GPS Teacher Salaries Will Never Keep Pace with Other Districts

The Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board is self-destructing before our eyes with some of the stupidest stunts ever performed by public officials. We know that sounds like hyperbole, but it’s true. The bar has been set astonishingly low for elected officials, but GPS has been squirming even lower with their recent inanities. Citizens tremble, knowing these elected officials hold in their hands the future of tens of thousands of students. It’s becoming more apparent that GPS superintendent Christina Kishimoto is leading Her Three Votes into a den of iniquity, and Her Three Votes are giddy with excitement at the prospect.

The potential for abuse of power by these *public servants* is frightening. But since it’s summer vacation, we’ll nix the harbinger of doom theme and share some of the comedic gold from past board meetings.

In our last post, we showed board president Tram falsely stating to the public that the GPS budget for 2016-2017 started with a $4.5 Million deficit. Now we’ll show how board clerk Jill Humpherys, who presides over board meetings when Tram is not there, takes the average intellectual quotient of the inhabitants of the dais well below the U.S. average IQ of 98.

Keyboard to Westie: We’re #9 in the world!
Westie to Keyboard: That’s like GCA bragging they have fallen from #3 to #7 in Arizona since Kishimoto has been superintendent. It’s not a good thing.

Did you know that Silly Jilly Humpherys can read? Yes, she can, though she doesn’t read very well. Watch laughter build as Silly Jilly tries to run a meeting when she DOESN’T have a script to read, shown in the video below. Silly Jilly admits that she’s not very good with math, but most people would expect that an adult could add to five. Silly Jilly can’t do that consistently. You’ll be forgiven for thinking, “W-A-Y below average IQ on display.”

There were recent controversies over the GPS board delegating to superintendent Christina Kishimoto contracting authority up to $100,000. Silly Jilly Humpherys was not amused that so many citizens and taxpayers argued against the superintendent’s usurpation of the board’s power. Watch below as Silly Jilly pedantically asserts that $100,000 is not really a whole lot of money.  We found out why, and we’ll share that information after the video.

Back in 2011, at the depth of The Great Recession, while GPS employees had their pay frozen as their expenses soared, Silly Jilly expressed doubt that her husband’s over $100,000 income actually qualified her family as *middle class.* After you pick yourself up off the floor, we’ll cue the violins:

Jill Humpherys is a stay-at-home Gilbert, Ariz., mother with five kids ranging in age from 12 to 24 whose husband earns about $104,000. While that sounds like an upper-middle-class or upper-class salary to some, she said the family lives frugally, pays cash for used vehicles, and clips coupons. She said that is what it takes to support their four-bedroom, two-bath home, maintain a savings account, finance college education for the kids and save for retirement. The two oldest are married, another is at the University of Arizona and two others live at home. “My definition of middle class would be that you can live modestly, own a home, and send your children to college. Obviously, that dream has gotten very expensive,” she said.

All you folks who are not making more than $100,000 annually, perhaps because you’re a young family trying to gain a foothold into the middle class, just are not working hard enough. Or you’re not responsible enough, in Silly Jilly’s eyes, to have a say in your own child’s education or your level of taxation. No sirree, Silly Jilly knows better than you do, so sit down, shut up and give Gilbert Public Schools more tax money!

Accountability? That’s for others, not for GPS. Just try to find out what GPS superintendent Christina Kishimoto is doing as she builds a *new home* for Gilbert Classical Academy. Birdies are chirping loudly that GCA’s Taj Mahal is taking shape with fancy architectural plans and contractor bids already done or under way … gee, everything on this GCA Wish List must cost less than $100,000. Certainly, nothing about these expenditures has been made available to the public!

The usual GCA loudmouths are b*tching mightily about the inconvenience of having to share a cafeteria with the Lesser Beings, students that will be attending Mesquite Junior High. In the meantime, GCA is getting:

* A new gym
* A state of the art science building
* A separate entrance for their *school within a school*
* 14 new classrooms

There were a lot of people who asked to be on the *joint committee* for GCA and Mesquite Junior High School. So who did the Powers That Be pick as the representative for Mesquite Junior High? Someone who wants their child to attend GCA. You know that so-called representative of Mesquite Junior High School families and students will support forcing Mesquite students to wear uniforms. Otherwise, the GCA Snowflakes might feel *bullied* by hooligans wearing normal teenager clothing. And maybe that committee member’s student won’t be admitted to GCA after all, if the issue of uniforms for Mesquite students doesn’t go the way GCA demands.

So, GPS teachers, you only get a one-time stipend of $500 because Jill Humpherys has other priorities for all those millions of dollars GPS will receive … like the elite junior and senior high school with 500 students. It looks like GCA is getting about $8 million so they can have everything their hearts desire (see wish list above). Silly Jilly Humpherys has lots of other ways to spend all that Prop 123, override and bond money in coming years. She giggles as she ruminates over how many contractors have suddenly become her best friends, now that she controls so many millions of dollars.

You folks who elected Silly Jilly <waving Hi! to Diane Drazinski and Gilbert Education Association members> know that you share the blame with Christina Kishimoto and Her Three Votes for assuring that teacher pay in GPS will never be competitive with other school districts in the area.

Lets laugh some more at Silly Jilly’s proclamation to Let the Idiots Work at Walmart:

Smoke and Mirrors: Christina Kishimoto Dictates Disingenuous District Policies

GPS is in the midst of changing district policies in the *I* series. It has been obvious for a long time that Christina Kishimoto’s superintendency is all about her legacy and her national reputation. *Summer of 2016* is all about cementing Christina Kishimoto’s power structure … mostly in her battles against teachers and parents of students in Gilbert Public Schools. 

The I series is supposed to be all about Instruction, but you know those carpetbaggers and scalawags in the GPS district offices, the White Castle, the White Temple of Doom, are up to no good. Again. You would think that all those six-figure salaried folks would have some level of competence in things like staff work, using correct grammar* and other ways they should be setting an example for the public and students of the district. You would be wrong … again.

GPS students do not have a stellar superintendent; what they have is a dysfunctional pretender to the throne of educational leader: a person who NEVER has taught in a K-12 school. Never. And Christina Kishimoto’s enablers, including the functionally illiterate president of the governing board, aren’t any better. Even Charlie Santa Cruz, the dude who was supposed to ride in on a white horse and SAVE the dedicated employees of Gilbert Public Schools, hasn’t been able to bring the philandering superintendent in line. Good Old Charlie Santa Cruz must have lost his balls somewhere between retiring from GPS and taking his seat on the board.

Members of the community are rallying to the cry “Fire Kishimoto!” ahead of the November election with three school board seats on the ballot. It looks like the run-up to the election might be hotter than the record-setting temperatures of the Summer of  2016. While taxpayers and citizens are trying to cope with triple digit temperatures, Christina Kishimoto is out to make HUGE changes in district policies. Many of of those changes will truncate the rights of parents and students in the district. Teachers don’t fare any better, BTW.

The policies and changes and anything else that Christina Kishimoto tells the governing board will be pretty much private — because the board is meeting as a *committee of the whole.* The very fact that we know about this meeting and its agenda is a triumph for the Forces of Good in Gilbert, Arizona. Previously, the board met with the superintendent in secret, because Christina Kishimoto wrongly told the board these committee meetings were not subject to the Arizona Open Meeting Law. Nevertheless, the meetings now are scheduled during the work day, so few outsiders are able to attend. By design. And interlopers are not invited to eat the fancy catered lunch that Christina Kishimoto and her highly-paid pals enjoy at taxpayer expense.

