Christina Kishimoto’s Legal Problems from Hartford Linger, Two Years Later

Who would have thought that when Gilbert Public Schools hired Christina Kishimoto as superintendent two years ago, her legal problems from her time as superintendent in Hartford, Connecticut would escalate after she fled to Arizona? Reasonable people would believe that those legal problems most likely distract Kishimoto’s attention from educating students here and now. But Kishimoto’s Three Votes don’t care.

There’s legal (actually, criminal) trouble that recently popped up in Hartford, Connecticut, relating to a person Christina Kishimoto had promoted after some major controversy and disciplinary action: 

The mother of a 13-year-old girl who police say received sexual text messages from a longtime Hartford school administrator is suing the school system, top school officials and the city of Hartford over alleged negligence in the case.  A major allegation in the complaint is that the city and the school system allowed Genao, a career educator who worked for the district since 2005, to prey on the girl despite years-old claims that he sent inappropriate electronic messages to a female student and an employee when he was principal of Sport and Medical Sciences Academy. “The city knew or should have known that they had a very dangerous person in their mix,” Spinella said Thursday. “They didn’t red flag him, they promoted him.”

Why does this matter to Gilbert Public Schools, where Christina Kishimoto is superintendent? We’ll keep you posted as more information becomes available, but under Christina Kishimoto’s *leadership,* GPS settled a federal lawsuit filed after a student was raped by a teacher, who also used electronic messages to engage in criminal conduct. Apparently, GPS dug in its legal heels for a long time after THAT rape undeniably occurred. Maybe it’s just that it takes raping a student to get Christina Kishimoto’s attention; you would think this topic is something that citizens of Gilbert, Arizona would care about, especially if they knew about other students being raped in situations where GPS was supposed to protect those student(s). But we digress.

Background of the Hartford criminal issue: 

Former city school official Eduardo “Eddie” Genao, who abruptly resigned last week after being accused of sending inappropriate text messages to a 13-year-old girl, was charged with a felony Wednesday, city police said. Among the records in his personnel file is a written reprimand from January 2008, during his tenure as principal of the magnet school, in which the school system rebuked Genao for using “exceedingly poor judgment in engaging in social interactions with a student electronically.” After the school year ended, Genao became executive director of Hartford’s adult education center in summer 2008, and advanced to several other central office roles over the years.

Why Genao’s arrest is important to citizens in Gilbert, Arizona is that he apparently was an *apple of Christina Kishimoto’s eye* who was promoted way above his level of competency. That brings to mind the circumstances surrounding Kishimioto’s *alleged* inappropriate relationship with Sleazy Steve Smith, whose technology projects are continuing to harm Gilbert Public Schools. But we digress again. It’s important to know that Christina Kishimoto’s successor, Superintendent Beth Narvaez, DEMOTED this guy Genao shortly after Narvaez took over the dysfunctional Hartford school district offices:

Genao became the executive director of the district’s adult education center in July 2008 and advanced to a few other high-level central office jobs in the Hartford school systemIt was during his role as principal of the magnet middle and high school that he was reprimanded for using “exceedingly poor judgment in engaging in social interactions with a student electronically,” according to a January 2008 letter. The reprimand, which does not detail the “inappropriate” communications, stated that Genao was “expected to cease and desist from social exchanges with students, electronically and otherwise. Further, while there is no finding of inappropriate physical contact, we will hold you to your promise to avoid any unnecessary physical contact with students and staff alike.”

Former schools chief Christina Kishimoto promoted him to assistant superintendent of early literacy and parent engagement in 2012. Genao, whose salary this year was $176,274, was demoted to his compliance job in late 2014, several months after Superintendent Beth Schiavino-Narvaez began her tenure. It was unclear Friday evening whether Narvaez was aware of Genao’s reprimand before Hartford police launched its criminal probe earlier this week, executing search warrants and seizing evidence.

GPS employees, your blood will boil when you read about how Hartford administrators, under Christina Kishimoto’s *leadership,* manipulated processes and certification records to achieve a result they couldn’t get through ethical or legal means in order to fire a teacher. Notice this is a teacher; Genao was an administrator. That might have been the consideration when Genao got promoted but the teacher got fired through Kishimoto’s evil and convoluted machinations.

Here’s the story, taken from court filings. We’ll update when new information is available. This will be a NASTY proceeding!

