Paging Dr. Feldman

 

Unless there’s a rift in the space-time continuum at the Belleville High School auditorium,¬†there is a rather glaring problem with Superintendent Helene Feldman’s statements at the Board of Education meeting two nights ago.

As Mr. Jeff Mattingly pointed out to her, at the February 24th meeting, in no uncertain words, Dr. Feldman said she had a Talent 21 grant for over one million dollars, ready to go, for replacing the antiquated technology equipment in our schools.

Then bizarrely, when Mattingly directly questioned her about her assertions regarding this huge grant, she outright denied ever saying that.

 

Solely to reassure myself that I’m not actually crazy, here is a direct link to what Dr. Feldman said just two nights ago:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mMWJV5cXno#t=24m40s

 

 

Now, compare that to what Dr. Feldman said just 5 weeks earlier:

 

 

 

Two thoughts running through my mind right now:

  • Number one, thank God for YouTube.
  • Number two, Dr. Feldman has a lot of explaining to do.

 

While the optimist in me likes to believe there is always a rational explanation, she adamantly denied something she clearly stated on camera, with absolutely no ambiguity, just 5 weeks earlier.

Sorry Dr. Feldman – considering the existence of over one million dollars of grant money is at the heart of your inexplicable reversal here, you won’t be getting a pass on this one.

We expect and demand a full explanation by the next Board of Education meeting, scheduled or otherwise.

 

~ Griff

 

 

About Griff 313 Articles
Lee "Griff" Dorry - Founder, watchdog, and public advocate. They've got strings, But you can see, There are no strings on me.

17 Comments

  1. Just curious, what are Dr. Feldman’s credentials? How and why did she get the job? Does she have a superintendent’s certificate? Who does she know and is she part of this ‘friends and family’ group that’s being assembled?

    Just looking out for our good hometown and what some are trying to make of it.

  2. Well, curious me, all I know is that she was presented by the board at the time of Mr. Longo’s tedious and time consuming “security presentation” that so agitated the audience, (that was not on the agenda or advertised to the best of my knowledge), as Dr. Feldman DCH and who had been a party to the designing of the NYC Schools safety and security policy that I believe is spoken to by the Nat. Association. of School Psychologists at the top of the second page of this link.

    http://www.nasponline.org/advocacy/schoolsecurity.pdf

    Note: There was no mention that her last employment was in Newark when her credentials were being held up and promoted.

    After the meeting, I Googled her name and title to see what DCH stood for? “Dr. of Clinical Hypnotherapy” She’s a hypnotist! Use your imagination how she might fit into this mess. It is a non-accredited title from a non-accredited school. If I told this was happening on the street you would never believe it!

    She/they must think we are stupid and ignorant, I mean she does do a very good job of sounding authoritative and trustworthy. Now she too stands accused of lying and concealing her true roots and connections as duplicitous in the bidding of a destructive political agenda. There seems to be money for all kinds of things except educating our children. Her title appears on every action considered by the BoE for vote. I would bet that they will try to tenure her ASAP, they need that all important and vital position to continue their abuse of our children and teachers. We can not allow that to happen!

    Please help me and look into her credentials further. I would love to see what else you or other’s might find?

  3. My concern is this: I work on the CST for the district. We evaluate and place children in need of special education. I am also a member of the RTI team at one of the schools. Time and time again, children are referred for interventions (prior to being referred for CST testing) because they lag far below their grade levels in reading. Ultimately, many of the interventions that are put in place (while they are all very good) don’t do the job, and thus these children are referred for testing. While many of the children do have learning issues and do require special education services, I feel that we really need to have more reading specialists in the district (who actually function as reading specialists) and perhaps we could assist these children before they need to be tested. Believe me, I know there will always be children who need special education. But some kids need reading specialists. All the money spent on security, when a lot of the kids have such academic issues. This is what makes me very upset.

  4. There’s no question that the out-of-control spending on things that, 1) can’t reasonably be justified as having a valid business case for their implementation, and 2) are at the expense of far greater needs in the school district is what is infuriating so many people.