The agenda for the June Policy Committee meeting is here; you can see all the new policies and proposed changes. Don’t just skim the list. There are some unpleasant surprises in these revisions to existing policies, which you know will be approved by the GPS governing board this summer:

Policy IHAMB – Family Life Education
Policy IHB – Special Instructional Program
Policy IHBA – Special Instructional Programs and Accommodations for Disabled Students
Policy IHBB – Gifted and Talented Education
Policy IHBCA – Programs for Pregnant / Parenting Students
Policy IHBE – Bilingual Instruction / English as a Second Language
Policy IHBF – Homebound Instruction
Policy IHE – District Pride Program
Policy IJJ – Textbook / Supplementary Materials and Adoption
Policy IJL – Library Materials Selection and Adoption
Policy IJM – Advertising in School District Facilities and on District Property
Policy IJNDB –  Use of Technology Resources
Policy IKE – Promotion and Retention of Students
Policy IKEAA – Junior High School Promotion Requirements
Policy IL – Evaluation of Instructional Programs
Policy IMA – Teaching Methods
Policy IMB –  Teaching about Controversial / Sensitive Issues
Policy IMD – School Ceremonies and Observances
Policy IMG – Animals in Schools

Then there are *new* policies to be approved by the governing board:

Policy IE – Organization of Instruction
Policy IGD – Curriculum Adoption
Policy IHAA – English Instruction
Policy IHBHD – Online/Concurrent Correspondence Courses
Policy IHCA – Summer School
Policy IJNC – Resource Centers/Media Centers/School Libraries
Policy IKAA – Tests and Examinations
Policy IKB – Homework
Policy IKC – English Instruction
Policy IKEB – Acceleration
Policy ILE – Evaluation of Instructional Programs
Policy IMH – Class Interruptions

The GPS superintendency is counting on you members of the public to be lazy and not read these policies. They’ll claim they were *transparent,* and the governing board will approve the policies whether or not they read them. 

Here are some hints in the treasure hunt of skullduggery lurking within this latest GPS shenanigan:

Policy IKC- English Instruction is not about *English Instruction* at all! The policy, which doesn’t have a title, is actually this: “Rank in class is required by colleges and universities on transcripts submitted for entrance evaluation. Class rank shall be determined as follows…” If you’re a parent of a high school student, take a look!

Policy IL – Evaluation of Instructional Programs actually is about *Testing Programs,* according to the text of the policy. The revision adds this: “Test Participation All Arizona students in grades three (3) through twelve (12) shall be administered, at least once each year, a standardized, nationally ­normed written test of academic subject matter given in English except that students with disabilities will be included with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary in accord with their respective Individual Education Program.” In other words, *Forget about opting out of tests, all you renegade parents, and as for homeschooling parents, tremble before the power of the superintendency!*

Policy IJNDB –  Use of Technology Resources was last reviewed in 2015; this year’s policy revision basically guts any illusion of protecting students from pornography or violation of their FERPA rights. BTW, it’s possible, but not likely, that the sloppy staff work on this policy was unintentional. With the reputation GPS has amassed, the sloppiness is deliberate so that it’s difficult for the public to figure out what’s going on here. Instead of changes being annotated in red font, as with the other revised policies, there are huge sections that are lined through for deletion. The mind-numbing repetition and sometimes-on, sometimes-off editorial marks on paragraphs are confusing, and that’s the point. Try and figure out what’s happening here, beyond getting rid of GPS responsibilities for laws like FERPA and shrugging off content filtering and other protections afforded by the Children’s Internet Protection Act. Nope, GPS just deleted that stuff, probably because GPS hasn’t been able to filter pornography from students’ 1:1 Chromebooks and email accounts. Notice that superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* boyfriend got a big promotion for banging the boss.  Any chance Kishimoto wrote Charles Stevin Smith a glowing recommendation in spite of his spectacular failures with technology?  Sheeesh.

Policy IHBE – Bilingual Instruction / English as a Second Language appears in the *revisions* section, but the entire text of the policy is in red font, indicating change. There are no previous policy provisions shown for replacement or deletion. We expect GPS is up to no good, as usual. Doesn’t the following statement make you feel all warm and fuzzy? “Teachers and local school districts may reject waiver requests without explanation or legal consequence.” Yep, IOW, “Suck it, parents!”

Policy IHBHD – Online/Concurrent Correspondence Courses is a brand-new Kishimoto *reform* ensures no parent who opposes high stakes testing (by keeping the child home during testing), can continue accessing the online curriculum and credits for their child.

Policy IKE – Promotion and Retention of Students  and its companion Policy IKEB Acceleration are going to cause a lot of grief. Even parents of really smart kids have reason to worry: “The final decision to accelerate a student rests with the Superintendent.” If you don’t like what superintendent Christina Kishimoto decides (knowing she has never, ever taught a K-12 class), you can appeal to … wait for it … the superintendent! Brilliant, guys. There is a provision to appeal to the governing board, but with Kishimoto’s three votes held captive to her whims, fuhgeddaboudit.

Policy IMH – Class Interruptions is designed to keep parents out of their child’s classroom. The prohibition against *salespersons* is a ruse … this policy is intended to formalize the nastiness that superintendent Christina Kishimoto has employed for the past year.  Parent advocates report that GPS has been denying SpEd parents access to their child’s classroom. Kishimoto says unless you are there volunteering, you are a distraction and not allowed. Ever. Even with an appointment. It doesn’t matter if you are a SpEd parent wanting to have a professional observe the classroom to determine if it’s the right placement or if you as a plain old parent would like to observe your child’s class. It’s about whether or not you are “like minded about education.” BTW, if Christina Kishimoto doesn’t want you on GPS property, she might lie in a secret court hearing to get an injunction against you

GPS … always trying to get away with murder. Send your chirps to Westie about the other nefarious GPS plots you uncover!

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Big Fat Asterisk: Like all those dangling participles Westie came up with? It took a lot of effort to make them up!

Board President Tram Falsely Claims GPS Budget has $4.5 Million Deficit

Gilbert Public Schools is playing with fire — fanning the flames of discontent and acrimony among good-hearted voters who gave the school district Million$ and Million$ of dollars to educate children, both at the district level and state level. Voters were sold a bill of goods, empty promises that the new funds from Prop 123 would be used for teacher pay and in the classroom. So what did Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and Her Three Votes on the GPS governing board do? Board president Lily Tram made sure the board took those new Million$ and parked them in slush funds!

The GPS administration will dip into those funds whenever they want to, and the GPS governing board will approve whatever the administration spends, probably with the usual 3-2 vote. Bottom line: GPS teachers, your salaries WILL NOT become comparable to what other school districts in the Phoenix valley are paying their teachers.

In fact, as board member Julie Smith pointed out, you can break your contract, pay the GPS hostage fee, and still make more money by teaching in a different school district. Additionally, former GPS teachers who now work in Mesa and Chandler are telling their colleagues who stayed in GPS that these other school districts treat their teachers much, much better than GPS does.

At the June 14, 2016 board meeting, as Westie warned, the board approved every little budget detail that Christina Kishimoto put before them. Also, just as Westie warned, the board had no use for the emails and phone calls and personal visits of district voters who begged board members to defy the superintendent and use the new funds as voters had been told the funds would be used. The board’s response, like Scarlett O’Hara’s flippant disdain before she endured the Civil War,* was this: “Fiddle-dee-dee.”

