The Belleville Education Association held a “Rally for a Better Belleville” on June 23at the Belleville High School. A gathering of some 500 Members and leadership from counties and locals statewide including members from FLEA, rallied to show the BEA—and their board of education that NJEA members are all united in their fight.Since early fall, the Belleville Education Association (BEA) has been faced with constant crisis. It began with a demand to negotiate the impact of a $2 million surveillance system, complete with audio, video, and GPS tracking capability. Now the local president, Mike Mignone, has been brought up on fraudulent tenure charges and suspended without pay for his refusal to bow to the administration and board.
This district is rife with issues:
- Nearly 40 involuntary transfers have occurred within the district since September, the majority of which involved an active BEA member;
- Four unfair labor practices and countless grievances have been filed;
- Several BOE members are facing ethics charges for abusing their position;
- Lack of basic school supplies and textbooks;
- Antiquated and inoperable classroom technology;
- District funds have been mismanaged and misappropriated;
- Worst of all, Mike has been banned from district buildings, leaving him unable to visibly meet and represent his members.
The BEA has been faced with a huge set of challenges. They are on the front lines, and need reinforcements. For months, they have advocated for a quality education for their students and fair labor practices for their members. This board and administration are trying to create a road map for busting not just BEA, but all unions—including ours—all over the state.