GPS Governing Board Doesn’t Need Data! They Just Do As They’re Told

Gilbert Public Schools is going to *repurpose* a junior high school to give Gilbert Classical Academy a new home. You would think that this upcoming decision would be *data-driven,* since Superintendent Christina Kishimoto defines herself as all about technology and data for what she calls “A district of choice.” You would be wrong. Christina Kishimoto is going balls-to-the-wall and Her Three Votes on the Governing Board will do whatever she already told them to do. You would think that these clowns would have some fancy data and technology as window-dressing  for what will be one of the stupidest unnecessary decisions in the history of Gilbert Public Schools, negatively affecting 14,259 students and their families. Again, you would be wrong. 

Closing  a junior high school in GPS is a knee-jerk reaction to an imaginary problem. Why? Because the numbers show the situation is the exact opposite of what the superintendent and the governing board have been saying in public. A demographic study commissioned by Christina Kishimoto and paid for with your taxpayer dollars* shows, “Enrollment at the elementary level is expected to continue to decline, while gains are likely at the middle school and high school levels.


According to this forecast, enrollment numbers for Gilbert Junior High are not down; they are projecting 41% growth. This is in direct conflict with what the community has been told: that either Gilbert Junior High or Mesquite Junior High must be sacrificed to GCA because of declining enrollment. It’s simply not true. Most GPS taxpayers think it would be foolish at this time to repurpose anything, especially seeing as how students in new communities on the far eastern boundaries are choosing to attend Queen Creek School District schools and bright shiny new charter schools.

Birdies chirp that that federal funds for busing allow GPS to make money transporting kids needlessly across ancient boundaries that have created school population imbalances. If that is true, according to the junior high school boundary map, it makes sense why a kid who lives on Lindsay and Baseline would be bused 12 miles to Highland Junior High School (round trip) every day. And a kid who lives 3/4 of a mile from Highland Junior High is bused 7 miles (round trip) to Greenfield Junior High School. Plus, there’s the repugnant situation that GPS has allowed: labeling Gilbert Junior High School *The Ghetto School* because of its large population of Hispanic students.

For the record, there is massive growth in the Desert Ridge area, around 800 new homes being built. Desert Ridge Junior High numbers are down because almost all kids in the neighborhood across the street from Highland Junior High go there instead of following the district junior high school boundary map, which would have those students bused 4 miles east to Desert Ridge Junior High.

What we are witnessing is GPS pitting neighborhood against neighborhood, parents against parents in a lose-lose situation that will negatively affect every junior high school in the district. Supposedly, there will be some kind of a *forum* to allow the GPS Governing Board to listen to the community before they  make the decision Christina Kishimoto has already told them they will make. That *forum* must be the window-dressing strategy the GPS superintendency came up with for this *repurposing* gimmick. An hour in a high school gym should be sufficient, right? <sarcasm with a splash of ridicule> Everyone knows that school districts in Arizona don’t *close* schools, they *repurpose* them.

The remaining GPS junior high schools will be filled to the brim and bulging at the seams, while the 1% of GPS students at GCA enjoy all kinds of fancy new benefits the original *vision* for the school did not include. Have you noticed that GPS has conveniently *forgotten* to tell affected GPS employees that they will not lose their jobs over this *repurposing* decision? It’s obvious that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto wants to bind hapless employees to contracts with meager benefits but iron-clad handcuffs before they are told any answers to serious questions about their continued employment.

The die will be cast in a vote scheduled for the end of March 2016, while in the meantime, the GPS superintendency and governing board act like aristocratic Romans at the Coliseum, watching gladiators fight to the death for their amusement. Unlike those Romans of old, they won’t be saluting “You who are about to die.” They’re in a rush to line the pockets of their favorite vendors and campaign contributors as they chow down on lavishly catered meals … all financed by taxpayer dollars. And they wonder why GPS is bleeding students!

That self-same demographic report states, “Over 11,300 students attend charter schools inside the District, increasing by 3,900 students over last five years.” Bleeding is perhaps not the best word: hemorrhaging is more appropriate in this case, because GPS also lost 2,000 students that are not counted in that 2015 demographic report. Apparently, the GPS superintendency and governing board have not noticed that Chandler School District and Queen Creek School District increased by the same number, 2,000 students, while GPS declined. Plus, GPS stands to lose $3,320,393 in state funds because of declining enrollment, according to a new state funding model under consideration.

Here’s the most recent report on the costs of  options for giving Gilbert Classical Academy a new home. Repurposing Gilbert Junior High School will cost TWICE AS MUCH ($1-2 Million) as repurposing Mesquite Junior High School ($500K-$1 Million). The School Within a School model is much more expensive at $4-6 Million. They’re planning to complete all three of the options for the 2017-2018 school year, but they’re falling all over themselves to make their decision and get those construction contracts issued! And you thought that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s power grab for unfettered contracting authority was just an academic exercise in standardizing GPS policies…sure it’s all for the kids <the bucket of slimy sarcasm is overflowing!>.


The drip, drip, drip about Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* inappropriate relationship with her former Executive Director of Technology, Charles Stevin Smith infects this ridiculous recommendation to close a GPS junior high school. Steve Smith, a former GCA parent, was assigned to the committee charged with finding a new campus for GCA. There was not a single parent from Gilbert Junior High School or Mesquite Junior High School on the committee. It was all about giving Christina Kishimoto the predetermined outcome she wanted … and Steve Smith appears to have delivered again for his *alleged* girlfriend before he bugged out of GPS in disgrace.

We’ll post next week about how a very important teacher at Gilbert Classical Academy demands  wants a new campus without strings attached — GCA does NOT want to grow, GCA wants to stay small and enjoy the rarefied world enjoyed at the expense of the 99% of GPS students.  You know you can hardly wait! #SAVEGJHS

Big Fat Asterisk:  A snip of a Green Bar Report showing GPS paid $15,405.00 to Applied Economics for the demographic report that shows Christina Kishimioto and Her Three Votes on the GPS Governing Board are making sh*t up as they go along. It’s The Gilbert Way.



GPS Talent Management: The Boss Isn’t That Into You, Senior Teachers

Gilbert Public Schools will give teachers another piddly raise – up to 7% for a select few – and will continue to lavish money on those oh-so-amazing inhabitants of the White Castle, where the district offices are located. No one is quite sure about the details of these raises, but Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her Top Dogs made sure the audience was filled with *friendly* (to her) principals who applauded on cue after the GPS Governing Board approved meager raises, contracts with handcuffs, a half-finished handbook and countless other tools that Christina Kishimoto needs to finish driving GPS into the ground  achieve her vision for her national reputation.

The Chief Talent Officer, who has earned her moniker *Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner* has proven time and again that she doesn’t understand her workforce.  She wonders why there’s been such an exodus from GPS. How big an exodus on her watch (which also happens to be Christina Kishimoto’s watch)? Really big, according to a memo that the Superintendent wrote to the Governing Board:

The majority of the resignations are in the one to five year range. The most critical capacity to retain is in the six to ten year range, and the good news is that right now we are stable there. Yet, there is a significant cost to losing teachers in years one to five in our early investments in mentoring and training. As we look at retention strategies, we will want to look at the pay scale for years six to ten teachers to remain competitive with peer districts.

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%

Birdies chirped that Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner herself called a meeting with those mid-range teachers not too long ago. Her schtick was basically this: “We haven’t figured out a lot of stuff about new contracts, salaries and employee handbooks, but we really want you to be going out and recruiting new teachers for GPS. Hey, that’s going to be the new critieria for being named a Master Teacher and getting more money in your paycheck! What a great idea I just had!” You heard it here first, teachers: recruit some naive teachers to GPS and maybe you can make more money! You sure are not going to be rewarded for your professional accomplishments … the inhabitants of the White Castle can’t hold a candle to you.