    What many people don’t yet realize, is that those millions of dollars didn’t even buy our children “security”. In fact, it has been argued by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) that just this sort of system is actually detrimental to the children, for a number of reasons, and really should be considered only after looking at their immediate academic and developmental needs. If at all.

    There is so much wrong with the Belleville school district’s practices that I can’t even begin to keep up with both the correspondence and the incoming information.

    Just know that we are working very hard on turning things around.

    Welcome to the site, and thank you for sharing your perspective Elizabeth.

    ~ Griff

  5. Lots of rumors around! People just don’t know who to trust. In this matter, maybe it will wake up a few to break away from those who are untrustworthy, mean-spirited and only out for their own political and personal gains and in no way care about the best interests of Belleville.

  6. Thank you Elizabeth for using your name while in the employment of the BoE, I know what that opens you up too.

    You, who teach our children, and are committed to improving the effectiveness of the process, are on the front lines as trained professionals and are where resources and cooperation should be going. You deserve support and encouragement.

    We are trying with all our hearts to help you who help us. Belleville is a community of the socioeconomic level that in some ways leaves us ripe for picking by those of power and authority over us. But, thank God, our democracy leaves us the authority to remove those who would say one thing and do another. But the more we find out about where precious resources are going and how many new hires have little to no credentials that are so important to effective learning and staff cohesion, it makes us more resolved to casting a light so bright on this administration that it will leave no shadow to hide in.

    May God bless our teachers and committed staff who are truly dedicated to our collective future, our children!

  7. The comments above allow me to place into discussion the security issues raised by National Society of School Psychologists (NASP) vs. those of an alumna of a non-accredited school of hyponotism (F&F). Is it any wonder that many parents are bringing their concerns directly to the (non-responsive) Board of Education? This outragiously expensive, out of the budget security system is a boondoggle. It seems very good for F&F but not so good, it seems, for those it is supposed to protect.

    Another discussion can be found above with regard to Mr. Rivera pre-maturely shutting off the microphone of concerned citizen Jeff Mattingly during the recent BoE meeting. And by the way, isn’t it against the law to deny a citizen of his right to speak?

  8. Word has is that Superintendent Feldman is traveling overseas (the orient?) for about 2 weeks. With the budget as it is and with no money to support classroom needs of the children, teachers, furniture, computers, electronics, etc., I hope that she’s not travelling on the taxpayers’ dime.

    • Good question.

      Why on earth is the superintendent disappearing for 2 weeks near the end of the school year?

      I guess that means she conveniently won’t be around for the next board meeting to answer questions about that $1 million in Talent 21 grant money.

      Makes you wonder.

  9. While Ms. Feldman’s integrity (or lack thereof) is now completely in question and under intense scrutiny, this leads to another significant inquiry. While in the last year there seems to be a marginal improvement in BHS student general test/aptitude performance as evidenced by data collected and presented by Schooldigger.com:

    http://www.schooldigger.com/go/NJ/schools/0135001954/school.aspx

    is this data provided directly by Ms. Feldman to State/Federal authorities without any oversight or external review? For example, it is my understanding that the NJ DOE has school superintendents submit such data to Trenton in order to generate the NJ Report Card report.

    There is good reason to ask this as she has presented enrollment numbers at recent BOE meetings that contradict published data as Mr. Mattingly so glaringly pointed out to her and the rest of the BOE cabal.

    So if she doesn’t have an accurate current student count for our school system, can we trust whatever academic data she may be providing?

    As the famous saying goes….”figures can lie, and liars know how to figure!”

  10. I suppose it is a fortunate matter for the sake of the BOE cabal that their often mendacious comments are not provided under oath and threat of perjury. Here is the transcript of Feldman’s deceit vis-a-vis the Youtube videos:

    2-24-2014 Meeting:

    Ms. Feldman: Right now we started with Talent 21 several weeks ago. We are now committing again. We have over $1 million that is going to be committed to the computers and as I stated before, I am replacing every computer, smartboard, whatever is archaic because we also as a board and as a superintendent believe that our children should have the best and that is what I’m going to do.