The board’s flippant disdain was on full display when president Lily Tram excoriated the citizen who not only asked the board to use the new funding as promised, he researched adjacent districts and used actual data to show the board how bad the situation is regarding GPS’s salaries compared to those other districts.  Tram’s public dressing down of Reed Carr, her opponent for a seat on the GPS governing board, is shown below:

Quoting Lily Tram: “There’s other factors in here that you don’t take into account for…There’s just some pieces missing in here…that doesn’t really show the true picture of we really are trying our best here to give what we can to our employees. It’s just we have some restrictions to our funding level that we have.”

President Tram further attempted to debase her opponent Reed Carr’s reputation and his attempt to persuade the board to increase teacher pay and put more money in the classroom. Tram pointed out that other districts probably received more money in Prop 123 funds. What Tram didn’t bother to clarify is that GPS is a district in decline, having lost at least three thousand students in the last few years.

Tram doesn’t want the public to connect the dots about why more than 3,000 students have left GPS, because the greatest part of those losses occurred on her watch, the last two years that she has been president of the GPS governing board. Instead, Tram repeatedly stated that the district had a DEFICIT of $4.5 Million. Many people who watched Tram’s performance were gobsmacked by her theater of the absurd. Board member Julie Smith calls Tram out being dishonest about any *deficit* and for having the wrong priorities.

Board member Julie Smith lobbied long and hard, trying to convince her fellow board members to follow through with what voters were told the Prop 123 Million$ would be used for: at least 50%, if not 75-80% would be spent on teacher pay and in the classroom:

Long story short: Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s budget demands were fulfilled. GPS is pouring Million$ of dollars into slush funds that can be raided by the administration at any time. The elephant in the room was the Million$ being spent on a new home for Gilbert Classical Academy, which was Priority Number One for this school board this past year. Any citizen who tries to find out what’s being done, or what’s being spent on GCA will be treated far worse than Reed Carr was treated by president Tram at the special board meeting where public comment was not allowed.

Tram made sure the usual message to the public,  that they should sit down and shut up, is exactly what happened by refusing to allow public comment on Kishimoto’s budget. Tram was on a mission to get that budget passed. She succeeded. The price Tram pays for her perfidy may be steep. One can only hope. 

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*Big Fat Asterisk:
 Growing up in Alabama, Westie didn’t realize until college that most people don’t know about *The War of the Northern Aggression.* As it turns out, everyone else in the country calls that event *The Civil War.* BTW – Scarlett O’Hara is very real to Southern girls.

Gilbert Public Schools Will Vote on a New Budget with NO Public Comment Allowed

Has Gilbert Public Schools become an alien life form that devours tax dollars as it spits out the ragged entrails of former employees? Many people say the answer is “Yes,” now that the GPS board has scheduled a surprise *special meeting* on June 14, 2016 to approve a new budget. This is a budget that citizens and taxpayers have begged various members of the governing board to oppose.  Those kindly people thought that their heartfelt pleas and well-researched suggestions for a better budget would meet a receptive audience. Those trusting souls were wrong, more wrong than they could have imagined.

After Arizona citizens approved a new source of money for public schools in the guise of Proposition 123 funds, GPS, and especially the shrew known as Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, have turned their backs on the very same folks who installed a Rubber Stamp School Board to serve the despicable demands of *more money* from the administration of carpetbaggers and scalawags conjured up by the shrew. What was a once proud, highly rated school district is a shambles, and it’s about to get worse. 

The *special meeting* on Tuesday, June 14th, is confusing even to the shrewish superintendent and her lackeys. First they call it a *special meeting* and then they annotate the agenda with an item for *Adjournment of Public Hearing.* That confusion is par for the course of GPS these days, where the right hand seldom knows what the left hand is doing. Actually, the right hand probably is unaware of the existence of the left hand, and it’s doubtful either knows about the opposable thumb and its remarkable powers …. sheeeesh, those folks are proving daily that they’re either dumber than dirt or they’re totally disengaged from the community that put them in their positions of power and six-figure paychecks.

The significant item those rogues (both the Superintendent, Governing Board and their enablers) left off the agenda was allowing public comment. The voters who placed the Terrible Trio of Tram, Humpherys and Santa Cruz on the board are hopping mad to be treated this way! Those voters believed the campaign promises of openness and inclusion in governance, valuing and rewarding loyal employees.

The ire of the community has been raised by the plans of Christina Kishimoto and Her Three Votes to squander millions of dollars on *innovations* that no one wants, needs or even likes. Proposition 123 was sold to voters as putting money into teacher salaries and into classrooms. Ha! Like Christina Kishimoto and GPS ever intended for THAT to happen!

Now, we see in the proposed budget that will be passed what actually will happen. It ain’t salaries and bonuses for the people on the front lines of education. Here are some excerpts from the fancy Powerpoint presentation that’s supposed to confuse the hell out of the proletariat, the common citizen so that Christina Kishimoto can dispense millions of dollars to her favorite contractors and consultants:

** FY17 Budget Increase from FY16 Expenditure Projection: $20,789,625.
** Our District’s portion of the $50 million in additional funding from Prop 123 is estimated to be $1.68 million, which will be carried forward to FY17 in the Capital (610) Fund.
** $3,000,000 of the budget balance carry-forward is designed for the one-time staff stipends of $500 per Full Time Employee.
** $5 per day increase in Substitute Teacher Compensation.

An expenditure that’s truly absurd is $100,000 for a *Communications Department Marketing Plan.* Putting THAT item on the budget has generated more calls for firing Superintendent Christina Kishimoto from people who formerly supported Her Three Votes on the board.  GPS is losing students by the thousands and can’t figure out WHY families leave the district. Obviously, GPS is not capable of figuring out how to talk to the people who depart the district with a middle-finger salute, so the answer is to spend $100,000 on a plan to market …. what? Gilbert Classical Academy? Sheeeesh.

Then there’s a slew of new folks slated to be housed in offices of the White Castle, the GPS district offices, when the new budget gets approved:

** Teacher on Special Assignment – Instructional Videographer $55,000
** Teacher on Special Assignment – K-6 Math Coach $55,000
** Teacher on Special Assignment – K-12 Assessment $55,000
** Technology Repair Position $39,000
** Programmer to support ATI and District Data Reports $70,000
** Transition to Office of Community Partnerships $40,000
** Risk Management Coordination (begin mid-year)  $40,000

In the meantime, Reed Carr, a candidate for a seat on the GPS Governing Board, has done some research that shows the public exactly how bad it is for GPS employees: 

Based on my conversations and analysis, teachers indicate they are leaving because of greater opportunities elsewhere. While those greater opportunities have existed previously and many chose to stay because of their history with and love of GPS, teachers have reached the point where our GPS culture no longer outweighs the draw of greater compensation.

…In each case when we compare GPS’ planned compensation to our closest neighbors, the proposed budget results in our teacher compensation falling further behind. Since 2009 GPS has fallen compared to our entire state. In 2009, the state auditor reports our average teacher salary was $47,866 compared to the state average of $45,209. By 2015 (again, the most recent year available), GPS’s salary is only $42,357 compared to the state average of $46,008. Dishearteningly, even with the 2017 raise and one-time payment [of $500], our teachers will remain below the state’s 2015 average.

ReedCarrSalaryStats

Watch how members of the GPS Governing Board vote on this proposed budget put forward by increasingly reviled Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. Remember, you could have had Westie as superintendent!