Meyers v Kishimoto, filed JULY 7, 2015. In 2013 Meyers taught physical education  After intervening to prevent a fight between students, the student then punched Meyers numerous times, including in the head, while Meyers tried to restrain and control him.  The student was not injured during the incident. An investigation by the principal, who interviewed students at the scene confirmed that the student was disruptive, violent and that he had assaulted Meyers. Later, an anonymous complaint was filed against Meyers with the State of Connecticut, Department of Families & Children (“DCF”) and an investigation followed. DCF’s investigator made a determination that Meyers had committed “physical abuse” and “neglect” against the disruptive/assaultive student. Following appeal of the DCF Investigator determination, the DCF anonymous complaint against Meyers was dismissed with a finding by DCF’s own adjudication attorney that: “[T]he Department’s decisions are not supported by the record, and are REVERSED.”

Kishimoto and her fellow defendants were aware of the appeal, as well as Meyers’ rights to an unbiased review; Kishimoto and her fellow defendants knew about the lack of evidence to support the DCF’s initial determination that had been overturned. In a letter dated September 12, 2013 Meyers’ union counsel received from Kishimoto notification that termination proceedings were being initiated against Meyers. After Meyers notified Kishimoto and her fellow defendants that he was not subject to termination until a final determination of the DCF investigators “findings” they abandoned that termination proceeding. Knowing that termination of Meyers pursuant to the baseless DCF complaint was closed, Kishimoto and her fellow defendants conspired and worked to terminate Meyers based upon his certification with the Connecticut Department of Education (“CSDE”).

Kishimoto and her fellow defendants bypassed the provisions of law by terminating Meyers’ contract of employment based on the false basis that he was not certified by the CSDE. Kishimoto’s September 19, 2013 letter stated that:

Termination of your employment is under consideration for the following reasons:
1. Insubordination, and/or
2. Moral Misconduct, and/or
3. Other due and sufficient cause.*

Meyers’ union counsel notified Defendants and in particular Kishimoto that they requested a private hearing before an impartial hearing officer. On or about August 26, 2013, Meyers completed and turned in to the State Department of Education a Form ED 179, “Application For Continuation Of Professional Educator Certificate.” On September 11, 2013 Kishimoto, Hodgman or her designee, signed State Department of Education Form ED126 verifying Meyers’ service at Defendants’ schools. The above referenced form, signed September 11, 2013 was not received by the CSDE until more than 45 days later, on October 25, 2013, the day Meyers was terminated for failure to be certified. The lack of Form ED 126 was the basis for the CSDE “notifying” Defendants that his certification application was incomplete. Nonetheless, Meyers’ Professional Educator certification was signed by Department of Education Commissioner and valid with a time period from October 25, 2013 to October 24, 2018. Defendant McCaskill stated to Meyers that the conduct of Kishimoto and her fellow defendants was “retaliation” and “wrong” yet did nothing to abate the denial of Meyers’ rights.

Kishimoto and her fellow defendants knew that the original basis spelled out in Kishimoto’s September 19, 2013 letter for termination was untenable and that termination based upon “expired” certification would not afford Meyers procedural rights that were in progress regarding the September 19, 2013 proceeding. An email to plaintiff from the State of Connecticut, Department of Education, Standards and Certification Department, Education Consultant Robert Szczpanski, dated October 31, 2013 stated:

Dear Mr. Meyers,
Your application for the continuation of the professional educator
certificate was received on October 31, 2013. You are not at risk for a
lapse of certification. Please allow 2-3 weeks from the dated of
submission for an evaluation…

Kishimoto and her fellow defendants falsely and maliciously made material misstatements and omitted material facts from their reports, terminating Meyers under the banner of false and malicious statement about his conduct as a professional teacher. Kishimoto and her fellow defendants failed to have polices and/or procedures in place concerning the certification renewal process. Kishimoto and her fellow defendants knew that their attempt to terminate Meyers for the “abuse” incident was untenable and conspired to terminate Meyers through the certification process, knowing that it would deny him procedural protections.