That about sums up Slimebucket Suzanne Zentner’s talent management, doesn’t it? We heard that the meeting devolved into quite the b*tch session when teachers told Slimebucket what they REALLY thought. Birdies now chirp that Slimebucket is calling a meeting of the Millennial teachers (that’s the young ones, in the 1-5 year range) to find out what it will take to get them to stay with GPS.

Here’s an idea, Slimebucket: your *voluntary* meetings at the end of a long day spent on your feet in front of students are not very enticing to your target audience. Even if you serve refreshments, like GPS Top Dogs are now doing any time they call a meeting. Wait … this will be for young teachers, maybe they’re not *special* enough for the lavish catering that members of the superintendency, principals and board members now enjoy.* Anyway, you are aware that many of your Millennial teachers can’t afford to live anywhere near where they work, aren’t you? Housing is expensive in The Town of Gilbert, especially for recent college graduates who have crushing student loan debts. Spending an extra couple of hours in your exalted presence isn’t worth the time when you’re looking at a long commute after a long, hard day.

Up there in your White Castle, where you Top Dogs are always talking about how gosh-darn HARD you work, you have no idea what it’s really like on the front lines of education every day … in the classroom. Perhaps because you don’t know much about what goes on in a classroom. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto can’t get an Arizona Superintendent’s license because she has never taught in K-12 classrooms she now lords over superintends … she only talks the talk; she’s never walked the walk.

The following are real questions asked by a real teacher. What are the chances that she will receive *real* answers from the Superintendent or the Chief Talent Officer? What are the chances she’ll receive any answers? Nada, nil, none. Those exalted inhabitants of the White Castle are NOT going to talk about the sweetheart deals Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* boyfriend received while loyal teachers struggled in their classrooms. Note to GOBs: this scandal is not going to fade away.

1)  If override money is not available until after July 1st, how is it that Mr. Charles Stevin Smith was able to receive his  $10,000 raise?

2)  Where did the funds come from to pay Mr. Smith the $10,000?

3)  Mr. Smith officially resigned on January 22nd, is his salary going to be placed back into the M.O.?

4)  The $2,500 received from Mr. Smith for breaking his contract, will it be placed back into the M.O. fund?

5)  On the agenda (1-26-16), there was a new teacher hire by the name of Kristin McCord.  Ms. McCord will be making $60,000.00/year  with a Master’s +60.  The position posted was “TBD.”  I have a Master’s +72 and make considerably less!  Why is she being paid so much more for a position that is TBD????

5a)  How is it that Ms. McCord’s salary has already been determined now?

6)  Will administrators who do not have their doctoral degrees (Example: Linda McKeever, Jason Martin) be required return to college and get their degrees in order to receive their future raises?  The positions they hold require they have doctoral degrees.

7)  Why did “some” employees receive promotions and raises now, while others have not?

8)  Why did “some” employees NOT have to wait until after July 1, 2016 to receive their promotions and raises, and teachers do?

9)  My understanding is the 7% raise was “our reward” for staying loyal and dedicated.  So, now you are telling me this 7% raise includes a salary increase for the 2016-2017 school year?  Please clarify and explain.

So, you teachers who have 10 or more years working for GPS and resign from the district at the rate of 19.50%, this is why Superintendent Christina Kishimoto isn’t that in to you. You just aren’t important to her. She can prop up those experience levels by hiring more retired teachers on SmartSchoolsPlus to offset the growing number of new, inexperienced teachers in GPS and still post decent experience statistics. We already showed you that SmartSchools Plus teachers have been receiving generous stipends for longevity and “H” (whatever that is, it’s for them but not for you loyal teachers).

A movie script has a special message for loyal GPS teachers who stayed the course during the Great Recession and received only disrespect in return:

Sometimes we’re so focused on finding our happy ending we don’t learn how to read the signs. How to tell the ones who want us from the ones who don’t, the ones who will stay and the ones who will leave. And maybe a happy ending is you, on your own, picking up the pieces and starting over, freeing yourself up for something better in the future. Maybe the happy ending is just moving on.

Memo to Slimebuck Suzanne Zentner: One way to increase retention of new graduates is closer supervision of those male principals (especially the ones who haven’t been in the district very long) who can’t keep their hands away from their zippers  off pretty young teachers. We realize there could be some handsome young new graduates as well, but we’re not hearing that female principals are hitting on guys. Just sayin…

*Big Fat Asterisk:  We know that GPS spent $988.68 at JOE’S REAL BBQ for “Non-Curricular Food for Staff Meeting at District Office, December 17th for all District Office Staff.”  We also know you added $68.91 for “Non-Curricular Food – Additional side order for District Office Staff Meeting , Dec 18, 2015.”  Plus, we know about “BPO-Miscellaneous Catering Services needed for Superintendency and Governing Board, $993.50” and  “Catering of food for Board Mtgs: Policy Committee Mtg. Meetings held once a month in 1st floor conference room 2015-2016, $360.00.” We’ll talk more about these expenditures later.

Details about the Michael and Christina Kishimoto Divorce

Here you go, beloved audience! We saw on our website statistics that you have been searching for *details about the Michael and Christina Kishimoto Divorce.* We’ll fill in some blanks for you about how the Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools kicked her mentally disabled husband to the curb less than a year after she moved her family from Connecticut to Arizona to reign over GPS. It has indeed been a *reign* but more filled with terror than benevolence, unfortunately for the citizens and taxpayers who fund Christina Kishimoto’s lavishness with other people’s money.

Quick background: a letter from an anonymous teacher blew open the scandalous *inappropriate relationship* between Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her *alleged* boyfriend, the Executive Director of Technology. The letter shows that GPS employees are still intimidated by retaliation, which has been the story for the past many years.  Charles Stevin Smith was hired at the recommendation of Christina Kishimoto even before she came to Arizona to take over the school district. While other employees were subjected to years of pay freezes, this dude made out pretty well: the letter states he was given a promotion and a $10,000.00 raise during his approximately 18 months of *serving the Superintendent.* We have not seen or heard the Superintendent deny anything in the anonymous letter. Steve Smith resigned from his cushy job two days after the anonymous letter was made public, which lends more credibility to the allegations in the letter than anything else could have done.

Nevertheless, a question remains unanswered: why did Charles Stevin Smith, Executive Director of Technology, resign suddenly? Was it because of the anonymous letter that revealed Steve Smith’s *inappropriate relations* with Superintendent Christina Kishimoto? Was it because Steve Smith pinky promised his *alleged* girlfriend that his technology would succeed and cement her National Reputation and the district’s big marketing push? Or was it because pretty much everything he touched turned to dirt? Steve Smith’s resignation occurred just as The Great Payday Melee began, leaving other employees holding the bag. His sudden departure just as the new payroll software implementation imploded left countless employees unpaid, underpaid and/or subject to bank overdraft charges.  That mess still isn’t fixed.

Details in the anonymous letter checked out: the marriage of Michael and Christina Kishimoto indeed was ended quietly in court in Scottsdale, with a construction lawyer handling the case for Christina Kishimoto. Since this is all a matter of public record, we’ll share. The Kishimotos have one daughter, according to the court files … she must be so proud to have her mother’s indiscretions being discussed across The Entire Town of Gilbert. Michael did not have a lawyer. Michael may have paid a big price for doing what Christina may have told him to do. That’s probably the way it is when you have a mental disability, which we know about only because Christina Kishimoto brought it up in a different court in January 2015.