What Superintendent Kishimoto Doesn’t Want Prospective GPS Employees to Know

Superintendent Christina Kishimioto doesn’t want you to know this … especially if you’re considering taking a teaching job in Gilbert Public Schools … but the entire rest of the summer will be spent on getting the Governing Board to pass policies and approve expenditures that will take a once-lauded school district farther down the road to ruin. As we posted not long ago, Prospective GPS Employees, You’ve Been Warned! 

While members of the public plead with board members to spend the new money from Proposition 123 in GPS classrooms by enhancing salaries of those teachers and support staffers on the front lines of education, the board is busy approving increased prices for school lunches and buying a new marquee with public funds. All the while, board clerk Silly Jilly Humpherys giggles and says she can’t count.

Yes, school lunch prices will increase. Christina Kishimoto, who has one child in GPS and what was once the largest superintendent salary in the State of Arizona, won’t feel much of a pinch. Parents of large families will feel the increase in prices, big time. You folks need to be saving your *spare change* for the first few days of school, when GPS will give you a long, long list of items you are required  expected to contribute to each classroom in which your children have been assigned. That’s on top of the list of school supplies that GPS schools helpfully hand you before school starts. It’s enough to make anyone yearn for the days when Back-to-School meant a pair of new shoes and a notebook for the hand-me-down book satchel.

In the last decade, the average amount families spent on school items grew 42 percent, according to the retail federation’s projections… As the income inequality gap has widened, that has placed an extra burden on many families that are already struggling. “Under normal circumstances, school districts would pay for these basic necessities,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said in an email. “But with steep funding cuts to education, parents and teachers are footing the bill, basically subsidizing public education for our children.”

Why should this state of affairs in public education concern prospective GPS employees? Because even before you get that first paycheck, you will be expected to pony up for school supplies for the classroom you are expected to set up before your contract begins. That’s because you won’t have time to set up a classroom on GPS’s dime; they’ll have you attending all kinds of meetings and even a massive gathering Kishimoto calls a *convocation* on the contract days before students show up for school. BTW, the night before school officially begins, you will be required to be present (and smelling fresh) with a big smile to welcome families on *Meet the Teacher Night* after you’ve worked all day in triple digit heat to clean desks, make bulletin boards and assign seats for the first day of school.

The money teachers will spend, because GPS won’t, is exorbitant. Especially when we all know that GPS is flush with cash. That does not mean you won’t be expected to buy hundreds of dollars of supplies [before you get your first paycheck]. It’s a huge dent in the family budget if you’re a parent in addition to being a GPS employee:

It’s not just parents feeling the burden. A study published last year showed that teachers are spending an average of $400 out-of-pocket on extra supplies as well. Many teachers are parents themselves, meaning they can end up footing a $400 bill for their classrooms in addition to the estimated $600 a typical family spends on school supplies, backpacks and clothing.

Here’s the agenda item to raise school lunch prices (click here to see the full agenda for the May 24, 2016 board meeting):

The District’s School Nutrition Director and Chief Financial Officer have reviewed the School Nutrition Department budget including current meal prices, participation, food and labor costs, staff pay rates, and staff turnover.  While program operations are expected to remain in a positive financial status for FY16, the school nutrition program is now experiencing operational and financial challenges that can be addressed through additional nominal increases in meal prices.

** Participation in the school nutrition program has decreased in recent years as a result of declining student enrollment. [emphasis added]
** The revised nutritional guidelines/standards resulting from the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act and Smart Snacks in Schools has created new costs.
** Food & Supplies costs have increased by approximately 5% over the past 2 years.
** Staff turnover has increased significantly.
** The department experienced a 37% turnover level this past school year.
** The starting pay rates for nutrition staff working in the schools, particularly at the lower pay level positions, are below most of the area school districts.
** The program is experiencing significant difficulty in retaining staff at the lower pay level positions as well as filling vacancies.The impact of these challenges, left un-addressed, will impact service levels to students and staff.

The District deferred increasing lunch prices this past school year.  The last time lunch prices were increased in the school district was 7 years ago (2009-2010 School year).   It is recommended that lunch prices be increased by $0.20 effective for the 2016-17 school year to be able to continue to meet operational standards of quality.

Level / School Year

2015-16

Proposed 2016-17

Elementary

$2.25

$2.45

Junior High

$2.25 – $3.25

$2.45 – $3.45

High School

$2.25 – $3.25

$2.45 – $3.45

 

The proposed lunch price increase is projected to generate approximately $300,000 in additional revenue.  The majority of the increase will be utilized to fund the compensation plan approved by the Governing Board in January and well as an additional increase to bring wage rates more in line with other area school districts.

While GPS is raising the prices of school lunches for students, GPS is spending unlimited THOUSANDS of public dollars on something they call the *GPS Catering Department* that feeds the mouths of the GPS Top Dogs, those who make six-figure incomes, which is just fine with Giggling Silly Jilly Humpherys. Of course, Silly Jilly is chowing down on something like a thousand dollars per month of GPS Catering Department offerings for “Catering Services for Superintendency and Governing Board.” She trills and giggles without acknowledging that the school lunch price increases are *justified* because GPS has been losing so many thousands of students in recent years (see the first stated reason above for raising school lunch prices).

Silly Jilly doesn’t care why lunch prices for students are increasing, but she told everyone that she approves of feeding GPS employees … apparently, instead of paying appropriate salaries. Maybe THAT’S how Silly Jilly intends to spend Prop 123 money on teachers, feeding them cheap pizza and expensive barbecue instead of paying employees so they can buy their own lunches, which most likely will be much healthier.  Sheeeesh.

Christina Kishimoto doesn’t want you to know that these free meals tend to accrue to the same GPS employees (and board members) time and again. In fact, it appears that just about every district staff meeting at every level and all administrator training sessions are catered, with public funds paying the bills. Every monthly policy committee meeting of the GPS board, as a Committee of the Whole, is catered using taxpayer funds.

It appears that Dan Johnson, GPS principal of Mesquite Junior High School, has taken his staff out to lunch at district expense: “Reimbursement for Daniel Johnson – Food for Meeting @ Cafe Rio for 6 people December, 11, 2015 (Cafe Rio does not accept PO’s or checks).” We even found an entry for “Dinner for Athletic Director and 5 other committee members interviewing Girls Basketball Coaching positions,” paid with public funds at SomeBurros Mexican Restaurant.

Prospective employees, all is not lost: GPS might let you use the *official* district bulletin board! Really, GPS has the best interests of employees in mind when it comes to benefits of employment <snark>:

Electronic Bulletin Board: The electronic bulletin board is provided to advertise personal items for sale or items wanted for purchase.

Especially for the benefit of prospective employees (GPS is still searching for enough teachers to staff all their classrooms) we’ll post sporadically during the summer about how GPS screws employees at every opportunity. But GPS does not screw all employees … the Top Dogs will be extending their vacations by attending conferences in expensive resort hotels during their annual summer extravaganzas, all paid with public funds. Isn’t that just peachy keen? We’re sure Silly Jilly thinks so. Giggle.

Gilbert Public Schools: Prospective Employees, You’ve Been Warned!