    And 5 weeks later at the 3-31-2014 Meeting:

    Mr. Mattingly: I’d like to address Dr. Feldman if I may through the chair. At your last meeting you attended I think it was February 24th, you spoke to $1 Million ready to go as I believe Mr. Diaz just spoke to. In this time of deficit spending, you could tell me exactly where that money is coming from? No desire to answer?

    Ms. Feldman : We are working on several grants that we expect to have money come in and several people who are going to assist us in securing the sufficient funds to be able to replace everything we need.

    Mr. Mattingly: Ok well then I would like to wonder why then you stated at the 24th meeting of February that you had a Talent 21 grant ready to go was your response when Mr. Diaz stated his position that everyone clapped to the fact that you said that, it is on video,

    Ms. Feldman: Talent 21 ????

    Mr. Mattingly: Talent 21!!! You said it on Youtube video for the 24th February meeting. That was a grant that closed in June 30th was distributed in 2010 and was a limited application grant.

    Ms. Feldman: That was…Talent 21 was the old grant that we had gotten several…we had gotten funding on – that’s not the grant that I talked about now. I talked about…Talent 21 was an old grant that we received previously.

    Mr. Mattingly: You said Talent 21 – Ready to Go! And you went into to…you had previously stated the grant money was available and it was ready to go.

    Ms. Feldman : It that’s what you heard, then I’m sorry cause I didn’t say that. Talent 21 was an old grant.

    Mr. Mattingly : I’ll be sure to send you the link – I don’t want use my whole my 5 minutes on that.

    Ms. Feldman: Please do.

  11. This is exactly why residents must make it a point to record each and every public meeting.

    Video coverage keeps others who could not attend informed, as well as provides the ability to hold the Board accountable for their words (or lack thereof, which is just as useful).

    It is a legally-protected right to be able to record public meetings – use it!

    • The NJ ACLU’s OPMA booklet is presented here for easy reference should either the BOE and/or Town Council try to prevent future recordings of public meetings:

      http://www.aclu-nj.org/files/7313/1793/0127/OPMA_Booklet.pdf

      And the relevant excerpt from the same:

      Although the Sunshine Law does not address this topic, the New Jersey Supreme Court held in Tarus v. Pine Hill , 189 N.J. 497 (2007) that members of the public have a common law right to videotape public meetings, subject to only reasonable restrictions. You also have the right to audiotape public meetings as well.

      A public body may adopt written policies that reasonably restrict recording to ensure that the recording does not disrupt the meeting. The policies could require you to sign up in advance to record the meeting and may limit the number of people recording and the number of cameras, as well as their position, lighting and location.

      • According to the Sunshine Law, the Board of Ed is supposed to be recording their own meetings, and providing them to the public within 5 days of the meeting. Which, of course, they are not doing.

        Section 9 of P.L.1975, c.231 (C.10:4-14)

        “Each public body, other than the Legislature, that possesses sound recording devices that are available and functioning shall cause to be recorded by those sound recording devices only the public portions of all meetings of that public body, including any emergency meeting held pursuant to section 4 of P.L.1975, c.231 (C.10:4-9), and shall maintain possession of the recordings for a period of time to be determined by the State Records Committee to permit their use in litigation, to enforce the provisions of P.L.1975, c.231 (C.10:4-6 et seq.), or for public access.

        The unedited recordings shall be promptly made available to the public, but not later than the 5th business day following the meeting, to the extent that making such matters public shall not be inconsistent with section 7 of this act.”

  12. I guess Ms. Feldman and company have a ready and convenient excuse that they don’t possess sound recording equipment. But since they have a PA system (with a convenient mute control for BOE detractors), the audio stream should be recorded as well.

    • If any one of the Trustees owns a smartphone, that’s not a valid excuse.

      When a simple handheld device owned by at least half of the attendees would more than suffice as a recording, that’s not a valid excuse.

      When the Board deliberately turns off the cable station broadcasts, that’s not a valid excuse.

      When the Board spends $2 million on a surveillance system with full audio capabilities, that’s not a valid excuse.

      As you can see, the Board is out of excuses….for a great many things.

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