First: here is the case summary from the Maricopa Court where Christina Kishimoto divorced her mentally disabled husband. This man must have trusted her implicitly for close to twenty years, but he suddenly became superfluous. As the anonymous letter said, “Dr. Kishimoto quietly secured a divorce over the summer.” Note the date that Christina Kishimoto filed her petition for divorce: May 5, 2015.  Also note: no divorce lawyers for this chica, she had a *special* construction/real estate lawyer! No courthouse anywhere near Gilbert, AZ for this chica, she went to Scottsdale to do the dirty deed!

Could this emotional divorce situation have anything to do with Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s emotional meltdown during the December 15, 2015 Governing Board meeting? Probably not, but it’s strange that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto also thanked the community for welcoming *her family* to the Town of Gilbert, AZ. This is one temperamental gal, which is unfortunate, because this very large school district needs a real professional at the helm. <Sigh, you could have had Westie as superintendent.>

Second: the lawyer behind Christina Kishimoto’s quiet divorce is attorney Richard W. Hundley of a Scottsdale law firm, which is curious in this situation of a divorce involving a child and a lot of money and property: 

Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein, PLC is a “boutique” law firm that provides exceptional legal services to real estate and business clients. Richard W. Hundley’s practice includes civil and commercial litigation, construction law, bankruptcy law, real property litigation and transactions.

Wouldn’t you think that an important lawyer would want to make sure that the divorce he secured for his client did not take advantage of Christina Kishimoto’s mentally disabled husband? Yeah, we’re shocked, too. The court record shows Michael Kishimoto did not have a lawyer, he just signed papers. Maybe he thought that lawyer Richard W. Hundley was representing BOTH of them in this divorce.

We can’t for the life of us figure out why the judge in this case didn’t appoint an attorney to represent the mentally disabled husband in court, since his wealthy wife apparently wouldn’t pay for a lawyer for him. Christina Kishimoto sure didn’t want to pay spousal support for her mentally disabled husband, either (see paragraph 12). But really, someone who is entrusted with a school district budget of a third of a BILLION dollars a year would be mindful of her ethical and moral obligations in every aspect of her life, wouldn’t you think? [dripping sarcasm]

Third: notice that the Consent Decree ending the marriage of Michael and Christina Kishimoto was filed on July 30, 2015. On or about July 31, 2015, Steve Smith started using the title Executive Director of Technology. He had been just plain old Director of Technology before, even after the reorganization of the GPS Technology Services department occurred in January of 2015.  That reorganization was one of the few aspects of the Great Reorganization of GPS that the Governing Board actually approved.

Sure it was just a coincidence that the day after Christina Kishimoto’s Consent Decree was filed, Charles Stevin Smith suddenly was conferred a new title, and presumably a big raise in pay to match [firehose flow of sarcasm]. Wouldn’t you know it, there’s nothing in the GPS board minutes approving that new title of his? It’s especially interesting since other GPS employees promoted into or hired as Executive Directors were presented to the board and their promotion or hire was formally approved in official board minutes.

Steve Smith must have been very good at what he did: his Linkedin resume claims he was originally hired in 2014 as Executive Director, a Cabinet Position. Revisionist history? Or was this entire situation set in motion the day that Christina Kishimoto recommended that Steve Smith be hired back in June 2014?

This must be why people are searching the Internet for details about the divorce of Michael and Christina Kishimoto. Something doesn’t smell right. We’ll continue researching, and we thank our viewers for sending us the search strings that told Westie what you really want to know.

Big Fat Asterisk: Superintendent Christina Kishimoto surely is aware of the caveat about privacy on attorney Richard W. Hundley’s law firm website. It’s scary and it makes you wonder if attorney Richard W. Hundley’s *vision* of privacy is as unusual as were his failure to act to protect a vulnerable adult during the Kishimoto divorce:

There are other instances in which Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein, PLC may divulge your personal information. Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein, PLC may provide your personal information if necessary, in Berens, Kozub, Kloberdanz & Blonstein, PLC’s good faith judgment, to comply with laws or regulations of a governmental or regulatory body or in response to a valid subpoena, warrant, or in order to protect the rights of Berens, Kozub & Kloberdanz, PLC and, or its affiliates.

Public Comments: Christina Kishimoto’s *Alleged* Inappropriate Relationship

People in The Town of Gilbert Arizona are asking a lot of questions about Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* improper relationship with her subordinate, the Executive Director of Technology, Charles Stevin “Steve” Smith. When the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board meeting on January 26, 2016 was opened to comments from the public, the public spoke out loud and clear on many subjects, including this scandalous subject.

GPS has breached the public trust in ways large and small. This is really brilliant of the GPS Superintendent and Governing Board, especially coming on the heels of new taxes that citizens narrowly approved for their school district <dripping sarcasm>. The money isn’t reaching the kids. In fact, you seldom hear anything much about the kids these days in the hallowed halls of the White Castle, where the district offices are located. That’s also the epicenter of The Great Payday Melee that continues to deprive hardworking GPS employees of their lawfully earned pay.

Background from a previous Westie post: When the going got tough and the Infinite Visions software implementation imploded, Executive Director of Technology Charles Stevin Smith, aka Steve Smith, bailed out of Gilbert Public Schools. Or maybe he bailed because of the anonymous letter about his *inappropriate relationship* with his boss, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. There are lots of *fringe benefits* associated with being Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* boyfriend. Getting a $10,000.00 raise appears to be one of them. Notice in this fiasco that even Her Three Votes apparently approved of the Superintendent’s dalliances. Too bad the whole “GPS is the Technology District” now is a total failure. Other school districts must be ROFLAO. Muchly.

Here’s a citizen of The Town of Gilbert explaining why Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* inappropriate relationship violates not just the public trust, but also GPS policies. Not that Her Three Votes on the GPS Governing Board will do anything about it, as we all know:

In response, Clerk of the Governing Board Jill Humpherys (photo at the top of this post) expressed her disappointment that The Town Of Gilbert is a small town. Dressed like that, Jill criticized someone in the audience! What chutzpah! That hat!!! This fashion disaster eclipses anything Westie has seen in GPS. Please give that jacket back to whoever it is that’s so much smaller than you are, Jill, and close your legs, at least a bit.

Silly Jilly also said the Governing Board ain’t gonna do nuthin ’til someone signs their name … presumably so they can be fired, as in the Infamous Case of Brian Yee’s Infamy. Just so you know, folks, the Governing Board ain’t gonna do nuthin even then, as Board President Lily Tram stated when there was indeed a signed complaint about Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s catastrophic careen through Gilbert Municipal Court in an attempt to unlawfully silence someone while lying through her teeth in a court of law. Board President Lily Tram said the board would do nothing unless presented with a Notice of Claim, as in “So, sue me!” Oooooh, such bravado!

The audience for this GPS Governing Board meeting was packed … with principals who had been summoned by *email from on high* to attend. That probably happened after the superintendency found out the media would be attending. The principals and the media were treated to some plain speaking that reveals much about why GPS is losing students at an unprecedented pace. Kishimoto’s high-fiving and end zone dancing after votes was an image that was worth a thousand words … not in a good way, Chica.

Before posting the transcript, you should know that the reference to GPS Board President Lily Tram interrupting the speaker is based on past behavior from the dais. Lily Tram does not like to hear negative words that might shine a negative light on the *national reputation* that seems to be Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s top priority. From the minutes of the December 2015 board meeting: “Mrs. Tram mentioned to refrain from voicing personnel or personal individuals with the district because it could cause due process rights.” Now Westie is ROFLAO: “Cause due process rights!” ROFLAO.