Cue the crocodile tears from Gilbert Public Schools again: with the passage of Proposition 123, the school district will receive new $$Millions from the state, all of which has already been budgeted and (perhaps) spent by a profligate superintendent and governing board. The state-wide vote was a cliffhanger, but the change to the Arizona Constitution squeaked through. It’s too soon to know just how many court challenges there will be, but the race to the courthouse has already begun. It appears that citizens who voted YES were almost equally as critical of the measure, but they held their noses and voted for it anyway. The word TRUST has been flung around by all sides, as in no one trusts the politicians or the educrats with this new largess, but … it’s for the kids

The crocodile tears will come in the next couple of GPS board meetings when the budget for next year must be approved. That’s because whatever amount of money taxpayers give to Gilbert Public Schools, it’s never enough. If you ask Superintendent Christina Kishimoto why, she won’t answer. She doesn’t talk to ordinary citizens or to parents. Of course, she has some huge messes on her hands, problems that she personally, professionally and institutionally created, so she doesn’t have time to assuage the public. She’s too busy spending all that money!

First up: GPS employment contracts. Crammed into new contracts is a clause that says GPS magnanimously will give employees a one-time $500.00 gift. Who thought that up, who they thought they were kidding and who believes this measly few bucks will earn gratitude, everlasting or otherwise? The answers don’t matter. Surrounding school districts are giving seriously generous and long-lasting pay raises to employees with money from Prop 123, and once again, GPS is sitting around with its thumb .. never mind. There was never a requirement in Prop 123 that the new money actually flowed into classrooms.

NOTICE TO GPS EMPLOYEES: if you want to break your contract, develop a health issue. If you present a medical certificate (i.e. a doctor’s note) to GPS and say you just can’t perform essential duties, GPS cannot and will not inquire further. We know that because Slime Bucket Suzanne Zentner said so during a board meeting a few months back. Also, it’s the law that GPS can’t pry into your medical history without a business reason for asking. We also know that Slime Bucket Suzanne and her BFF Christina Kishimoto make the decisions on who has to pay the infamous Hostage Ransom Payment that GPS built into employment contracts in the past couple of years, even though that is something reserved to the governing board’s discretion. The GPS governing board does what Christina Kishimoto says, so Her Highness doesn’t even bother consulting the board on the hostage clause.

Medical issues. Yours or those of your close family member (it’s best if that family member is covered by FMLA!) are your silver bullet against the GPS vampires and werewolves. BTW, other school districts in the Phoenix Valley have pretty much completed their hiring for the next school year, so don’t wait too long!

GPS, on the other hand, still has hundreds of vacancies and is getting desperate to lasso enough new employees to fill classrooms. If you’re considering GPS as an employer, ask yourself WHY entire departments on some campuses seem to have emptied. Particularly science and math. Also Special Education. There’s a reason for this, and as a prospective employee, you most definitely should look any GPS gift horse in the mouth. Just sayin’…. it’s your professional future ahead. And an incredibly stressful life. That’s “the GPS way” these days.

The *mass exodus* that Christina Kishimoto says she was supposed to stanch is recurring. GPS is desperately trying to keep under wraps the true size of the 2016 mass exodus — having word get out before the end of the school year would surely stymie new hiring. As of Friday, May 20, 2016, when the agenda with employee hiring reports was posted online, there were 75 certified resignations shown, plus 6 retirements. At the same time, the Online Certified Employment List showed 82 vacancies remaining, for a total of 163 certified vacancies, which doesn’t include earlier hires, of which there have been as many as GPS could hoodwink. The point is that GPS is taking pains to keep the real employment data hidden from public view. GPS used a real kabuki dance to hide losses of classified staff: GPS simply failed to upload the complete list; you can view page 1 of 4 pages, but not the entire list. What incredible silliness. Knowing GPS, Christina Kishimoto also wants to keep the governing board in the dark as to the actual numbers … er, dater  data.

Here’s some data that prospective GPS employees should be looking at: the mass exodus of certified employees in 2015, completely on Christina Kishimoto’s watch, was this:

1-5 years: 137 resignations in 2014-2015; 56.85%
6-10 years: 57 resignations in 2014-2015; 23.65%
More than 10 years: 47 resignations in 2014-2015; 19.50%

Note: that’s just resignations, it doesn’t include retirements. You’ve been warned. We’ll update this post when data becomes available as to the size of the 2016 mass exodus from Gilbert Public Schools.

Another *mass exodus* is occurring in GPS: STUDENTS!  GPS still doesn’t know why students are leaving the district by the thousands. The biggest losses are in the elementary grades. So what does GPS do under the *leadership* of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto? Spend $$Millions on “a new home for GCA,” a 7-12 grade facility, for the sole purpose of *competing* with charter schools. Just brilliant, right? <dripping sarcasm>  Specifically: since 2009/10, enrollment has declined by about 2,700 students (1.2% annually), with a loss of about 900 students this past year alone.

Hey, board members…the numbers you have been given suck, but it’s worse that you don’t know why those numbers suck. For one thing, losses on the east side of the district were most likely influenced by the new schools opening in the area, not all of which were charter schools. You know, there are other school districts like Higley, Queen Creek and Chandler. What GPS doesn’t want to accept is that those other school districts are enticing a lot of GPS students, just as the many nearby charter schools are doing.

Belatedly, GPS decided to pay for a phone survey to ask departing families why they left. As if people who already made the decision to leave are going to take the time to give GPS thoughtful answers that might reveal how screwed up the district has become. Nope. After people have left, they generally won’t feel like taking the time and effort to help GPS understand. That’s human nature. The problem for GPS seems to be that Christina Kishimoto and her minions in the White Castle haven’t been human in a long, long time. Their lack of common sense would be comical if the price were not so high, in terms of damage to a once-stellar school district.

Since Christina Kishimoto set an example of inappropriate behavior with her *alleged* boyfriend, who departed in disgrace in January 2016, Westie’s birdies are chirping that the Loose Zipper Brigade has been adding some new notches to their belts. We weren’t surprised to hear the name Brian Yee coupled to that news. [That dude must be phenomenal at something or other! But we digress.] Inquiring minds want to know (and many probably already know the answer) why Brian Yee’s assistant principal left in the middle of the school year. Same old stuff. In both *alleged* cases of inappropriate relationships in GPS in 2015-2016, the subordinate disappeared.

Prospective GPS employees, you’ve been warned … again.

GPS Email Server Hacked – Predictable Pornography Proliferation!

The Gilbert Public Schools email server was hacked on Saturday, May 14, 2016. A student used a teacher’s login information and sent pornographic emails to students, teachers and parents on Saturday night. Entirely predictable and preventable: parents have been trying for the entire school year to get Gilbert Public Schools to do something about the pornography problem, but the official GPS response has been something along the lines of The Three Stooges — a comedy of blunders and missteps by Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. 

As the email message from the principal of Highland Junior High School quoted below shows, the Mesa police and FBI were contacted about this incident of “Internet fraud.”

Date: May 14, 2016 9:24 PM
Subject: HJHS – Teacher email account hacked

Dear HJHS Parents and Students,

I am sorry to report that one of our teachers, [name redacted], had her Gilbert Public Schools email account hacked into tonight. There were two very inappropriate messages sent out to her students without her knowledge before district could deactivate her account. If you or your child received one of these email messages, please delete it immediately without opening. We are working on suspending all our student accounts right now to prevent further students from viewing these messages.

Gilbert Public Schools takes situations such as this very seriously. I have reported the crime to the Mesa Police Department and also the FBI since they are the ones who handle all internet fraud. If you have any information regarding this crime, please contact us as quickly as possible so we can report it to the proper authorities.

Again, I am sickened by this horrible act and am working as diligently as possible to take care of the situation. Your continued support is appreciated.

