our schools system.

    Still, respect for process requires patience, so we must take care with our legitimate urgency.

    It is entirely appropriate that we care for our schools as we do our own homes, our own lives, and our own future. Yet schools require the highest forms of diplomacy to be completely in evidence in their immediate environment. That is an “additional” responsibility that is way too challenging for the gratuitously self-serving. When it comes to professional responsibility for the development of young lives, particularly in the public sphere, opportunists and shady characters need not apply. We need to remind active and would-be bullies that all of the world is not, as they might think, a potential prison.

    We are ill-advised to be held in sway by the ameliorative claims of an insider’s racket. We will not have our commencement gowns rendered as a riff on the specter of orange jumpsuits. Let that sobering visage belong exclusively to the nightmares of the recalcitrant bully, not to our citizenry at large.

    The majority of us are quite busy with families and a community to care for. Some of us are completely swamped with our own challenges or with those of a loved one. It is a never ending commitment, playing out over generations. While we may present as lambs, in the eyes of some, there are some very capable guardians in our midst. It is very much to our credit, and to that of our sentinels as well, that we heed their alarm.

    Big day tomorrow.

    • A big day indeed.

      I agree that the petition is a little “soft”, but there’s not much else you can do other than ask someone to express remorse, genuine or not, for the 5 seconds it takes to spit out the words. A simple gesture is the least we deserve, at this point, and I think the petition does a good job of demanding one.

      However, even if the teachers and/or the community did in fact receive an apology, it really doesn’t change anything. You can’t shoot someone in the gut, then hand them a band-aid, and think you’ve suddenly made anything right.

      There is no apology that anyone can give to these kids and these teachers that will give them the last few years of their lives back. How does one possibly quantify what this Board’s actions have cost them? We know (mostly) the financial damage, but what was the true toll on careers or education?

      Still, a deep apology is certainly owed. If there is an ounce of character or conscience left in the human beings who still sit on the board – those who didn’t find an excuse to slither away – one will be forthcoming.

      However, let’s just say I’m not holding my breath.

      • Good words, all, but to the ‘regulars’ who attend board of education meetings as they come or others who wish to be witness to this ‘meeting of the times’ here in Belleville, please don’t get distracted by the show before the meeting. While a very important demonstration of support for the B.E.A. and the schools, the meeting is inside and seating is limited. Get there early, listen- Mr. Egan is a good and competent man, then be heard by those who mostly tried to ignore you in the past.

        The shoe is on the other foot now and it is most unlikely that any apologies will be offered. So give them a piece of your mind. Ask them why they have betrayed the public trust and the children, yet have no shame. Ask them why why they belittled your comments and suggestions of the past when you knew and they didn’t that the ship was sinking and the would-be captain had no interest saving in any of you.

        There is time to save Belleville and the message of this meeting will be carried far and wide. Better times are coming. God bless Belleville!

        • Curiousme, you got me thinking. Should it come to pass that there are not enough seats in the BoE meeting to accommodate all Belleville residents in attendance, and that the shortage of seats comes as a result of the influx of people from out of town here to show their support, it seems to me that a percentage of people inside might be willing to give up their seat for the benefit of a resident made to wait outside.

          A small team of ushers, inside and out, who can communicate the need to those willing to accommodate any displaced residents, might go a long way toward making sure everyone feels good about the fire marshal’s need to keep within the safe limit of people in attendance. Do you think that is possible?

          I want everyone to feel welcome. At the same time, as you state, residents need to have their say. I hope everyone will safely fit in and we will have a seriously productive meeting.

          • There definitely will not be enough seats.

            The rally is expected to bring somewhere around 1500 people, best guess at the moment. Add a few hundred residents to that.

            Meawhile, I think the auditorium seats about 800. There’s no way everyone will be accommodated.

            Having known there could be a huge turnout in advance, this meeting really should have been held at the municipal stadium instead.

            Any residents who want to attend need to get themselves inside plenty early.