Kishimoto and her fellow defendants acting within that duty had by various acts of omission and commission fostered and encouraged an atmosphere of lawlessness, repression and a repetitive policy, custom and practice of abusive and discriminatory behavior and procedures toward Meyers which represented the policy, practice, custom, usage and procedure of the City of Hartford. Kishimoto and her subordinates continued against Meyers in furtherance of the practice, custom and procedure of the City of Hartford. Further, Kishimoto and her fellow defendants coerced CSDE certification personnel, by failing to correct and advance documents that would have ensured Meyers’ continued certification. Despite CSDE notifying Kishimoto and her fellow defendants that Meyers’s certification was valid they refused to reinstate him immediately.

Other legal problems have followed Christina Kishimoto to Gilbert, Arizona. One is an injury lawsuit filed in 2014 that reached back to snare Christina Kishimoto about the time she was celebrating  after her 2015 divorce from her mentally disabled husband. Another is an injury lawsuit filed in 2016, in which a student was gravely injured. Apparently, while she was superintendent in Hartford, Christina Kishimoto had a habit of turning a blind eye to serious safety issues. Some call that negligence, as the two active lawsuits in Connecticut allege. Another example:

Some of the older school buildings are in serious need of repair. For example, a section of a ceiling collapsed in a classroom at the McDonough Expeditionary Learning School two weeks ago, sending a student and a teaching intern to the hospital with minor injuries. This could have been a lot more serious, and board members feel Ms. Kishimoto has not been as attentive to the condition of the buildings as they’d like.

Do you notice Kishimoto’s pattern of behavior in these lawsuits? Sheeeesh!

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* Big Fat Asterisk: What a hoot, *due cause*!! Especially considering that Kishimoto’s conduct as superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools includes such moral aberrations as false testimony in court and her *alleged* inappropriate relationship with a subordinate. No wonder Julie Smith wanted the board to discuss the paragraph about dismissal for just cause in Kishimoto’s new contract! Double standards? You bet! But Kishimoto’s Three Votes don’t care. Sheeeeeeeesh.

There’s Still Time to Enroll Your Student! #AnywhereButGPS

It’s almost that time in Arizona: First Day of School coming soon! If you haven’t already enrolled for the 2016-2017 school year, you can be assured of a warm welcome when you do. That’s because Arizona education funding follows the child in a system called Open Enrollment. That also means you are not limited to a school district public school. Arizona education funding also follows students to public charter schools that are free to the student, because those charter schools are supported with tax dollars. There are also private schools. Take your pick!

While other school districts and charter schools are doing their best to connect with students, parents and members of the community, GPS is screwing things up, as usual. The GPS website continues to be *under construction.* It takes an inordinate amount of time to find any information you seek, if it actually exists somewhere on the website. It’s not just information parents need before enrolling their children that’s unavailable; the GPS Electronic Information Services (EIS) are screwy across the board at this very important time for the district.

“So what are GPS administrators doing about this situation?” you ask. The answer is ridiculous, even for the miserable failure of a superintendent whose *bleedership* is killing the district. Proof: the embarrassingly incompetent sycophant of a public relations staffer, Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige, has bestowed on the public another bit of “you can’t make this up” idiocy with her July 2016 *news* article featuring the superintendent, Christina Kishimoto, personally driving a school bus. It must be that Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige is firmly convinced that nothing happens in GPS unless Christina Kishimoto does it personally and Irene takes another absurd photo to prove her devotion. Click the image below for a better view:

GPSnewsJuly2016

While students are abandoning GPS by the thousands, the GPS district offices have become a cult of personality around the superintendent, who single-handedly brought GPS into the 21st century, according to her minions and the news article.  In their eyes, the most important news of the district is that Christina Kishimoto’s 3 year contract was renewed. (BTW, GPS is still refusing to produce a copy of that public record.) Isn’t that all you needed to know about GPS? Bonus points if you noticed that the dress Christina Kishimoto is wearing in the above photo appears to violate the staff dress code in GPS Policy GBEBA-R: “Straps of shirts, tops, and dresses must be at least two inches wide on the shoulder.  Shirts and tops must not be deeply/narrowly cut in the front, back, or under the arms.” But she’s the superintendent and she’s probably trolling for another boyfriend  hot.

Although school districts assume hope you will enroll your child within the boundaries that the district drew, the reality is that you have a choice about where your student will attend school. School districts and charter schools work diligently to attract families and students, so you will find a wide variety of quality offerings that are tuition-free. Since there’s still time to enroll, maybe you should hedge your bets so your students are not ensnared in a chaotic GPS campus. Remember: there are good reasons that so many families are *voting with their feet* and leaving GPS for adjacent school districts and charter schools.

