A Very Important Teacher Demands Mesquite Jr High Campus for GCA #3

Gilbert Classical Academy DEMANDS that Mesquite Jr High campus be vacated and given to the 1% population of more deserving students. We’ve been hearing far too often that GCA has the BEST teachers in the entire district, and they need to have smaller classes, better facilities for arts and sports, and while you’re at it, more sincerity in your groveling before them. After all, GCA is Number One Three in the State of Arizona when you measure how many GCA students take Advanced Placement Tests, which is the criteria for ranking by U.S. News. “Give us MORE!” they roar.

Our posts about the letter to the Governing Board and Superinendent Christina Kishimo continue with the Very Important GCA Teacher’s assessment of why GCA is so important that a school for the 99% should be closed  repurposed and given to GCA … and it better be Mesquite Junior High School, by golly!

Our school was never intended to be a good fit for every student, or even a majority of students. As a school of choice, we are designed to create a defined pathway for students who want the best chance to be successful in a challenging higher educational setting. We offer a program that colleges and scholarship committees recognize and reward. There are no classes that are equivalent so an F cannot be made up and students are dismissed from the Academy.

If a kid flunks a course, they’re out of GCA! That keeps class sizes small, especially after those Interim Superintendents forced us to take more students than we wanted to take. What we do is get rid of the slackers so our class sizes go back to what we wanted in the first place:

Students also can’t choose an easier path in a few subjects, but must stay with the highest level of classes available. They become well-rounded scholars prepared to tackle the 21st century jobs and continue to be lifelong learners. Our 7th and 8th grade honors courses are purposefully designed to scaffold skills and get students ready to grow to their potential.

While as an educator and a parent of a GPS student myself, I want the finest education for all of our students in the district but I also know that not every student learns at the same pace or the same way. Differentiation is a hallmark of quality teaching and can only be achieved within reasonable classroom parameters.

Now the Very Important GCA Teacher says “In closing,” but we all know she’s not ready to STFU yet:

In closing, I want to reiterate my fundamental questions: Why isn’t the District simply giving us a facility that meets our needs at a more reasonable size rather than expanding us to outgrow our model or overstuffing us with students simply to make us conform to the other school classroom ratios? Why isn’t GCA, as it was designed to be, allowed to continue its proven success rather than making significant changes to our educational model now simply in response to a reasonable facility request?

Aha! FINALLY she tells the Superintendent and the Governing Board to do what she says they should do, which is give Mesquite Jr High to GCA, or else she’s taking her marbles and going home:

I don’t feel the district should spend millions of dollars on a new building or on revamping an elementary school. It is my opinion that GCA should be moved to the Mesquite Junior High facility which has all the necessary basic equipment, classroom space, PE space, auditorium and parking for a 7-12 Academy of around 450-500 students with minimal cost. We should not be forced to share this facility with another program as we have earned the right to be a school with adequate facilities.

Mesquite Jr. High students should be combined with the existing underpopulated Gilbert Junior High Campus which could accommodate them starting in 2016-2017. If the Board and Administration make the decision to significantly change how GCA does its work, I find I will be faced with the difficult decision of leaving the school I helped to build.

It may not seem like a big price for GPS to pay; losing one veteran teacher and one boundary exception student; I know I’m replaceable. But to me it would mean the last eight years of intense work, daily ups and downs, the professional growth, giving up lunches and free time mentoring students or working with staff and most of all the repeated success stories I have had the privilege to be a part of counts for very little in the grand scheme if what I’ve helped to craft is so easily disregarded.

Why would I stay at a school or a district that essentially says to my face “Thank you for doing such a wonderful job, going over and above and proving time and again that you really know what you’re doing, but we’re going to make you change the model just because it’s easier (or cheaper, or less politically divisive, or I’ve seen it done a different way, or we want to fix something else and don’t care what we break as a result).

Gilbert Classical Academy works because the many interlocking elements all come together to create something better than any one person or one idea would achieve. If too many of those components are altered, it may not work at all, or if it does it won’t be GCA anymore – and GCA is what parents, faculty and most of all the students choose to be a part of each day.

Thank you for your time and consideration on this issue.