  2. A band aid for the gut shot. Tell me about it. Not too long ago, operators like this would be fitted out with tar and feathers, or some other favorite form of citizen’s justice.

    Orange jumpers would look like the safe choice compared to a more instant remedy.

    Honestly, when the worst of these plotters begin to feel the full weight of the law, I will be reading, very slowly, every little detail—count on it. The school budget as a candy jar? Employment within the BoE as a spoils system?

    I would like to believe that, as a small town, we have it in our power to completely reject these practices. Others are not so lucky. A few effigies on public display is a strange source of pride, I’ll admit, but to have it be widely known that it ended here in Belleville is a-okay with me.

    I’m almost champing to seeing who steps up to the challenge of renewal. Enough with this sickness. I will make certain that my vote finds a worthy candidate. Interesting times ahead.

    • I plan to be there, every step of the way, to help the renewal process along. However I can help that effort, anyway.

      Lots of ideas brewing. The only question is availability.

  3. Griff, as the people of Belleville take time to appreciate how the worm has turned, we need to understand that it will continue to, and that it can even turn again, if we are slow to develop a coherent action plan for transition out of this looming leadership vacuum.

    What was once a giant sucking device, pulling in cigar smoke and machine bets from anyone with a cockamamie power trip — who might have been interested in a get rich quick scheme rumored to have been forming in Belleville — is fast becoming a table full of empty seats, with the lights full on and the action forming in the wings.

    At the town council we have two zombie officials planning an insurgent counterattack, and we know from the smell on the wind that it is going to be ugly, while at the school board, we have the articulate arguments and testimonies of our teachers and townspeople to remind us of why it is never a good idea to trample the activities of people who are in it for the long term, and in it for the good of the people.

    And that means all of us.

    We were once, only months ago, regarded as some misguided magpies, hardly worth a listen, by a political ticket which was increasingly inebriated with its own dreams of glory, and now look—those dreams are down to wisps, the doors and windows are open, and a new breeze is beginning to move through the building.

    But what is going to matter, through it all, is the question that got us here in the first place. Who do we have in charge, as representatives of the voter’s will, and how do we keep winding up with players who appear, instead, as though they were dropped on their heads?

    A sobering question, and one we must all now face. Who is going to take responsibility for keeping our landscape human, and serve with dignity, humility, and the highest levels of proficiency and duty to the township, so that teachers can be returned safely to the classroom, children can be supported to create and aspire, and citizens can feel assured about the relationship between their tax dollars and the people in charge of handling them for the benefit of Belleville — now and into the future.

    The Belleville I seek, FWIW, is one where we don’t need to be looking, quite so intently, into our six, because those on our nine and our three are present and accounted for, and we are confident in the assurance that we all know the value of a flexible and adaptable quality called:

    u n i t e d

    We are somewhere between High Noon and Twelve O’clock High, and what lies straight ahead is always the question of the day.

    Are there really 1900 voters who want to tear it all down and kick some hated butt? If so, then we have some really nasty work ahead of us. We also have a few new allies and maybe even a wagon train ready to roll into town. But there are some old hands, already on board, who know very well that the job is, in many ways, not at all glamorous, and that celebrity does not make it any easier on the regular days — but it can help you over the occasional hump, big time.

    When I have a busted wheel, I am always happy for the support that shows up just in time. So I’m really thinking about how we’re going to get this vehicle, the township of Belleville and all of its citizens, moving down the road to health and prosperity. I see a couple of scarecrows on the horizon, and we have a date, with reorganizational destiny, on July first, when the big hand and the little hand align, in council chambers. It won’t be the party they had bargained for, but it will be another day where smoke tinges the air.

    Congratulations to the BEA for a great mobilization. The teachers stood, the parents stood, the townspeople stood, and the day was delivered. Fantastic!