The following list shows some of the scheduled First Days of School in the Gilbert, Arizona vicinity. There’s still time to enroll, but some of the schools may have waiting lists. Don’t delay!

Chandler Public Schools: July 25
Higley Public Schools: July 25
Queen Creek Public Schools: July 26
EduPrize Schools: July 20
Legacy Traditional School Chandler: July 25
Legacy Traditional School Gilbert: July 25
Benjamin Franklin Charter School: July 26
BASIS Chandler: August 3
Great Hearts Academy, Chandler Prep: August 5

While GPS employees have been bailing out by the hundreds (maybe it’s in the thousands now, but GPS doesn’t want the public to know much of anything), the GPS governing board wants you to know that their top priority is student achievement. But it’s not really; that phrase is only lip service. The attributes that made GPS a desirable school district in the past have long been supplanted by incompetent management. GPS hopes that it will be too complicated for you to withdraw your student and enroll your child elsewhere once you discover the *real* GPS. It is no longer the sterling school district it used to be.

Need Special Education services? A long time ago, GPS had the reputation of being the best school district for SpEd. That was then. Now, GPS seems to search out ways to disparage SpEd kids and *incent* their families to take *those kids* anywhere but Gilbert. Not coincidentally, GPS hasn’t been able to find enough SpEd teachers for the past couple of years, according to GPS online job openings lists. Of course, GPS is the district of last resort for teachers seeking employment across the spectrum of jobs, but the deficiencies of SpEd are remarkable, even in this environment.

Want to review a specific GPS school’s website to learn the bell schedule or find out who is the principal? None of those are available from the atrocity that is the GPS *Under Construction* website. Want to get a head start on school supply lists? Too bad. In fairness, GPS does not release elementary classroom assignments until the day or so before *Meet the Teacher Night,* so it’s par for the course that elementary families won’t have that information for a few weeks. Of course, if you’re hoping that your student’s out-of-boundary enrollment application was approved, you’re stuck wondering. Speaking of school boundaries: they’re a real mess, but if you’re a new resident of Gilbert, Arizona, you can’t find out what campus is assigned to your address because the GPS website doesn’t have that information, either.

It’s laughable that GPS admins are so clueless (or they pretend to be) about other deficiencies in district management that have run off hundreds (and perhaps thousands) of GPS employees in the past few years. An example of how easily impressed GPS governing board member Jill Humpherys is: even though citizens, parents and employees condemn the inadequacies of Christina Kishimoto’s superintendency, Silly Jilly’s response was to hold up a b-i-g binder (probably 3 inches thick) as an example of *all that she has accomplished.* It’s hard to be more vacuous than that! [link to the definition of that big word provided for Jill Humpherys’ convenience]

Gilbert Public Schools: a hundred years of tradition unhampered by progress, and now hamstrung by the superintendent who can’t get enough photos of herself taking credit for what other people actually do. Bus driver, my asterisk!

Christina Kishimoto’s Record of Failure in Gilbert Public Schools

The governing board of Gilbert Public Schools evaluated the performance of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto in a super-secret executive session that apparently was held in spite of the fact that board member(s) were absent. We don’t know what really happened in the secret meeting … that secrecy is set out in the superintendent’s 2014 contract because her previous evaluations in Hartford, Connecticut were so abysmal.

This secrecy is nothing new for Gilbert Public Schools: the best we can say about the previous administration is that it was, perhaps, a bit less secretive than Kishimoto’s administration filled with carpetbaggers and scalawagsMany citizens believed then it was an abuse of the public trust to obstruct the ability of the public to know what the public school administration was doing behind closed doors. Oh boy, that was minor league compared to the administration under the *leadership* of Christina Kishimoto now that Her Three Votes sit around with their thumbs …  have given Kishimoto carte blanche to do all kinds of evil deeds in the name of *reforminess.*

Christina Kishimoto has a good life now, and with Her Three Votes locked in, she can do anything she wants to do. That includes spending Million$ of taxpayer dollars on ill-fated *reforms* that blow up in her face. However, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is NOT accountable for those failures … not as long as Her Three Votes run interference for her! All is well and good, until common sense prevails and Christina Kishimoto’s reign comes to an end, as it did in Hartford when her bosses finally realized she was the problem, not the solution:

The failure of the GPS governing board to hold Christina Kishimoto to account for performance has led to stunning failures that cost MILLIONS of dollars and erode public trust. For example:

(1) New Software for Payroll and Human Resources: It’s still not completely functional, and birdies chirp that some employees have not been fully paid. This has been the status quo since January 2016. Birdies chirp that instead of paying employees when GPS knew that paychecks had been shorted, well-meaning folks in HR … er, the Talent Office run by Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner, offered forms to apply to the GPS employee charity known as Reaching Hands for a short-term loan to pay the rent or the mortgage that was endangered because GPS was indifferent to the plight of employees who depend on being paid promptly. We know that GPS, instead of actually PAYING employees whose paychecks were short or non-existent told them to wait for another pay cycle (“We have encountered a glitch…Unfortunately we do not have the resources to personally respond to each email about this matter,” and in the meantime, GPS offered letters to take to their bank begging for forgiveness of overdraft charges. Sheeeeeeesh.

Keyboard: There ought to be a law requiring an employer to pay their employees immediately after they perform their jobs. What’s the point of a regularly scheduled payday if the employer can blow it off?

Westie: Obviously, the GPS Top Dogs with their six figure salaries don’t know what it’s like to live from paycheck to paycheck.

(2) Massive Turnover in Key Departments: This is related to #1 above. Birdies chirp that the employee turnover rate in Business Services Department is more than 70% for the past year. Some of this turnover is self-inflicted; under Christina Kishimoto’s *leadership,* a large percentage of long-time employees in various departments in the GPS district offices in the White Castle was cast out. Employees were sent to various locations around the district for a  one-year position. The day of reckoning arrived as the 2015-2016 school year ended, and experienced employees found themselves without jobs. That was the purpose of the turmoil. And turmoil it has been! Just about every function that has contact with *lesser* employees, such as teachers and support staff, has been plagued with incompetency. That bright shiny new technology isn’t working very well on its own. And the remaining human interface is obviously inadequate, even though Kishimoto thinks “they have done an amazing job working through the glitches.”

(3) New Chromebooks for junior high school students. This fiasco became The Worst Technology Rollout EVER! under the *leadership* of Superintendent Christina Kishimoto … what we didn’t know at the time was that her *alleged* inappropriate relationship with her subordinate Charles Stevin Smith, the Director of Technology must have blinded Kishimoto to what was really happening with Chromebooks. Bottom line: birdies chirp the damage level is something like 70% of all the Chromebooks that were issued to junior high school students. Who could have known those kids would be so irresponsible with those freebie 1:1 devices? R-i-g-h-t. <dripping sarcasm>

(4) “Seat of the pants” management and uninformed board decisions.  Time and again, Christina Kishimoto told the board to vote for what she wanted, and she refused to provide *dater* backing up her recommendations. When pressed by the public, and especially when the public provided available data that Christina Kishimoto didn’t like, she back-pedaled and rationalized and promised to seek more information … which was never forthcoming. For example, the board is absolutely convinced that charter schools are *stealing* GPS students by the thousands … based on exactly no information. That’s because the GPS administration doesn’t give a flying flip about those student losses. They’re just adding more, more and more administration positions at the White Castle of Doom. How hard would it be to simply ASK families why they leave the district? Answer: it wouldn’t be hard, but Kishimoto’s administration doesn’t even bother. In that environment, why would families that reject GPS bother to explain? It would be a waste of time. And so here we are, watching the GPS governing board follow the Ready – Fire -Aim model of management. Sheeeeesh.

Watch as board member Daryl Colvin explains about Kishimoto’s self-fulfilling prophecy of student losses, based on refusal to acknowledge the facts in front of the GPS administration and governing board:

Perhaps the biggest loss in all this is the loss of public trust and public respect … which leads to more losses of students and teachers and staff. The public, especially citizens who formerly applauded board members for showing up and backed whatever the superintendent wanted, have awakened. They rate Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s performance as failing.