Later in this meeting, Board Member Daryl Colvin asked Christina Kishimoto point blank if Steve Smith paid the $2,500.00 *hostage clause* fee. Superintendent Kishimoto stated the full $2,500 was paid. Of course, this exchange highlighted the fact that all GPS contracts reserve to the board the power to approve employee resignations before the end of the contract and also to approve any waiver of the *hostage clause* fee. Christina Kishimoto did not like hearing that there are any limits to her powers in Gilbert Public Schools. There’s a question about whether she will rewrite the 2016-2017 GPS employee contracts to grant those powers to herself. You know Her Three Votes will do whatever Christina Kishimoto wants.

Transcript of the video clip above:

I am speaking tonight about a matter that is on the agenda. Mrs. Tram, do not interrupt me, because you and I both know from the recent OML training that “You may not control the content of speech so long as the speech relates to something within the authority of the board.”

You know, as many people in the Town of Gilbert know, that the board received an anonymous letter from a teacher about the superintendent’s inappropriate relationship with the former Executive Director of Technology. That administrator resigned a few days after the accusation became public, which gave great credibility to what the anonymous letter writer reported to you.

An anonymous teacher reported to you conduct that is absolutely intolerable in the workplace: an *inappropriate relationship* between the superintendent and one of her top administrators. Employees, especially teachers, tell you they are afraid of retaliation, something they have been saying for years.

You as a board have allowed situations to exist in which citizens and employees have no reasonable way to report misconduct, especially when it involves the superintendent.

The board’s disciplinary policies are laughable when it comes to doing anything when the superintendent behaves outside the bounds of decency and violates district policy. Even where you have a policy, and you do have policies that address this situation, the board has refused to address wrongdoing that was reported through channels when it involved the superintendent.

What are you, as a board, going to do about the public trust that has been squandered by a superintendent who violated a GPS policy that describes misconduct as “Inappropriate personal or sexual relationships with students, employees, or others”? This is intentional discrimination, which has created a hostile working environment for others who have not been promoted or have not received pay increases.

How do you expect this superintendent to enforce against any other employee the GPS policy that defines misconduct as “Immoral conduct that directly affects the employee’s ability to perform their responsibilities and/or to enforce the District’s policies and regulations”?

How do you expect GPS employees to respect this superintendent now? How do you expect the public to respect this superintendent and you, the people who enable her despicable and unlawful behavior that is disrupting the workplace?

Do you expect this to go away if you hide your heads like ostriches and don’t address the breach of trust that results from misconduct of such a magnitude in the operations of the biggest employer in the Town of Gilbert?

Gilbert Classical Academy Wants to Take a Campus from *Lesser* GPS Students

Let’s talk about something Her Three Votes will grant to Superintendent Christina Kishimoto: closing a junior high school to *repurpose* it for Gilbert Classical Academy. We hear that the superintendency hasn’t even tried to keep it secret … they’ve been sending their minions around to schools and talking about Mesquite Junior High School closing as if it’s already a done deal. We’ll be watching the board meeting so see how it all works out. If something happens between now and the vote to close Mesquite Junior High School, Westie will update this post.

The Number One Goal of the GPS Governing Board is to give Gilbert Classical Academy a new campus. They’re funneling resources (that’s TAX MONEY) into a school that benefits 1% of the total student population of the district. What does this tell parents of the 99% of students about GPS priorities? What about the elementary classrooms that have far too many students? What about students at GPS high schools who are crammed so tightly into classrooms that at least one student is assigned to sit at the teacher’s desk because no more student desks will fit into the classroom? What about all of the resources for regular kids, gifted kids and [especially] special ed kids that have been cut? The GPS reply to taxpayers: “Nanny nanny boo boo – we got three votes, so you lose.

This time, Gilbert Classical Academy is just sick and tired of waiting for a new campus, so it looks like they’re just going to throw out some *lesser* students and take over a campus for their own. Westie has many, many blog posts about how GCA unsuccessfully tried to take over Gilbert Junior High School a few years ago. This time, GCA advocates appear to have been smarter … they appealed to Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s insatiable thirst for a *national reputation* and voila! This time, GCA wins all the marbles. Now if only GCA could figure out how to KEEP students in GCA until graduation, perhaps those students wouldn’t be so expensive compared to the other students in Gilbert Public Schools. Sheeeeesh.

Westie recently gave GPS Governing Board Clerk Jill Humpherys a chance to write a blog post about how gosh-darn HARD it is to figure out which campus should be given to GCA:

First, Silly Jilly Humpherys talks about the huge number of students who drop out as GCA Spartans each year: There are many parents who choose GCA as a junior high option and then move their child to a comprehensive high school. I don’t know why they choose to do this; I have talked with quite a few parents who do. It may be that they want the rigor of a classical education during the junior high years, but then they want the options that a comprehensive high school offers. Also, it is much more challenging to take all AP and Honors courses as a junior and senior than it is as a freshman and sophomore. I do not begrudge a student the opportunity to try a more rigorous schedule and then maybe find that they would do better with only a few AP or Honors classes.

Isn’t it a good thing that GPS has spent thousands of dollars buying new software to help the superintendency decide where the new boundaries will go? Once you start changing the junior high school boundaries to give the entitled personages at Gilbert Classical Academy a new campus, who knows where it will end? We all know that the remaining junior high schools will be overcrowded, of course. Maybe Superintendent Christina Kishimoto will decide to even out the overloads. Highland Junior High School already has a waiting list for out of boundary students. Maybe some of the newly reboundaried students will have to go elsewhere, like to Gilbert Junior High School. We can imagine the grumbling, along the lines of insults that parents and students from other schools hurl at GJHS students at athletic events: *ghetto school.* You would think Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her minions are aware of that situation, since Westie has been hearing about it for years. Sheeesh, it’s not like the Town of Gilbert is urban, for heaven’s sake.

You can bet that promises have already been made for the construction and related contracts that will go out to loyal override supporting companies; elections have consequences. One consequence we can predict with great accuracy is that the *repurposing* will cost more than what the committee reported to the board way back when they were pretending the decision hadn’t been made yet. We expect the rounding errors to occur in increments of $100,000 each time there’s not enough money for something bright and shiny new for Gilbert Classical Academy and the handful of students who actually stick around until graduation.

To that end, inquiring minds want to know if Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her daughter actually bought and paid for their tickets to the Cardinals game (scroll down to January 16th to see the photo). Same question for whoever took their photo — what are the odds it probably was Steve Smith, the Superintendent’s *alleged* boyfriend? No one would ask such questions if Christina Kishimoto had not squandered the trust of the Town of Gilbert, employees of Gilbert Public Schools and their friends and relatives in neighboring towns and cities.  Now they want to know if voting for the whole override and bond was something truly done *for the kids* or if it was to benefit the folks and companies that contributed to the Political Action Committees for the override. Now they want to know if those contributors have become Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s BFFs who want to make her happy and keep her entertained on their dimes. Those dimes and dollars will be derived, of course, from the massive contracting authority that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is demanding. You know Her Three Votes will give it to her.

On another note, it is becoming quite the distraction for GPS employees to learn that Charles Stevin Smith, also known as Steve Smith, GPS Executive Director of Technology, apparently advanced his short GPS career to *Cabinet Status* through his errr…. *talents* in something other than technology. No one would be considering their options now that EVERYONE knows the way to get ahead in GPS is to bang the boss  boink the boss  have an *inappropriate relationship* with the boss. The words sex discrimination, hostile work environment and a few other ominous phrases are on quite a few tongues these days.