    Now we get to deal with the inherent question of power, or if you prefer, serving the public trust. Once responsibility has left the hands of those who are not fit for the position, how can we best assist the people who are trying it on, maybe for the first time. Old hands can help us here, because the first test of position is, without a doubt, what does it reveal of your character once you’re in it.

    Good luck people. This is going to be a real test for our township, and it is not a drill.

    • Power and Control- not such good concepts around here lately and good of you espalier to tie this to what we really need- leadership. As many of us have lost confidence- not in the future of the township or the school district, but in the residue of what’s leftover in the vacuum now. There’s not much to be proud of on the BOE side, but November will be here soon enough. On the council side there’s some hope, but the real hope lies with the people- the parents, teachers, children, employees of the school district and the township all- taxpayers, who care about and and will work together for a better Belleville.

      Some of the most important things that we must try to understand, as well, are the relationships that individuals, groups, businesses, etc. have with each other while portraying themselves as ‘concerned citizens’. I’m not going to analyze too much now because it’s there to see, except to say that I just got my hands on a copy of the latest NJELEC reports (contributions and expenditures) for Longo Freda 2014. As these circulate throughout town you will be able to review who has been giving and who has been receiving; and in some cases, I presume, looking to ‘get back’- doesn’t mean it’s bad, just curious as to how of some of these usually secretive sides get together, while asking a simple questions like ‘if I need and I give will I get back?’.

      My opinion is that this probably ‘always’ existed to a degree, but from what we have seen lately, it (the patronage, nepotism, pay to play, kickbacks) has almost ‘killed’ our community. It has to stop and if the public is made aware that certain employees, business partners, vendors or even other politicians or others are (or have been) making LARGE contributions to candidates, then we should try to shine some sunlight on it.

      If it’s all good, then that’s great. if one’s doing it but would rather not have it made public, well then, don’t do it. Belleville comes first!

      • Campaign finance and sunlight, perfect together. But as you note, not the latest style. It will take some time, in some cases, for denizens of the dark to get used to life in the photosynthesis-friendly universe, where most of us like to live.

        The old adage, which references the difficulty in coaxing good fruit from a bad tree, might well apply to would be suitors. So I really hope there are some business-friendly interests left in the Garden State, who are not afraid of the publicity that old fashioned beneficence, minus the sticky quid pro quo, might afford them here in town.

        Somewhere along the line, giving is receiving. They are one in the same, and the action is not measured in casino stacks, but in plain old appreciation for the work we must do and do well.

        My kid’s faces are rays of sunshine. Helps keep me focused.

      • curiousme (and all interested parties), is this the kind of discussion the township might be wanting to monitor? I would have to research this a bit, and hope that those more knowledgable than me can comment on the bearing a consortium such as this might have on our local ecosystem/infrastructure. Red light, Green, Yellow, or detour? I can’t yet vouch, but I thought I would put it to the brain trust for evaluation.

        Enough sunlight? Or another elaborate NJ sales job? Feel free to register an opinion, but go easy on the complaints.

        http://www.nj.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/06/nj_quality_of_life_regional_planning_together_north_jersey.html#incart_river

        There has been a running discussion about how to keep up with decay and provide for future demand and viability, here in town, for as long as I can remember. And someone or another is always playing, to someone else’s eventual chagrin, let’s make a deal. Many of these propositions are found to conceal hidden detonators, and that is not very nice.

        The best cure for busted relationships are functional ones, alive and in place, so that everyone can see, from the get go, the obvious problem with a bogus proposal. One day, with fewer counterfeit saviors in our midst, we will return ourselves to a level of fitness where we make short work of the snake oil set, sans the need for public spectacle.

        Running a township is a major commitment in and of itself, and liable to be much more productive when we’re not consumed with the need for an incessant rear guard action.

        When the most recently discovered holes in the hull are finally addressed, we will be moving, as a matter of course, more directly to the vision thing. All successful planning committees must be able to fly, over the hump of necessity, to the land of their best plans and projections.