It seems that just about everyone in Gilbert, Arizona has become accustomed to Lies Christina Kishimoto Tells. Concerned residents realize that the GPS governing board is too dysfunctional to do anything about it.  Legal problems mount, with exponentially exploding legal fees. But, hey, those legal fees go to some of the superintendent’s and the board’s best buddies in town, so it’s all good. <wink, wink>

The Greedy Million Dollar Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools

Superintendent Christina M. Kishimoto is a Million Dollar Superintendent! “How did she achieve this awesome title?” you wonder. Simple: ANOTHER 3-2 vote, wherein Her Three Votes gave her 100% across-the-board marks on a super-secret evaluation that occurs behind closed doors as part of her three year superintendent contract of 2014.

On June 28, 2016, Her Three Votes on the Gilbert Public Schools governing board gave Superintendent Christina Kishimoto ANOTHER three year contract. Each year, Kishimoto is paid more than $200,000 for doing heaven knows what … it’s so super secret they’d have to kill you if they told you.  

Let’s take a look at how the 3-2 vote (the norm for GPS for the past several years) made Christina Kishimoto a millionaire, if she wasn’t already a millionaire by virtue of her time in Hartford, Connecticut. Those years in Hartford were controversial, just like the past two years that Kishimoto has spent in Gilbert, Arizona.*  Funny thing, though, Christina Kishimoto took quite a pay cut when she moved to Gilbert, Arizona; her successor in Hartford received a higher initial salary and then was rewarded with a pay raise after her first year as superintendent. Hartford was really, really glad to get rid of Kishimoto, as their reaction to their new superintendent showed:

The Hartford Board gave new Superintendent Beth Narvaez a great evaluation, but they still bash Christina Kishimoto for the harm she did to that school district. We’re already seeing the same old stuff here in Gilbert: more district administrators, less communication with parents and an incredible level of arrogance in general.
***************

“Beth [Narvaez] came into an organization with little appetite or capacity for real community engagement, as well as a very top-down and opaque method of dealing with parents and community stakeholders,” stated the board, which often faulted the administration under former Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. On Tuesday night, the board spent 2 1/2 hours in a private meeting to discuss her job performance and later voted to tack on an extra year to her original three-year contract with annual 3 percent raises. Narvaez, whose salary is $257,500, said later that the board was being “really thoughtful.”

Why in the world would Kishimoto’s pet board members decide to give her another contract a full year before the existing contract ends? Because Christina Kishimoto told them to. First, Her Three Votes gave Kishimoto grades of 100% across the board so she could collect five figures of so-called *performance pay.* That *evaluation* was done in secret; the public knows only because the controversial maneuver was discussed during the board meeting. Then Kishimoto’s Three Votes decided to give her a NEW contract.

We don’t know what’s in the contract because it was not made public. We won’t know for a long, long time what’s in the contract, because GPS hasn’t even acknowledged Westie’s request to review, let alone copy, that public record. All we can infer is that Kishimoto’s salary of more than $200,000.00 continues, based on president Tram’s comments during the meeting.

Board member Julie Smith explains how this new contract came about: Kishimoto told the board on Monday that she wanted this contract approved on Tuesday night. Christina Kishimoto dictated the terms. Julie Smith tried to table the agenda item so the board could discuss certain terms of the dictated contract, but alas, that failed on a typical 3-2 vote. Watch as Julie Smith describes what actually happened about Kishimoto’s new contract:

As board member Daryl Colvin pointed out the hypocrisy of giving Christina Kishimoto ANOTHER three year contract when all other employees are offered only single year contracts, Christina Kishimoto smirked and nodded. Watch her smirking face. Applaud Daryl Colvin for NOT saying “Some pigs are more equal…”  He has more self-restraint than Westie’s Keyboard!

In addition to these stupendously stupid *reforms* imposed on a once highly rated school district, Christina Kishimoto’s emotional outburst, in public, during a video archived school board meeting shows just how unsuited she is for the job she will hold until June 2019.

This occurred BEFORE the public discovered her *alleged* inappropriate relationship with her subordinate became public knowledge. No wonder Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is the subject (you could say, The Butt) of snickers, laughter, finger pointing and all sorts of disrespectful behavior. And that’s from her own staff. Heaven knows what other school districts and their top level leaders say and do in private when Christina Kishimoto’s name comes up in conversation!

The amount of stupidity going on in Gilbert Public Schools keeps Westie busy. Keep sending your chirps, beloved birdies!