Very Important Teacher
Gilbert Classical Academy
History Department Chair
12th Gr. Honors American Government, 10th Gr. AP World History and 7th Gr. Honors Social Studies
We the People Competition Region 5 Coach (State qualifier 2011-2015)
Academic Decathlon Coach
Socrates Teacher of the Year (2015, 2009)

Hey, all you highly qualified Language Arts teachers: aren’t you glad this lady isn’t teaching English? #SAVEGJHS

A Very Important Gilbert Classical Academy Teacher Works Too Hard! #2

Gilbert Classical Academy likes to toot its own horn, which has created an indignant backlash from other schools, students and parents in The Town of Gilbert. Horn tooting is an established practice in Gilbert Public Schools, and we see that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is already dreaming up awards for some of the vendors who participate in district planning efforts — they seem to have their hands in her pockets. That’s better than the former Executive Director of Technology, who had his … no, we’re not going there. Let’s leave it at “Steve Smith was a former GCA parent, the Superintendent appointed him to the committee to select a new home for GCA, presumably to bring the committee around to suggesting what the Superintendent wanted to hear.” Congratulations, Paul Holland, for getting an award from the superintendent for telling her what she wanted to hear  serving on her committee to give GCA the new home of her choice.

Let’s look at how a Very Important Teacher at Gilbert Classical Academy is messing with Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s fixation on making Gilbert Classical Academy’s successes part of the *national reputation* thingy that’s so near and dear to her heart (if she has a heart). First of all, the Carpetbagger Leadership of Christina Kishimoto and her hapless marketing maven Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige have really messed up advertising and marketing to an incomprehensible degree. Today’s focus is on the so-called marketing of GCA and its emphasis on the *Highly Qualified* teachers at this *special school.*

Every teacher in Gilbert Public Schools must be *highly qualified* in order to teach. This comes from the No Child Left Behind federal law.  “Teachers’ mastery of the academic content they teach is critical to engaging students and is a significant factor in raising levels of student achievement,” the Arizona Department of Education website states. Westie is really impressed that the ADE folks know how to use apostrophes to show plural and possessive at the same time, which turns out to be a rare skill that the Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools has yet to master. <sigh>

The way that GPS, GCA, Paige and Kishimoto have been *marketing,* you would think that GCA is the ONLY school in GPS with highly qualified teachers. This is a face-smacking insult to all other GPS teachers. Perhaps no one has told Paige and Kishimoto they have egg on their faces. We can understand.  <snicker, snicker>

Look at the ad for GCA at the top of this post. It really grabs your attention and makes you want to attend GCA, doesn’t it? <sarcasm> We’ve posted before about GPS and Irene Paige’s  incompetent  anemic marketing. It’s insulting to other teachers, schools, parents, dogs and cats. Even the usual acolytes have noticed, and Irene has trotted around to silly Facebook groups to defend her inexplicably bad marketing campaigns. But that’s a story for another day.

Today, let’s examine the letter from the Very Important GCA Teacher about how gosh-darn UNFAIR it is that the Superintendent and Governing Board won’t do what she wants done for GCA:

Each successive year we have been forced to accept more students than can safely and effectively be taught using our educational model and in our facility. I was hired in 2007 with the expectation that I be willing to teach 6 periods per day no matter what subject matter or grade level I taught (for no additional compensation); the tradeoff being that my class sizes would be smaller than at a comprehensive school.

In addition, I would always have less classroom time (average 47 minutes versus the 55 minutes in a comprehensive school) due to the extra credits our 7-12 students must take. I was eager because I knew that with twenty to twenty-five students in a classroom, it allowed for Socratic-style learning with seminars and discussions and a higher degree of individual interactions with the students since we are all-honors/Advanced Placement classes.

I worked bell to bell and accomplished more on average because of the focus I was able to give directly to the students. I could comfortably integrate one-to-one technology and work directly with my students more often to take advantage of teachable moments.

Okay, GPS teachers, you really need to talk to this Very Important GCA Teacher about how to improve her teaching skills within the challenge of *large* classes that now exist in all GPS schools:

How can I be reasonably expected to do my job with thirty or more students crowded into a portable classroom, where simple movement is a challenge much less implementing rigorous standards-based lessons while maintaining appropriate classroom behavior and student engagement? I am responsible for 176-196 students in any given week. That means more assignments, more assessments and more data to evaluate on an ongoing basis for less compensation than my colleagues at the comprehensive schools. This begs the obvious questions, “Why do we force more students into our system than we can reasonably handle?” “Why are we expanding instead of providing the resources necessary to do it the right way at the more appropriate size?”

While you’re at it, perhaps this Socratic teacher needs some help with the concept of *non-sequitur,* but since this is just a rant, we’ll faithfully repeat exactly what she wrote:

Our teachers and parents are very vocal about what we see as the fundamentals of GCA and one of the most important is our overall size. We purposefully have our student body wear uniforms so that the distraction of clothes and competition can be minimized, but that also makes our kids stand out.