        When we aren’t able to see a future which is big enough in scope and clearly illustrated, well, I don’t have to say much about how the “eventual” bottleneck feels. I’m not going to make a remark about who is trying to shove a big L into the way we spell Belleville, because the gag response has already been triggered.

        Thanks to everyone who is already on this. I’m wishing you the best of all outcomes for your efforts.

        • It’s Friday, the day before the weekend which precedes the last day of June. I am already hearing that some have received notices of changes in job status or loss of continued employment in the school district. This is necessary and, I am sure, due to the efforts of Mr. Egan and the state to get involved in solving the problems of a totally dis-functional school district, which were clearly laid out before them.

          I appreciate that the state has come in so quickly after the creation and first postings on and only through the hard work of Griff and Nutleywatch.com. I wish that all others who use the files and footage stored on this website would give, at least, a token acknowledgement to this host, which has enabled for so much research to be presented for your use. Without Nutleywatch Belleville might not have been able to recover from the damage done by some.

          Also, I continue to be a little curious as to why the state- on its own- has overlooked any and all signs to date that this malfeasance has been allowed to exist and, over the past couple of years, drag the Belleville Public School District to the depths in which it now lies. As annual budgets have been submitted to the county superintendent of schools for state review, there must have been some red flags.

          Why no attention to these? When I think about the personalities in and around these things, I also consider the politics of the matter. Does it really matter?

      • In keeping with Griff’s Facebook item, in which he posits to the sky, and anyone else who will listen, the question of his fate as the doomed oracle of cheesy music links, I would like to take a little of that load off of his shoulders and begin the day’s sermon with the following selection:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoxRFOr_sQ0

        Look at Mick, wasn’t he something? So young, so confident, so easy in his delivery. Scared the bejeezus out of the old guard in his day. He had the juice, and didn’t mind, the least little bit, announcing it to the world. He was well able to mix it up, and now has the track record, and the survival rate, to prove he wasn’t all talk.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64nCCjonKW0

        Fast forward half a century, and we see that Mick’s face has become craggy, and London has been bought out by a colony of highly mobile locusts, who park their megadigit in all of London’s choice neighborhoods in exchange for tax breaks that would make even the great Marie Burke blush. Go ahead, see for yourself. The same band of pirates have their sights set on most of the world’s capitols, as well as those nation’s capital, and they don’t like taking no for an answer.

        Which means we’ve come a long way since the early days of Mick. Now I’m not saying that anyone here wants to go back to those days, but it is important to make note of how much has changed since then. It is also important to notice how many people have made a ridiculously lucrative career out of bashing certain people who remember the era one way, in order to feed the paranoia of others, who, in their single minded need to protect their “share,” will do almost anything, including buy out the government and replace the seated guardians of the public interest with stooges, and not the funny kind.

        Unlike Moe, Larry, and Curley, this new breed has plans, big plans, and they know how to put them into action. And like it or not, those plans affect us in many powerful ways, the net result of which is fewer real choices being made available to people of modest means, who might be genuinely interested in the integrity of their communities — for now, for old time’s sake, and for future generations.

        But in the time since Mick first began to strut his stuff, many things have changed. Other things have not.

        The Montagues and the Capulets, the Hatfields and the McCoys, the Bloods and the Crips.

        Add to that we now have the rich and the poor; not really a new war, when you think of it. And management vs. labor; also an old struggle, once known as slavery, and for many, slavery still. Just because we can’t find as much evidence of antebellum style in the workplace, we can find plenty of updated code which drives home the point that workers are inferior beings, that they should be happy for their lives, such as they are, as granted by the plantation owners, and that they should shut up and take it when the orders come down in a less than civil tone, because there are plenty more of the “kind” which so concerns Marie Burke, ready to take any worker’s place on the line, in a heartbeat.

        Now that I think of it, it occurs to me that councilman-elect Joe Longo might fit very well into the group which claims themselves to be the natural masters of our coded freedoms. Liberty for his lot, and servitude for everyone else. We will be working off the debt, due to the improprieties of the school board which he and his recent running mate and fellow school board trustee, Bill Freda, touted as the next great coming of the vision thing.