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*Big Fat Asterisk: When Christina Kishimoto asked to have her Hartford contract renewed, the Hartford Board of Education said, “No.” The vote was 7-0 to NOT RENEW her contract. Maybe this had something to do with the fact that Christina Kishimoto’s evaluation was so bad, she was rated at 56%. … so she demanded 56% of the performance bonus! <banging head on desk>

Her total evaluation rating was a disastrous 56 percent and the Board of Education announced that no performance bonus was in order, although [Kishimoto’s] salary for this year had already been raised from $205,000 to $231,000.

But last week, despite her unsatisfactory performance evaluation, Kishimoto’s lawyers wrote a letter to the Hartford Board of Education demanding that she be given $15,450 in bonus compensation.  According to her attorneys, when the percentages were calculated, the Superintendent deserved $6,180 of $12,000 for the qualitative measures and $9,270 of $18,000 for the quantitative factors. In response, the Chairman of the Hartford Board of Education reported that the board was “incredulous” that Kishimoto thought she deserved a bonus, considering she had already received a pay raise and her evaluation was so poor.

There’s more: Christina Kishimoto did not like that her bosses rated her so low; Kishimoto sent a nasty letter to the Hartford Board of Education complaining about it. 

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto issued a statement Thursday disagreeing with the school board’s performance evaluation that criticized her for issues ranging from poor communication to minimal student progress.  “I do not find it to be an accurate reflection of the work done under my leadership,” Kishimoto wrote in a letter addressed to board Chairman Matthew Poland and released publicly through her lawyer.

Pretty dumb@$$ thing for a self-styled *professional* to do, right? But there’s more: 

“We can’t continue with this dysfunctional dynamic because now it has hurt the kids,” Wareing said. “The superintendent needs to ask herself whether she wishes to continue to treat this board as an unpleasant necessity or as a true partner in the work of reform. And we must ask ourselves whether she is the right person with whom to entrust the education of more than 20,000 kids.”

Kishimoto later called Wareing’s comments “inappropriate.” Poland, however, also suggested that the board has reached a crisis point in its partnership with the superintendent.

Kishimoto’s complaints against her bosses went over well. <sarcasm>  So well that Kishimoto was run out of Hartford before her contract expired  hired to run Gilbert Public Schools by a 3-2 vote. Thus Christina 7-0 Kishimoto became Christina 3-2 Kishimoto. Obviously, she can’t get along with more than three people at a time. Cue Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

GPS Claims to be *The Technology District* … by Standards of 20 Years Ago

Under the heading of *You Can’t Make This Up,* we present to you The New and Improved GPS Website. Click the link and take a look. If your reaction is simply, “OMG!” you’re right on target. You would think that the Arizona public school district claiming to be all things *Technology* and *Innovation* would have a state-of-the-art website to showcase the aforesaid technology and innovation. What Gilbert Public Schools has done is throw up a draft website that appears to use software, processes and techniques from 1996, when Al Gore discovered the Internet. 

You can’t make up something so stupid as launching a new website that totally destroys all functionality of the previous ugly-as-sin-but-serviceable-if-you-work-at-it institutional website of the school district run by Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, queen of self-promotion and negligible accomplishment:

* A sign posted, “Under Construction?” Check. Fortunately, there’s no animated gif, circa 1996.
* Deplorably amateur formatting? Yep, free software like WordPress is so much better, but GPS apparently has money to burn for technology!
Failing to preserve URLs from the previous website? Check. That’s why *404 – File Not Found* was invented.
* Failing to ensure cross-browser compatibility? Yep, completely different website appearance in Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox, but they’re all as unattractive as a gargoyle.
* Non-existent website architecture? Yep, but the chosen vendor likely can’t fix GPS stupidity. Or arrogance.
* A punchout list that most likely will never be complete? Of course! This atrocity of a website will never look professional or function properly.

There’s no excuse for this GPS website. Professionals don’t launch a website until it has been fully developed in the background, where it’s not available to the public, but where all functionality can be tested in private before the website goes public. All internal and external links should be operable. Formatting should be consistent, with bonus points for a webpage that is attractive to the eye. Website architecture should be intuitive, so visitors easily can find the information they seek. It’s not difficult. Most website elements can be checked by software. Design and architecture usually require human eyes and some amount of intelligence, but GPS apparently did not understand this concept. Sheeeesh.