Let’s get through one more note about Christina Kishimoto’s minions in the White Castle: we’re looking at you, Chief Financial Officer Tom Wohlleber. Yes, Julie Smith is cute, personable and incredibly smart, especially about your realm of finances, but you’re being incredibly rude to address her as “Julie” during board meetings. This is especially true because you are so – ugh – obsequious with regard to DOCTOR Kishimoto and DOCTOR Santa Cruz. Westie had to explain manners to other GPS administrators for calling some board members by their first names. Those old farts folks are no longer employed by GPS, perhaps due in part to their open and obvious disdain for their bosses. CFO Tom Wohlleber, your bosses are ALL the members of the Governing Board, and Christina Kishimoto is just their vessel vassal  employee. We’ll give you this one pass in the hope that you didn’t intend the insult you delivered to Governing Board member Julie Smith, which is now enshrined in GPS video archives.

Finale: note to Christina Kishimoto. You’re embarrassing  everyone, chica, with your illiteracy. Try to remember, because we’ve seen this stupid mistake too many times: you do not form the plural of a word by adding *apostrophe + s.* Sheeeeeesh.

       (Click to view larger image)

Gilbert Public Schools Teachers: Don’t Take Those Contracts to the Bank!

The meeting of the Governing Board of Gilbert Public Schools scheduled for January 26, 2016 looks to be a Katrina of a disaster for Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. Or not: she has Her Three Votes for anything and everything she wants, so all that any member of the public can do is tune in to watch the coming disasters. They will come. Let’s preview how GPS teacher contracts will be handled this year.

First, let’s pause in memory of how GPS employees used to take payday for granted … the checks, small as they were, arrived on schedule until January 2016. That’s when the new GPS Infinite Visions software took over from the old, antiquated system that made the checks appear on time. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto made it a BFD, going on and on about how important it was to hand out raises to the incompetents folks who would be doing the *implementation* of the new $1.3 Million software, which was the subject of numerous reports from Those on High, the Occupants of the White Castle. Our moment of reflection is now over. Back to Westie’s regular post.

The new Stepless Salary Schedule and the 7% Salary Increases that supposedly will go to long-suffering, loyal teachers who stayed with GPS through The Great Recession will be on the agenda. New contracts will be rammed through on January 26, 2016 (by a 3-2 vote, most likely) so that teachers will have to commit the next eighteen months of their lives to GPS. Do you really believe their promises THIS TIME? Like they have come through with any crumbs from the Great Table in the White Castle for you deserving folks [dripping sarcasm]. Keep in mind, Diane Drazinski President of the Gilbert Education Association [it’s not a union] agreed to every word that’s in your new contracts, teachers. Now, aren’t you happy to hand over to Diane Drazinski so much money out of your own pockets in the form of hundreds of dollars of dues that you pay each year?

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and Her Three Votes are shocked, just shocked they say, that enrollment in Gilbert Public Schools is decreasing. They’re planning for doomsday scenarios for losses of 1,350 students and/or 2,000 students for next year. That doesn’t include the massive losses that are happening right under their noses, like the first day of school in January 2016, a new semester, where there were lines out the doors of local charter schools as parents and students voted with their feet by leaving GPS. Christina Kishimoto and the Governing Board have this new thingy called a *dashboard* that should be able to show them, day-by-day if necessary, exactly how many students GPS has lost on Christina Kishimoto’s watch. You can’t blame it on any *former* anything now, guys. You own this.

What this loss of students has to do with new salary schedules, the stepless salary schedule and teacher contracts is that THE LOSS OF STUDENTS could well be a *trigger* that GPS can use to reduce your pay. Sure, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and Her Three Votes are trying to wait until the State Department of Education releases data about how many students GPS has; we all know that the Top Dogs already know how many students GPS has, and how many students GPS has lost recently. But they want to be able to claim they were surprised, so they can reduce the salaries they promised in January 2016 if the state comes through with less money, in let’s say about March 2016, than the big bucks Superintendent Christina Kishimoto demanded from the legislature wanted the legislature to give her since she’s so deserving and all. See how easy it will be to screw you loyal teachers? And of course, it won’t be Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s fault, we’re sure [somebody get a bucket and mop for all the dripping sarcasm!].

Another trip down Memory Lane: remember how GPS gave out contracts with a teensie-tiny salary increase and then increased employee costs for health insurance? How many times have the Top Dogs in Gilbert Public Schools pulled that trick? Expect it again. Once you teachers have committed to your contracts, golly gee, the superintendency will be just so gosh-darn SORRY that you won’t be able to keep the full 7% (for the lucky few who will be promised that much). But the smart money is on Superintendent Christina Kishimoto keeping the amount of the health insurance increase secret until about March 2016, probably as soon as her deadline for returning 2016-2017 teaching contracts is over. BTW – since the Kishimoto Carpetbagger and Scalawag Administration is in the dark about any history of GPS, they probably don’t know this has been done before. Perhaps they’ll throw their shoulders out of joint while patting their own backs.

Next, expect another hostage clause. Good Time Charlie Santa Cruz told the superintendency he wanted to see that go away in future contracts, but that doesn’t mean it won’t reappear. They might try to put some lipstick on that pig, but the $2,500.00 *liqidated damages* clause will be there to prevent defections. When loyal teachers see how little of their salary increases actually remain in their bank account, they’ll stick around again rather than pay the hostage clause. You own this one, Dr. Charles Santa Cruz:

The hostage situation is this: any employee who leaves GPS after signing a contract for 2015-2016 will pay $2,500 as liquidated damages…unless they quit before they sign a new contract with minimal time to consider said draconian contract. The other alternative is if the Governing Board waives the liquidated damages.  Don’t hold your breath for that; even though Good Old Charlie Santa Cruz said he wasn’t thrilled with the hostage clause, he sat down and shut up and voted for it anyway.

We all want to know if Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* boyfriend paid the $2,500.00 hostage clause when he bailed out of GPS a couple of days after the anonymous letter about his *inappropriate relationship* with his top boss surfaced. After all, he still has his $10,000.00 raise, so $2,500.00 in hostage fees are not a big deal, right? Maybe life looked different back then, before the superintendent’s *alleged* boyfriend decided to cut and run in the middle of his contract. Maybe he’s just a quitter like Sarah Palin, perhaps? Check out the similarities, including *frivilous* ethics complaints and public records requests decried by The Quitter:

According to the Anchorage Daily News, “Early estimates put the cost of Sarah Palin’s midterm resignation as Alaska governor at a minimum of $40,000, not including a special legislative session partly linked to her departure. … The final price tag will be a mere fraction of the roughly $2 million Palin has said it cost the state dealing with “frivolous” ethics complaints against her.” Information on the cost of the resignation was obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.

Look for Weasel Words, they’ll be in the teacher contracts, Westie promises. There probably will be words to the effect that if we want to change the salary schedule because we didn’t get as much money as we wanted, teachers just have to suck it. Also, look to see *extras* carved out of your contract – things like 301 money and other extra funds from the state may become just too appetizing for the Top Dogs to spend on you loyal employees. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has done this to you before, with the blessing of Her Three Votes she keeps in her nether regions  pocket.

Here’s the history: in December 2014, Gilbert Public Schools received an extra $700,000 in Student Success Funds from then-Governor Brewer, as Christina Kishimoto said, “To ‘reward’ districts for student performance.” Showing how depraved is her soul  how little use she has for the teachers and staff in the classrooms every day, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto kept that little secret slush fund in the background for “our budget planning mitigation strategy.” Her Three Votes on the Governing Board approved, as always. Other school districts did not screw their teachers over play such stupid games with their unexpected windfalls. In fact, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto was never going to give you teachers raises before she absolutely had to:

You loyal GPS employees should know that neighboring school districts gave their employees pay raises as soon as their overrides passed. It says much about Christina Kishimoto and her Three Musketeers Lily Tram, Jill Humpherys and Charlies Santa Cruz that GPS was totally unprepared to do anything like that.