        “On the cusp of political stardom,” someone once wrote about their impending greatness, all of three and a half months ago.

        So while we’re busy tearing each other to threads in an argument over who gets to keep the shirt on their back, or who should be willing to offer it to someone who might have worn theirs out, let’s try to remember that their are lots of people in fancy ruffled collars, with time and money to spare, clinking glasses and enjoying the fact that we simply haven’t got a clue about who is sponsoring this cockfight— and at what total expense — because, well, that’s the way they educated us, and we left it at that.

        Some of us at least. Still others of us were not content to work only with the lines as written. We understand that we have to continue beyond the structures we inherited, and care for what little we may have of true freedom, in order to provide for a second chance at flourishing, and a third, fourth and fifth.

        Because as long as the sun comes up, and we keep an open mind, many things are still possible, even as people in positions of power work very hard to convince us that all is lost, save for them and their stingy administrations. Stingy to the commoner, that is. Life up on the hill has never been more excessive in its comforts, I am told. And yes, I do have the temerity to go peek at the evidence. It is compelling.

        We are being robbed by certain elements of the powers that be, and the only thing that stands in their way are equally powerful yet competitive entities of a similar class and description to themselves, and the more mercurial powers of elected government. Governmental powers exist, to a large extent, by the legal right to levy taxation. Without the ability to tax the people’s activities, government will cease to exist.

        Privatizers know this well, which is why they have been going after the jugular of citizen’s institutions for the half-century that I can readily recall. Before that, you can query the historians of your choice to find the answer which best suits you. The victors write the history, after all, don’t they? The vanquished are left to scrabble for something much smaller to eat, because life, as they once knew it, was bombed to the stone age. Serves ‘em right for not recognizing who butters their bread, the victors have been known to say.

        With all of this in mind, I urge each and every one of us to take a good look at our governmental, educational, and various public institutions, and imagine how much worse it can get when take down artists get their full and unfettered way with all that local communities represent.

        Do our communities feed into an egalitarian society, which values each and every life born into our human family? Or are we more disposed to rail, for example, at “the collectivists,” who, shame on them, want a shot at decent lives and neighborhoods, through struggles the likes of which the self-appointed masters have never known, because the powerful preferences of capital were always at the new master’s back, for as long as they can remember. Details of the time before that, the privileged have been known to take on faith, because their daddies told ‘em so and who can argue with that?

        So I’m going to finish up with another one from our British cousins, which I’m sure you can guess. London’s working class has been hard at this one for a long, long, time. We can learn a lot, not only from historians but from our minstrels as well, because when you lose your place of belonging in the great cultural institutions of any society, all you have left, to keep you going through the worst of times, is a song. If you want to know the ground level history of a given people, this is where you are often best advised to look.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pkXIYgsvO0c

        Life is a miracle, ask any mother. We make of it what we will.

        Espalier out.

  4. Griff, the smoke canister has already begun to fall, giving cover to size of the force on the other end of the field. But I can hear the familiar sound of bayonets being fixed, and the first rounds of that most basic tactic of psychological assault, the war whoop. Or at least the first of ‘em. I think I might recognize that guy, by the way.

    Everyone in this one better pick up a helmet and get the non-combatants to a safe place, because it looks to be an ugly thing. And while we wait, vigilantly, Jazzman has offered us a new post to consider, which adds a lot to the discussion of whose shindig this is, anyway.

    http://jerseyjazzman.blogspot.com/

    It has a ton of links, some you might recognize.

    I’m buckled up and ready on my end. Not for the squeamish though. Some days it really pays to be rather more than the mob you are given credit for being. Never quiet in Belleville, unless you happen to be happy at home, taking all that you have as given.

    Another excellent reason to appreciate all who serve. Looking forward to the fourth. True colors indeed.

    espalier

Leave a Reply