Sincerely,
Marcie Taylor
HJHS Principal
This is an automated email.  Please do not reply to this message.  Click here to access the portal.

The school district and Mesa police have screenshots of the pornography disseminated as part of this hack. Although Principal Marcie Taylor worked with GPS Technology Service staffers to suspend student accounts, there were many, many copies of the email messages that were not deleted.

Apparently, a student gained access to the internal GPS email system by using a teacher’s district-issued Chromebook or by seeing the login information on the screen of the teacher’s device. Although GPS bought thousands of Chromebooks for the rollout in the district’s junior high schools this year, administrators failed to anticipate the failure rate and maintenance requirements, such that by the end of the year when Chromebooks were needed for standardized testing, there were not enough Chromebooks for every student to take those tests. Word went out from on high that teachers should lend their Chromebooks to students for testing.

You know it’s bad in Gilbert Public Schools when STUDENTS are chirping to Westie. Whoever thought this Chromebook initiative would work without having a rollout plan and the fifty thousand known glitches identified and fixed doesn’t know much about kids, mischief making, education or technology.
First problem: network logins. These Digital Native kids know all about how admin-issued usernames and passwords are standardized in GPS. In the real world, kids  use their admin-assigned logins one time, and then the kids set their own usernames and passwords. For security, you know.
The current situation confronting the serious Digital Native students is that GPS won’t let them set up their own secure usernames and passwords. Nope, if kids try to change their admin-issued login information, the GPS system resets to the default that the techies dreamed up. Of course, Digital Natives figured out how to use the back door to set up their own secure username and password.  Note to Superintendent Christina Kishimoto: there’s ALWAYS a back door into the network.

The school district’s ineffective technology security has been a widely-known issue for the entire school year. Christina Kishimoto made technology the theme of her superintendency at GPS and rushed through Chromebook implementation, ignoring resultant problems identified by parents of junior high school students that began shortly after the devices were distributed in the junior high schools.

Worse than just ignoring those parents, Christina Kishimoto had her henchmen organize appearances at a board meeting to demonize their parenting skills!

Parents were appalled by pornography issues and failures by GPS Technology staffers to prevent the spread of porn on student Chromebooks, in addition to the exorbitant costs and GPS failures to track expenses or return on investment. An example from the public comment segment of the February 2016 governing board meeting:

Once again, Christina Kishimoto’s alleged *inappropriate relationship* with her subordinate Steve Smith, Executive Director of Technology, who resigned in January 2016 after their alleged relationship became public knowledge, is implicated in this pornography incident in Gilbert Public Schools. Many members of GPS and the community believe the superintendent’s alleged *inappropriate relationship* was the reason that technology projects in the district have been poorly planned and clumsily executed. For example, the rollout of new financial software in January 2016 continues to adversely affect GPS employee payroll and benefits administration.

Public comment about the superintendent’s alleged *inappropriate relationship* from the January 2016 governing board meeting:

By the way, Christina Kishimoto was in Austin, Texas with the Association of Latino Superintendents and Administrators on May 14, 2016, when this incident occurred. Got to focus on that *national reputation* thingy!

In closing, Christina Kishimoto wants parents of students in Gilbert Public Schools to know that she thinks their parenting skills SUCK! Take a gander at her letter to parents. Notice that the font color changes near the end, where she informs you about underage drinking of alcoholic beverages. That’s probably because some ghost writers were involved, and they, too, think GPS parents don’t know how to raise their own children. Because no one in Gilbert, Arizona knows this parenting stuff, right??? Click here or click the letter below for a larger image.

Kishiletterhowtoparent

Gilbert Public Schools – more screwed up now than ever before! Sheeeeesh.  PS … we heard about your high-fiving in the district offices, GPS dudes and dudettes. A little premature, um, celebration?

Kishimoto Eats Cake while Gilbert Public Schools Gains Media Attention

The school year is almost over. Fresh-faced graduates from Gilbert Public Schools are ready to take on the world. Over the summer, evil plotters will labor in secrecy in the bowels of the GPS White Castle to *reform* whatever catches the superintendent’s fancy. In other words, everything old is new again in Gilbert, Arizona!

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s reforms of what was once a reputable school district will continue to bleed student enrollment, devastate teacher recruiting and bludgeon taxpayers for more money. You will be hearing cries that the sky is falling, which will lead to new budget cuts since GPS already had plans to spend every dollar they hoped to get into their hot hands, including dollars the district won’t receive due to the aforesaid student losses. These happenings on Christina Kishimoto’s watch are a result of her blind ambition for a national reputation and her tone-deaf *leadership.*

It’s all part of her plan, and Kishimoto’s Three Votes on the Governing Board are fully supporting every effort to loot the GPS treasury, with the usual brief respite while Top Dogs party all around the country on taxpayer-financed vacations. In addition to the usual mid-summer celebrations in Tucson, Arizona, members of the GPS superintendency and their favorite administrators will party hardy* in Baltimore, Maryland this year with their buxom bosom buddy, Robyn Conrad-Hansen. Christina Kishimoto, lavishly spending taxpayers’ money to show how much she cares about her staff, cries out to the public, “Let them eat cake!

At least it will be a break from all their meetings catered by the GPS Food Service Catering Department. If you ask why a school district needs a catering department, Governing Board Clerk Silly Jilly Humpherys will not listen to you. Her pal, GPS Governing Board President Lily Tram, already decided that anything this superintendent wants, she gets, even if it takes dollars away from educating students. Of course, the only reason the Governing Board exists is to educate students. If you didn’t know that, obviously you were not cut out to be Lily Tram’s BFF or fellow board member.

Since everything old is new again, it won’t surprise you to learn that high school seniors have been up to their annual playing tricks and pranks, and a few of them made international news. One such occurrence involved a senior at Red Mountain High School in Mesa, AZ, whose prank involved a teeny weeny exposure in a football team photograph that school authorities had not noticed during all the months that the photo was distributed in various venues. The student’s poor choice landed him in some scaldingly hot water: he was charged with 69 misdemeanor counts of  indecent exposure. No, we did not make up that number; the Mesa Police Department did, seemingly with no awareness of its racy double entendre. There was one felony charge for this kid, which the Maricopa County Attorney declined to prosecute, a decision applauded far and wide, especially after a petition supporting that conclusion went viral on the Internet. The Mesa Police later dropped the case, perhaps because the so-called victims urged them to do so. BTW, Playgirl Magazine was impressed!

The way the dots of that incident connect to Gilbert Public Schools probably is a mystery to the scalawags and carpetbaggers in the GPS superintendency. Here comes Westie to the rescue, with the corporate memory that seems to no longer exist in the GPS White Castle of Doom. The principal of Red Mountain High School is Jared Ryan, the guy who opened Campo Verde High School in GPS. Birdies chirp that he jumped to Mesa School District in the Great Exodus of 2014, shortly after Christina Kishimoto was announced as the new GPS superintendent. Good move, Jared! This move is especially interesting in hindsight, since Jared Ryan was spouting the same *national* thingy that Kishimoto pushes:

I have maintained a philosophy of surrounding myself with individuals focused on exceptionally high standards and a desire to be a nationally recognized example of what a community school can be. Red Mountain and Mesa Public Schools are filled with the type of students, staff and community members it takes to achieve that vision.