Be prepared, GPS teachers! Signing your new contract will tie you up for the next 18 months. Maybe you want to call the HR people in the school districts you favor and let them know about this window. If they want you, they’ll negotiate to get you signed before your GPS contract is due.

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto Demands Unfettered Contracting and Procurement Authority

The meeting of the Governing Board of Gilbert Public Schools scheduled for January 26, 2016 is going to be where Superintendent Christina Kishimoto will hustle board approval of her pet projects and unprecedented spending of taxpayer money. She wants those financial handcuffs taken off so she can officially do whatever she wants! What little oversight the board exercises will be a thing of the past, and that’s exactly the  point, it seems.

You know it will work – Christina Kishimoto now gets anything and everything she wants. It’s like second grade, where the playground bullies yell, “Nanny nanny boo boo – we got three votes, so you lose.” Yes, the losers include taxpayers, teachers and staffers who don’t inhabit the district offices in the White Castle.

In the meantime, some Gilbert Public Schools’ employees have not been paid. The Great Payday Melee continues. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto thinks her letter that employees can take to the bank will do the job when they get overdraft charges. Watch your credit rating carefully, GPS employees. But don’t hold out too much hope that GPS actually will reimburse you for all the expenses you have as a result of their incompetence. No, they already have limited that to simple bank charges for BANK FEES that result from their failure to pay employees on time. Westie knows that’s an artificial limit, and it will gob-smack you in the face when you realize how many OTHER expenses cascade from the failure of the implementation of the GPS software system known as Infinite Visions. This will be an uglier story as time goes by.

The Superintendent’s *alleged* boyfriend’s resignation should be effective at the end of this week. In other words, when the going got tough and the Infinite Visions software implementation imploded, Executive Director of Technology Charles Stevin Smith, aka Steve Smith, bailed out of Gilbert Public Schools. Or maybe he bailed because of the anonymous letter about his *inappropriate relationship* with his boss, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. Did he pay the $2,500.00 required by the hostage clause that other GPS employees are required to pay if they quit before their contracts are finished? Yeah, we don’t think so, either. There are lots of *fringe benefits* associated with being Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* boyfriend. Getting a $10,000.00 raise appears to be one of them. Notice in this fiasco that even Her Three Votes apparently approved of the Superintendent’s dalliances. Too bad the whole “GPS is the Technology District” now is a total failure. Other school districts must be ROFLAO. Muchly.

One of the *recommendations* Her Three Votes will approve at the aforesaid Governing Board Meeting is $100,000 as the new purchasing limit that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto wanted for herself and her minions. We all know it’s so gosh-awful HARD to keep up with the Superintendent’s new spending spree of expected tax override dollars and new bond money. Christina Kishimoto wrote a memo that said surrounding districts have the $100,000 purchasing limit she now absolutely needs for herself.

Let’s tune in to hear Superintendent Christina Kishimoto talk about the new contracting limits she wants.

Governing Board Clerk Jill Humpherys doesn’t have any problem giving out these higher limits. It’s not like $100,000 is a whole lot of money, she says. Principals can spend it in a flash in Walmart!

Trying to be a voice of reason, Governing Board Member Daryl Colvin says this is not wise; it’s using a machete instead of a scalpel:

There’s a cute little provision in Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s recommended changes to GPS procurement policies: she can contract for up to ONE MILLION DOLLARS in construction contracts without jumping through procurement hoops. Now we’re really getting to what’s important in her recommendations, don’t you think? Here’s Daryl Colvin’s view on why this is totally stupid. But we all know Her Three Votes will approve:

We’ll talk about teacher contracts in our next post. Another doozie coming up!

Gilbert Public Schools’ Payday Melee Continues – Employees Remain Unpaid

Chaos continues in Gilbert Public Schools: employees have not been paid, have been paid the wrong amount, or were given the wrong paycheck. Computer systems continue to malfunction, crash or otherwise misbehave. The Tops Dogs in the administration of Gilbert Public Schools continue to applaud the loser  incompetent  parties responsible for the Great Payday Melee, telling unpaid long-suffering employees how *amazing* those incompetent staffers are and how hard they worked to get things so screwed up. 

This mess is totally owned by GPS Superintendent Christina Kishimoto. We acknowledge, however, that her minions made invaluable contributions. The question that remains unanswered: why did Charles Stevin Smith, Executive Director of Technology, resign suddenly? Was it because of the anonymous letter that revealed Steve Smith’s *inappropriate relations* with Superintendent Christina Kishimoto? Was it because the letter revealed his *special* promotion and $10,000.00 raise that the Governing Board approved? Or was it because Steve Smith pinky promised his *alleged* girlfriend that his technology would succeed and cement her National Reputation and the district’s big marketing push?  Oooh, that big GPS Technology Expo will be *timely,* won’t it?

Here is GPS Executive Director of Technology, Charles Stevin Smith,  explaining how he has made it impossible for the system to fail, so what is happening as the payroll system crumbles under the weight of an incompetent implementation of expensive new software can never happen. Charles Stevin Smith, aka Sleazy Steve, the dude who allegedly has been involved in an *inappropriate relationship* with Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, was promoted after he urged the GPS Governing Board to buy the Infinite Visions software that the Top Dogs wanted. He said, “Trust me.” Oh yeah, Steve Smith was worth trusting, wasn’t he, GPS Governing Board? How does it feel, CFO Tom Wohlleber, to have this train wreck happen on your watch? How are Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s hand-selected, specially recruited new finance department incompetents employees working out for you? Rhetorical question. We know you also had *consultants* helping make this mess.

One of the biggest problems for Gilbert Public Schools in this Great Payday Melee is that pretty much everyone took a two week vacation the week before they tried to run payroll on the new technology system anchored by Infinite Visions software. Brilliant, guys. Who made the decision to turn off the AS/400 redundancy that Steve Smith said would prevent any possible problems? Oh yeah, you must have gotten rid of the wrong techies in the past couple of years. Tsk, tsk. Now, hard working, long suffering GPS employees are paying the price for your arrogance and incompetence.

Westie is quite aware that there are folks who deny any fact that Westie reports, so as usual, here’s the evidence you wish you wouldn’t have to acknowledge, an email to all GPS employees on January 14, 2015:

To All Employees,

The Finance/Payroll Staff want to again thank you for how gracious people have been through this process.  This week we are focusing on ways to let people quickly know where their issue is in the queue. We will then send emails to each site administrator that shows outstanding issues for each employee.  This way you will know if you need to send in a payroll exception form.

The following are issues that are being corrected this week.

Base Pay & Stipends (Academic, Speech Path, Psychologist) Corrections – We have already identified most of the issues.  There is no need to send in a Payroll Exception Form unless your name does not show up on the list that will be provided to your site administrator/admin assistant by tomorrow morning.

Overtime, Holiday Pay, Leave Pay (Medical, Vacation) – The most important thing is to verify that your hours are properly reflected in Time Clock Plus.  The pay corrections will be made from data in Time Clock Plus.  There is no need to send Payroll Exception Forms for this issue.

Deduction differences – We are creating a file just for the Benefits and Payroll departments that should be available this week.  We will let you know when the file is complete.  They will then be able to confirm that your deduction corrections are in the queue. We will then also have an expected resolution date.  Until then, there is no need to send Payroll Exception forms regarding this issue.

We are sorry that we are not able to respond to each email at this time. But we hope this process can mitigate the frustration of not knowing the status of your corrections.  Thanks again for your patience and understanding.  We will let you know how things progress.