It’s simply inconceivable that GPS, the *technology and innovation district,* threw up a seriously bad draft website. That’s just not done in this day and age. You would expect the *award-winning,* highly paid GPS Director of Communications to know these things; Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige apparently is totally inept in everything she touches. The ridiculous GPS website draft was created by a full time *webmaster,* also on the GPS payroll, who wrote an explanation of this boondoggle to GPS staff:

The Phase One cut over for our new website was successfully executed on Friday, July 1st. Today and over the next two weeks, School Messenger will continue to code our sites and I am approving and testing pages behind them.

What about training? Training sessions are currently being planned for various user groups. Please stay tuned for more information on training. Irene and I are in the midst of creating a “What’s New” on our site that will be posted on the front page of the District site.

Words of advice? While our new site will be much more user friendly, there may be some things that take time to familiarize yourselves with. School Messenger has done an excellent job working with us throughout migration and design and while we do not anticipate significant loss of any content, we ask your patience in the event that functionality or something is not where it is expected to be.

If you happened to click on the School Messenger link, you found a website that’s just as ugly as the GPS draft website. There are a bunch of templates, but GPS seems to be in love with its ridiculously amateur logo and eschews templates. Maybe the GPS *webmaster* doesn’t know what “template” means. Or how to use one. The folks at School Messenger should be embarrassed by all this; or maybe they just took the money and ran.

Why does it matter that the new GPS website is so screwed up? Beyond the stupidity of launching a draft website using technology and processes that are 20 years old, and being held up to public ridicule for outrageous and unsubstantiated claims of *Technology, Scholarship, Innovation* that GPS just irrefutably proved a lie, there are some important consequences that will inevitably cost taxpayers a lot of money.

First, it’s time to enroll students in school. Without a decent website, there is no way to communicate to the public such details as where, when and how to enroll new students in Gilbert Public Schools. Other school districts and charter schools would never do anything this stupid, but those folks stand around and laugh at GPS for this embarrassing idiocy and other debacles that are the norm in this district since Christina Kishimoto took the helm.

Second, parents who were on the fence about continuing in GPS, especially after self-inflicted injuries from attempting to close a junior high school in recent months, aren’t willing to trust the district as far as they can throw it. Since kids spend only two very important years in junior high school, parents are smart to vote with their feet. Gilbert is an affluent town, and many residents have the luxury of school choice. That choice isn’t GPS, and it never will be, not with the way that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and Her Three Votes are demolishing a formerly “A” rated school district.

The much hoped-for new, out of district students that Gilbert Classical Academy is supposed to attract won’t come close to balancing the losses of students attributable to the insanity of closing a school without a plan for what’s next. In fact, birdies are chirping that GCA construction plans are already off the rails, such that GCA is facing an additional year before their move to a new campus will be complete. In the meantime, students and families who are being displaced are walking away or planning on doing so. No amount of persuasion can make up for the outrageous concessions that GCA folks are demanding from the former Mesquite Junior High School community. Apparently, no amount of money is going to give those GCA loudmouths everything they demand for their precious snowflakes, but the GPS Governing Board will try anyway.

Asinine public comments prove that the GPS administration has no idea WHY the district lost thousands of students in recent years, and the GPS governing board seemingly has no curiosity about those losses. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s Three Votes continually wail about the resultant loss of money from the state and endlessly proclaim that there’s not enough money to run the district. They throw money at technology, but there has yet to be a successful technology initiative in GPS.

Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* inappropriate relationship with her technology subordinate apparently blinded her to a multitude of technology failures. We don’t have high hopes now … the new technology dude allowed this shameful website to go public at a most inopportune moment. We won’t bother asking about HIS fringe benefits with his boss … not yet.

Does anyone in the GPS administration have any pride or professionalism? 

Below are some screenshots showing just how bad the GPS draft website is. the only thing one can think: FAIL!

 

GPS-GCAunderconstructionJuly16 GPSbookmarksJuly16 GPSmarketingJuly16
GPScabinetJuly16 GPSwebsiteJuly16 Click any of these
screenshots to enlarge.

 

Sheeeesh.

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 so giddy with excitement at the prospect, they gave her two more years on her superintendent contract [reactions: disbelief, disgust, _fill in the blank_].

The potential for abuse of power by these *public servants* is more frightening than ever before. 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 [update: maybe it will be $750] 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!

***************
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. 

******************
*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.


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