Returning to the Red Mountain High School yearbook photo mess to connect the dots to GPS: the spokesperson for Mesa Public Schools is Helen Hollands, a former member of the GPS Governing Board. Good old Helen Hollands told the press that Jared Ryan calling the cops who then arrested this high school senior was *mandatory,* meaning no one thought for a moment about what would happen next. It appears that Helen Hollands believed the yearbooks would be *edited* with a sticker covering the offending area. This is really rich, considering who was in the Loose Zipper Brigade in Gilbert Public Schools when Helen Hollands was on the board.

Helen Hollands, a spokeswoman for Mesa Public School[s], said Tuesday that it was mandatory for school administrators to report the offense to police and that the district was pursuing its own disciplinary actions, which officials would not share. It was “highly recommended” by the district that those who had received yearbooks return them temporarily so the photo could be edited, she said.

A senior prank at Highland High School, a GPS school, went awry recently. Principal Melinda Murphy may not be amused that the reporter thought she was a he:

Videos posted online shows students starting a water balloon fight in the middle of campus as part of a senior prank. The school’s principal walked out into the middle of the fight to stop the prank. He then closed off parts of the school.

That’s not nearly as bad as pranks at Highland High School and Gilbert High School in the past, when cats and pigeons were killed as part of a football game prank. Hey, lookie, Good Old Charlie Santa Cruz was principal at the time! Isn’t it amazing that Charlie dealt with his delinquents, while the Highland kids were arrested? That’s the way things still seem to work in GPS: it all depends on who you know.

Gilbert police on Tuesday detained three Highland students, all 17-year-old boys. Each faces one count in juvenile court of criminal trespassing, and two of the three face animal-cruelty charges for killing the cats. Gilbert High Principal Charles Santa Cruz is preparing to discipline two students for the pigeon killing. Police aren’t involved.

There was another incident garnering international media attention that, to a casual observer, seemed to involve a Mesa high school, but it was really GPS Desert Ridge High School.  The flyer that gained worldwide media coverage reads:

So you think you come to school looking pretty cute > but what the boys see is meat, and it’s distracting > so they make lousy grades > but you end up with one of them anyway because he thought you looked HOT! > and then he ends up under employed because he learned nothing in school > so you get to support him … forever… > but it’s okay … because you look cute today!

The student who first posted an image of a misogynist flier and wrote “so it’s the girls fault, right? #feminism” on it was treated to an unusual reaction: “my librarian claims I’m the only one offended by it,” and that “when I asked her about it, she dismissed me, folded the written part, & put more staples in it.” The way that Irene Mahoney-Baloney Paige dismissed the incident on behalf of GPS was *interesting,* to say the least:

A flier calling girls “meat” who distract boys and ultimately cause men’s failure brought international attention to Desert Ridge High School in Mesa when it was found hanging in the library in late April. Students began to call the flier into question on social media, and soon it went viral, getting coverage from news outlets including ABC, the Daily Mail, the Guardian and Mic… “The poster in question has been in the library for some time (not hung up) so it is unclear when it was made or by whom,” said Irene Mahoney-Paige, director of communications for Gilbert Public Schools.

DesertRidgePoster

Gilbert Public Schools — never miss an opportunity to prove incompetence and/or ignorance. 

****************
*Big Fat Asterisk: Yes, we know the correct term is *party hearty,* but the definition appears at the incorrectly spelled link. Sheeeeesh. We know what these guys do when they’re at a conference!

Gilbert Public Schools: Experts at Squandering Tax Dollars

How did Governing Board Clerk Jill Humpherys become the de facto spokesperson for Gilbert Public Schools? The community long wondered when GPS would actually start communicating with the public in a meaningful way, but the answer has been: “Irene Mahoney-Baloney Paige says sit down and shut up!” Even the most die-hard community enablers of GPS incompetency had a hard time accepting at face value the news that she won a communications award; we helpfully archived the discussion for your perusal. In this case, *perusal* means you must get up off the floor and stop laughing long enough to actually look at the photos of the awards and read the comments … obviously, GPS did not expect educated and experienced members of the community to point out just HOW those awards were won and who won (or didn’t really win) them.

Hint: pay to play.  Former GPS Finance administrators and Professional Development Departments had this scheme perfected a long time ago. Ditto for GPS lawyers, apparently. Sheeeeeeeesh.

Thus, Silly Jilly stepped in to fill a GPS communications void. That void has existed for about two years, but who’s counting? As you can well imagine, when someone named Silly Jilly steps into anything, the results will not be what she expected. But, man oh man, what blog fodder she creates! We predict a fun-filled summer for all you Westie fans out there.

Let’s peruse Silly Jilly’s silly words about Proposition 123, which is going to Arizona voters on May 17, 2016. There’s a lot of pro and con information out in the blogosphere and in the news, so we’ll just zero in on Silly Jilly’s explanation of why you should vote Yes for Proposition 123: trust the Governing Board to do what’s right.

How the money is spent is left to local control–that means your locally elected school board. That is a plus! Who better to make that decision than locally -elected leaders who know the needs of the district, who can listen to input from the community, and who can be held accountable by voters for their decisions?

Okay, pick yourself up off the floor again and wipe that grin off your face. Silly Jilly was being *serious* in response to comments and questions about why GPS has been silent about how the district will use funds from Proposition 123, if it passes. Some of what Silly Jilly wanted to answer include:

** Other districts are putting the bulk of Prop 123 potential funds into salaries/additional teacher hires. Our board’s been mum.
** If GPS is getting $8 million from Prop 123, why are employees only getting $500?
** How many employees are there in the district? Even if it’s 4,000 that’s only $2 million at $500 per employee, and that’s only if student attendance stabilizes.

Here’s another example of your tax money being frittered away on Silly Jilly’s watch: GPS paid Heinfeld and Meech, the BFF district auditors, $242.76 for “reproduction of CAFR.” In other words, GPS paid more money for making copies of a report that GPS had already paid Heinfeld and Meech a sweet five-figure fee to write; apparently, each member of the governing board, plus some very important members of the GPS administration (we presume) needed a personal paper copy of this basically indecipherable financial report to toss into the *circular file.* In addition, GPS paid Heinfeld and Meech a bunch of money for application fees, for what appear to be MORE awards, which GPS seems to receive each year. AASBO Application Fee, $1,285.00GFOA Application Fee, $725.00.

The GFOA website is all agog over their next conference, which is where public entities like Gilbert Public Schools pay astronomical amounts for what is basically an all-expense paid boondoggle for the same public employees year after year at swanky hotels in various resort locations: 

Don’t delay – register today for GFOA’s 110th Annual Conference! Join thousands of your peers in Toronto for the largest gathering of public finance professionals in North America. The GFOA conference provides a great opportunity to network, attend sessions, visit with exhibitors, and enjoy Toronto.

After a busy couple of days, relax and have fun in downtown Toronto! Enjoy an evening filled with food and entertainment at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts before heading back to your home town. An event headlined by Dennis DeYoung and the music of Styx.*

The AASBO website is dedicated to their upcoming conference, as well, featuring their golf tournament … which we’re sure helps educate students. <snark>  AASBO’s theme of “Release Your Inner Super Hero” sounds like something Silly Jilly thought up. Oh wait, she did, at one point, or she was parroting someone else, but … never mind. AASBO very helpfully wrote down the criteria for awarding the awards the organization invited folks to apply for, including such professional attributes as attend a conference, write an article for our special-interest magazine or take a class. Yeppers, those awards are awesome, aren’t they, Irene?