Teddy Dumlao
Finance Director

Lindie Evans
Payroll Supervisor

Notice that these occupants of the GPS White Castle, while too important busy to respond to employees whose lives are in disarray because of the incompetent implementation of the Infinite Visions software, are sending highly personal data about individual employees to site administrators, their secretaries and anyone else this *onerous task* can be palmed off on. The occupants of the White Castle don’t want mere peons contacting them about how they screwed up the finances and lives of GPS employees who live from payday to payday, which is just about everyone in GPS who has not been selected for handsome remuneration, such as Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* boyfriend who was promoted and given a $10,000.00 pay raise, according to the anonymous letter writer.

No, the highly paid minions in the GPS White Castle, some of whom pull down six-figure incomes, don’t want to talk to mere GPS employees they have screwed. That echoes the boss’s policy, since she doesn’t seem to talk to anyone below the level of principal and especially, she doesn’t talk to parents, especially not about technology processes overseen by her *alleged* boyfriend. Superintendent Christina Kishimoto gave a Superintendent Award to a teacher in December 2015; she didn’t grasp the sense of irony that the recipient was holding down three jobs to support his family.

But thank you for being gracious while the losers try to figure out “where the employee’s issue is in the queue” and then try to figure out how to get out of this mess of their own creation. Sheeeeeesh. Aren’t all these folks just gosh-golly AMAZING?  Maybe they’ll soon be able to tell you how long it will take to get your money reimbursed. Hopefully, it will happen before you are evicted or have your name put on Governor Ducey’s Loser List.

Hey, Superintendent Kishimoto: maybe you should tell your minions to quit echoing your words “Leap Frogging” in reference to the new salary schedule you propose. TMI. We already told Keyboard we don’t know what games you were playing, if any, with the Executive Director of Technology. But come on, everybody knows the game the Greek dudes were playing that was immortalized on the china in The Birdcage:

Louise Keeley: Oh, what interesting china. Why, it looks like young men playing leap frog.  Is it Greek?

Gilbert Public Schools Screwed Up New Payroll System – Employees Shafted

Under the category of we couldn’t possibly make up anything more ridiculous than what actually happens in Gilbert Public Schools: Add new financial problems to the 2016 List of Disasters. If we thought the Clown Car driven by Good Old Dave Allison was filled with incompetents and nincompoops, we ain’t seen nothing yet. Is it really just the second week of January? Sheeesh.

GPS employees are not getting paid on time, and they’re not getting paid the full sums that they are owed. Why? Because the new $1.3 Million Dollar Software that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto bought back in November 2014 failed. Who knows the answer to “Where have we seen this before?

Keyboard to Westie: Oooh, ooh pick me! I know the answer! GPS bought software costing $1.7 Million Dollars a few years ago and botched the installation so bad, they tried to blame the software company and sued them! GPS Top Dogs ended up with a lot of egg on their faces over that fiasco because they squandered so much time and taxpayer money and then had to start all over again, buy another software program and lose about $500,000 in settling the lawsuit. Do I get an A?

The GPS purchase of Infinite Visions software was a real mess from the beginning. One of our birdies wondered why, in November 2014, it suddenly was essential for the GPS Governing Board to approve a new $1.3 Million contract for new finance and human resources software. It was especially concerning that just the month before, in October 2014, the GPS Chief Financial Officer confessed that GPS had overspent by $15.3 Million and kept it a secret.

It took two board meetings to ram this new software project through. Board President Staci Burk asked CFO Jeff Gadd to provide the board copies of the underlying contract that GPS used through Mohave Educational Services (MES) Cooperative, Inc. (an entity through which school districts make big purchases without the regular bidding process).  President Burk kept asking for documentation of the RFP process – which ought to be on file.  CFO Gadd did everything he could to sidestep; he promised he had done his due diligence, etc.

Wrong! Due diligence is the board’s responsibility, and it’s a red flag of fraud that Jeff Gadd didn’t provide the simple documentation the board president repeatedly requested. No sireee, he gave the board something else: the generic contract presented to the board was the financing document from Kansas State Bank of ManhattanThere is so much here that doesn’t pass the smell test.

Gilbert Public Schools and Superintendent Christina Kishimoto could have recovered from their initial missteps with Infinite Visions software, but they did not. No way that would happen after golden haired boys GPS top level C-suite folks made presentations to the governing board about how gosh-darned HARD they were working on installing and implementing this software, including as recently as December 15, 2015. GPS went out and recruited new employees to work in the White Castle and get this project going. Dollars to donuts, those new support staffers were paid top dollar while loyal GPS employees waited patiently for Christina Kishimoto and her pet board members to DO SOMETHING for the long-suffering folks whose pay inequities should be the top priority for GPS, but we digress.

It’s not like GPS is the first employer ever to switch payroll software – why couldn’t they have worked out glitches BEFORE employees didn’t get their checks direct deposited? Do you think maybe it had something to do with the Superintendent’s *alleged* dalliances with her Executive Director of Technology, whose hardware system came into play for installing new Infinite Visions software? [No, Keyboard, we don’t know what games they were playing.]

OMG, watch your credit scores carefully! Gilbert Public Schools Executive Director of Technology, Charles Stevin Smith, also known as Sleazy Steve is still at work, and his department is responsible for designing a “new process and systems for identity management” for the screwed up payroll system. You folks who posit that Sleazy Steve Smith may have decided to take one for the team and resign because this HUGE technology project failed need to reevaluate. [This said with great derision because Sleazy Steve Smith’s resignation came immediately after the anonymous letter alleging his inappropriate relations with Christina Kishimoto was made public.] Sheeesh, we’re digressing again!

GPS put the burden on employees to figure out if the paychecks they receive are correct … but GPS wiped out historical data about what each employee used to be paid before they told employees to check their checks. The two Business Office honchos of the Infinite Visions payroll fiasco put out an email saying, “We have encountered a glitch…Unfortunately we do not have the resources to personally respond to each email about this matter.” Seriously, that was what they said when they could not pay GPS employees on time! In other words, “Pound sand, suckers!” Maybe they were trying to make things better by saying they would “research the issues” if employees fill out certain forms … as if they didn’t already know who should be paid what amount. Maybe they truly didn’t know, which is unforgivable for a government enterprise that employs thousands and has a budget of a Third of a Billion Dollars each year.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for any semblance of accountability. We have seen what passes for accountability for this payroll fiasco in GPS and it is a slap in the face to you loyal PROFESSIONALS who are on the front lines of education every day. Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto said she’ll make everything all right, because, gosh darn it, “…our payroll staff in the Finance Department have done an AMAZING job of working through the glitches…” We know you won’t believe it til you see it, so here it is.

Showing just how much Superintendent Christina Kishimoto cares about you loyal GPS employees, she helpfully wrote a letter that you can take to your bank in case those big old meanies in charge of the nation’s mega-banks do something really awful and charge you for overdrafts resulting from your payroll check not being deposited. Don’t you feel better now? The biggest employer in the Town of Gilbert (including employees from surrounding cities and towns) fails to make their payroll, and Superintendent Christina Kishimoto thinks the banks will be sweet and understanding and wipe out the outrageous fees that banks charge when your checks bounce.

It speaks volumes that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her sidekick CFO Tom Wohlleber think GPS employees might get one little-bitty overdraft charge as a result of their staff’s incompetence in failing to pay thousands of people properly. One overdraft charge! And they’ll get around to figuring out a bureaucratic process for reimbursing employees long, long after the charge has totally screwed up bank accounts, mortgages, rent, student loan repayments, credit card auto-pays and credit scores. There, there, GPS will give you back the “service fee resulting from the payroll transition” as if the banks will make one *unfair* charge and leave it at that. Maybe that’s a way of life for Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, who hob nobs with community leaders like bankers, who would NEVER, EVER mess up the bank account of someone pulling down a cool Quarter of a Million Dollars a year.

You all know that overdraft charges cascade and multiply, because one missed deposit causes many screwed up transactions. The writing is on the wall: GPS will probably, someday, get around to reimbursing you employees who insist on being reimbursed for nefarious deductions from your bank accounts because GPS screwed up their first payroll of the year in such a spectacular way. Just show them Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s letter when they come to evict you from your house.

Wait ’til we start hearing about how their taxes are screwed up because GPS couldn’t figure out how to pay their employees on the first pay period of the first month of a new year, most likely because GPS Top Dogs wanted a two week vacation right before payroll was due. Anyone want to wager that maybe the superintendent’s *alleged* boyfriend, the dude who got a $10,000 raise while other GPS employees had their salaries frozen (according to the anonymous letter writer) managed to be paid on time? Same bet for those other Top Dogs and Fat Cats in the GPS White Castle. Sheeeeesh.

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *Alleged* Boyfriend Resigns

BREAKING NEWS: Westie had this post ready to publish when word came down that Charles Stevin Smith, aka Steve Smith, the Superintendent’s *Alleged* Boyfriend, has resigned from his position in Gilbert Public Schools as the Executive Director of Technology. 

He’s also known as Sleazy Steve, but we didn’t know the half of it, as things turned out. Never fear, birdies, we’ll share what we’ve found about the whole sordid affair at the White Castle. Westie’s going to be posting like crazy in the next few weeks. You know you can hardly wait.

Back to our regularly scheduled Westie post: Finally – Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is going to reveal her *process* for giving GPS employees salary increases with all the new money that’s available from the recent tax override.  The unveiling is scheduled to occur on January 12, 2016 during the GPS Governing Board’s work study session.  

Let’s connect some dots to remind loyal GPS employees that you can expect another BOHICA situation, not real change that you can believe in and take to the bank. Heaven help you if you thought GPS would actually give you dollars to take to the bank, but we digress.

First, you loyal GPS employees should know that neighboring school districts gave their employees pay raises as soon as their overrides passed. It says much about Christina Kishimoto and her Three Musketeers Lily Tram, Jill Humpherys and Charlies Santa Cruz that GPS was totally unprepared to do anything like that. It’s not that they didn’t believe the override would pass, because everyone knew it was already bought and paid for in terms of political action committees and their massive donations from the companies and people who stood to benefit from Christina Kishimoto’s largess and unprecedented spending on technology and construction projects should taxpayers give her that power and purse.

Second, GPS isn’t even going to try to give raises out until the 2016-2017 school year. Nada, nil, zilch. 

Third, you loyal GPS employees already know that the Top Dogs in the GPS administration will get the biggest piece of the pie, don’t you? Yeah, they always get considered first and screw the rest of you who work on the front lines of education every day. It’s really bass ackwards from how the military works: commanders take care of the troops first so the mission will be accomplished. Yes, yes, we know that the Top Dogs in the military also get cushy benefits and living quarters and first class travel that the troops don’t get, but on a wartime footing, troops come first. If they don’t, the Top Dogs keep things quiet, as opposed to GPS, where employee pay has been frozen for years but the Superintendent’s alleged boyfriend got himself promoted with a big raise, done on the sly, of course.

Another group that’s made out like bandits: the folks on the SmartSchoolsPlus bandwagon. GPS is just so gosh-darn enamored with Sandee McClelland  that they issued SmartSchoolsPlus a second contract in 2015, adding a few years because they’re just so hap-hap-happy with Sandee Baby. Did you loyal employees know that folks who are on SmartSchools are paid more than you? Like the new hires are paid more than you, but even more insulting.

Here’s the deal for SmartSchools pit vipers  contract employees: apparently they’re being paid “on the grid” that has been denied to loyal GPS employees for so long. Yeppers, we saw that not only do some of the folks receive “Range H stipend” (one monthly amount was $1,276.92), a psychologist receives a “Range H stipend” PLUS a “NCSP stipend” in addition to SmartSchoolsPlus contract pay and benefits PLUS ASRS retirement benefits and pay. Pretty good deal for a chosen few, but NOT for you loyal GPS employees who toughed it out for seven years or more of frozen pay along with increasingly expensive benefits GPS levied on you.

There’s more, of course (with GPS there is always more bad news): support staffers receive unspecified stipends  in addition to SmartSchoolsPlus contract pay and benefits PLUS ASRS retirement benefits and pay. You can check it out for yourself here. Do a *Control F* search for SmartSchools, and you’ll hit the data jackpot. That’s the only jackpot loyal GPS employees will be hitting any time soon.

Let’s connect some dots and make our bets as to how the GPS Governing Board Work Study session will go down. First clue: Christina Kishimoto’s end of the year letter to employees reveals priorities for the new year:

Even with the additional budget capacity resulting from approval of the override and bond election, our District will continue to face some challenges in developing the 2016-2017 budget. You will hear me talk to the Governing Board about a variety of long-term planning strategies related to student enrollment, legislative action, and long-term budget forecasting, over the next few months. Despite these challenges, the District’s leadership is committed to the following guiding principles in the 2016-2017 budget planning process:

Developing a budget in which a significant portion of the additional budget capacity will be used for increasing staff compensation.

You GPS folks know even better than Westie does that those are weasel words, limiting salary increases to what’s left over in the “additional budget capacity” from the 2015 tax override approved by voters. We saw GPS do similar hocus-pocus by moving salaries for Tech Services employees OUT of the tech override funds and into the M&O budget, competing with teachers and support staff for a share of the pie. Christina Kishimoto also banged her drum loudly for across-the-board raises in 2015 that would benefit the new hires who make more money than their colleagues in the same positions. Scalawags and Carpetbaggers in her cabinet did just fine with THEIR raises, coming roughly a year after their original hire dates, didn’t they?

On top of everything else, GPS screwed up the payroll system so that things have really gone to hell in a handbasket. Direct deposit? Only if you’re lucky and in the first segment of the alphabet. Auto-pay deductions? Who knows.  GPS made it the employee’s responsibility to determine if their payroll records for the first of the year are correct … AFTER wiping out all the historical data for individual employee accounts. A huge amount of lovely tax credit money has been screwed up, too … swept up into indistinguishable district accounts (although we hear some folks got their funds restored). Sure, nothing is going to go missing; it’s GPS, where there are stringent controls on financial matters. <snark>

On top of all this chaos, which the dots connect to the department controlled by the Superintendent’s alleged boyfriend, is the chaos associated with the absurd Chromebook rollout, which is also connected to the Superintendent’s alleged boyfriend, who runs the Technology Services Department. You know, the guy who got himself a $10,000 pay raise while the rest of you loyal GPS employees were sucking eggs. BTW, GPS hired *consultants* to help the new Carpetbagger CFO dude (one of the six-figure salary new hires). He had a fancy PowerPoint presentation to show how great things were going with the new finance system (click here to see it). Sheeeeeesh. GPS spent $1.3 MILLION dollars on that software without going out for bids, or even advice on what GPS really needed. In all fairness, the six-figure CFO dude was not the incompetent idiot person who recommended buying this expensive software that’s not working right.

Don’t worry, Chromebook parents, the munchkin fellow what’s in charge (MFWIC) of elementary education told Tech Services to disable access to Google Images for all elementary schools. If you thought the GPS staff was nasty toward you parents before this, just wait. How can kids do any of that critical thinking for their group projects, studying Neptune for example, without images? Teachers will know who to blame. You get the picture:


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