Answers MIGHT be forthcoming at the GPS work-study session on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Yes, we know it’s difficult for citizens, parents and even teachers to attend this meeting due to rampant scheduling conflicts with other GPS activities, which probably is why the district wrote the agenda to include discussion of Proposition 123 fund spending, hoping for little or no public scrutiny.  Since Christina Kishimoto has been Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools, avoiding public scrutiny has become the primary objective of governance. Take a look at the latest GPS spending plans by clicking here.  As usual, if Proposition 123 passes, Christina Kishimoto wants more people working in the White Castle doing heaven-knows-what with more new software and technology, all at taxpayer expense, while she attends meeting after catered meeting.

Some of the GPS spending that defies logic, but sounds just fine to Silly Jilly Humpherys, is all that catering for the Top Dogs in the district, including the Governing Board, of which Silly Jilly is not only a member, she’s in charge of reviewing GPS expenditures each month. We’ll be reporting at length on some of these expensively catered meals.

We’ll share information about GPS spending as it becomes available. We know you can hardly wait. Especially you teachers … you’re either delighted to be leaving or feeling duped into another year of watching GPS Top Dogs, the superintendent and her board members being gluttons in the Third Circle of Hell.  While teachers still wait to be fairly compensated for their work. And support staffers wait to be paid … literally. Sheeesh. What a district!

*****************
Big Fat Asterisk: Westie adores Styx. Even back in 7th grade, DWestie had no doubt that her classmate Tommy Shaw and his guitar were a phenomenal pair. (Yes, Tommy’s guitar went  to school.) Tommy Shaw is now a Super Hero in Montgomery, Alabama … has the keys to the city, too. For your enjoyment, watch Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd replicate a Styx performance.

*Academy* Has Become a Four-Letter Word in Gilbert Public Schools

Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto, Ed.D.As the unintended wildfires relating to the decision to give Gilbert Classical Academy a new location at the expense of a neighborhood junior high school were being tamped down, the good people of Gilbert, Arizona were told that there will be two new *academies* in the school district. Mesquite Junior High School will become an academy sharing a facility (with multi-million dollar improvements!) with Gilbert Classical Academy, and Gilbert Junior High School also will become an academy of some sort. So sayeth Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, who apparently didn’t completely communicate all of her plans to the GPS Governing Board beforehand. Once again, GPS is reliving the old Cool Hand Luke aphorism, “What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.” Once again, failure to communicate is creating unintended consequences and controversies.

We’ve already shared Christina Kishimoto’s letter – the letter that came out of nowhere stating that Gilbert Junior High School also will become an *academy.* Good people who fought so hard for their schools, Mesquite Junior High School and Gilbert Junior High School, are striving mightily to put lipstick on that pig, but the fact remains: Christina Kishimoto makes plans she doesn’t bother to reveal to her bosses, the elected members of the GPS Governing Board. The community is left wondering who is in charge of Gilbert Public Schools when things like this happen.

For some unfathomable reason, board clerk Jill Humpherys has become the information maven of this latest GPS fiasco. She went to Mesquite Junior High School to lay down the law about the board’s decision to make Mesquite Junior High an academy, with uniforms, capped enrollment and a sports medicine focus.  There was such an uproar from the community that Dan Johnson, the principal of Mesquite Junior High School, sent out a letter to MJHS parents walking back the main contentions. “Never mind,” he says. There won’t be uniforms unless WE want them: “That is not a planned requirement for MJHS…” He went on to say sweet nothings such as the school design won’t be sports medicine; we’ll decide together. No enrollment cap. Collaborate. Yeah, sure. The good people who worked so hard to save their school (and by extension, their neighborhood high school, Mesquite High School, for which MJHS is the only *feeder* school), are not amused. Read on, Dan Johnson: your one-sided *collaboration* on behalf of MJHS already is being dismantled by your BFF, Dan Hood at GCA. (Click here for a larger version of the letter below.)

DanJohnsonEmail29April2016-450

Remember what Westie told you, Mesquite Junior High School parents: GCA wants the whole enchilada. Apparently word came down from on high (GPS Chief of Staff Alexander Nardone, most likely) telling GCA to cool it. We’re sure Nardone’s words were accompanied by a wink, wink, nod, nod.  “Just get us through until summer,” he must have pleaded. “That’s when the board will do all the dirty deeds we have requested … while no one is watching.”

Nardone’s pleas would have fallen on deaf ears, because these GCA parents, administrators, teachers and students suffer from Special Snowflake Syndrome, and they don’t want to play ball unless they can change the rules in the middle of the game. If that brings to mind Christina Kishimoto’s request that the board suspend a regulation because she already violated the reg, the policy and the law, well … GPS history repeats itself at every opportunity for failure.

Special Snowflake Syndrome is a malady wherein the afflicted will demand special treatment, conduct themselves with a ludicrous, unfounded sense of entitlement, and generally make the lives of everyone around them that much more miserable. This condition, if left untreated, can radically alter the carrier’s demeanor, to include any of the following: a complete devolution to child-like behavior, temper tantrums, and/or fits of narcissistic rage.

GCA parents, administrators, teachers and students will not cool their jets or suddenly become reasonable. It’s not in their DNA. Exhibit number one: GCA principal Dan Hood’s follow-on letter to GCA parents about their victory over Mesquite Junior High. Principal Dan’s communication emphasizes, “We are going to do our very best to make sure we are the same school but with a new address.” Yeppers, they’re going to “preserve The GCA Way.”

To hell with all that touchy-feely collaboration!  Dan Hood and his GCA Snowflake NarcissistsBS  already “discussed uniforms for both academies.” Dan Hood told GCA parents the two schools going to *share* certain appealing activities as long as they can *take advantage of them.* Dan Hood also is telling Mesquite Junior High School that he has decreed they will wear uniforms … so his GCA snowflakes feel better about wearing their silly khakis. [It’s a harder sell every year, isn’t it, Dan Hood? Those ridiculous *uniforms* from the 1990s on today’s nerdy kids. Sheeeesh.]

DanHoodfutureofGCA

The reason *academy* is a four-letter word in GPS is because, as Jill Humpherys explained, “The word academy just means a school with less than 1,000 students that has some innovative programming.” If you believe that, Westie has a bridge to sell you.  To understand what is about to happen to Gilbert Public schools, all you have to do is review Christina Kishimoto’s history of *school design.* As Yogi Berra said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

Watch Christina Kishimoto discuss the four schools she *redesigned* in Hartford.  “First, all of the adults in the building leave.” Christina Kishimoto thinks it’s just *uncomfortable.* Notice that she redesigned a school into “Latino Studies Academy.”  It’s worth spending five minutes of your life to see the truth issue forth from Christina Kishimoto’s mouth. Be very afraid, GPS communities. Especially later in the summer when Christina Kishimoto and Her Three Votes think no one will be watching them as they finish dismantling neighborhood schools by *redesigning* them.

Think about what Christina Kishimoto has already done, for example, giving Gilbert Junior High School a new principal before she entered into any communication with the GJHS community. The “To hell with all that touchy-feely collaboration!” attitude starts at the top.  The reality is all buzzwords and made-up metrics: “Ten per cent improvement” means that what got *measured* improved. How it was *measured* is irrelevant. You must accept this as true because Christina Kishimioto said so.

Jill Humpherys thinks it’s all just great. She self-confessed she “doesn’t do numbers very well.” Who needs numbers when you can just make something up as you pull it out of your nether regions? All you folks who are getting recruited by or are applying to GPS for jobs, pay attention! There’s a reason the *mass exodus* of employees continues.


What Gilbert Public Schools Doesn't Want You to Know,
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