That is one of the reasons a “school within a school” is absolutely inconceivable. To put any other school or “program” with our students should not be a consideration under any circumstances. GCA students have often been referred to as “the nerd school” by other GPS students and by their parents. It is unpleasant to hear them minimized because their prowess does not lie on the athletic field. Forcing shared facilities would foster an “us and them” mentality and break up the community we strive to create.

Now we get to her real argument: GCA was never intended to have a lot of students, which meant GCA teachers would teach the small groups they prefer:

One of the biggest draws for our parents and one of the benefits I used to enjoy with a reasonable school population was the ability to get to know and interact with a large majority of the students throughout their GCA 7-12 career. The relationships that I could develop were greatly enhanced and it added positively to the overall commitment to the 10 Traits of virtue that previously were a hallmark of our student body.

We’ve laughed at the many times The Chosen Ones have referred reverently to *the GPS way* as a virtue. Now we discover GCA has a new and improved way, the GCA way! BTW, this Very Important Teacher says that concept is getting lost in the growing crowd.

Fewer and fewer of our students know and understand the “GCA Way” because they are starting to get lost in an ever growing crowd. Our students depend on the focused environment our small-school community was designed to be and trying to share facilities with any other “filler” or “ala carte” program would be a disservice to everyone.

The small school community is intentional providing a focused academic learning environment to students who want the challenge and the rigor. We are not the 1% or the elite of our district. Many of our students would not qualify for gifted or honors classes at any comprehensive junior or senior high school much less in all core academic subjects. We represent all socio-economic levels, races and bring in out of district students with our reputation. We also have first or second generation college students who see a future they never imagined for themselves before attending GCA.

I firmly disagree with the idea that our ideal size is 750 students. That would require a watering down of the relationships that are fundamental to creating our campus community and would greatly impact the graduating classes. We have a unique and very special graduation ceremony that could not be continued with such a high number of graduates. We also would have a much harder time facilitating the mandatory Senior Thesis Project which is run through our Service Learning classes. The staffing and work load would pose a tremendous difficulty.

The muck is getting thick, ladies and gentlemen. We’ll continue with the specific demands of this Very Important GCA Teacher in our next post. #SAVEGJHS

A Very Important Gilbert Classical Academy Teacher Speaks Out #1

GCA is going to be up in arms now that the Governing Board of Gilbert Public Schools has kicked the can down the road again! Yep, at the January 2016 board meeting, the one where the final decision was to be made about a new campus for GCA, Superintendent Christina Kishimoto got cold feet and asked the board to approve a new round of *finalists* instead of making the final decision, as had been scheduled for months. This means GPS unnecessarily will be consumed with outrage, conflict and contention for at least two more months. You should have ripped the bandage off and dealt with the fallout, you wimps who created this situation. 

There is no way that GCA will have a new campus for the 2016-2017 school year, simply because there has not been a final decision made that would allow massive construction contracting to be unleashed. Now even the superintendent’s favorite Political Action Committee contributors are going to be irritated, if not downright mad. This is not what they expected in return for getting more tax money … for the kids.

GCA parents have been in an uproar since their failed attempt to take over Gilbert Junior High School in 2012. Apparently, they’ve got pals on the GPS Governing Board who are fixated on getting revenge on that undeserving *ghetto* school that stood in the way of GCA back then. It appears that now, GPS has some scheming going on … who knows what they’re really going to do? Whatever it is, it will be spending more money on a privileged few GCA students while insulting 99% of all GPS students. #GPScantaffordGCA

Birdies chirp that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s plans have been in a tailspin about GCA since her *alleged* boyfriend, former Executive Director of Technology Steve Smith, who happens to be a former GCA parent to boot, resigned suddenly … two days after the anonymous letter about their *alleged* inappropriate relationship was made public. Now, the school district that was supposed to cement Christina Kishimoto’s national reputation while highlighting her technology savvy is going down the drain. Maybe it’s Karma for the barely-literate, unlicensed in Arizona school district superintendent who went around acting like she discovered the Internet … in 2014. Remember the days when Silly Jilly Humpherys and Lily Tram insisted that the new superintendent have an Arizona Superintendent License? Sigh, Christina Kishimoto cannot qualify for that license because she has never, ever taught in any classroom, according to her resume.

A Very Important Teacher at Gilbert Classical Academy recently instructed the Governing board and Superintendent Christina Kishimoto on what GCA needs from them … making it very easy for them to just do as she says. We’re going to be featuring parts of this public record letter to the board in several posts; it will take that long to get through the long list of homework the teacher assigned to her bosses. If they don’t do as she instructs them, it will be the end of the world as we know it.

I am writing this letter to express my serious concerns about the future of Gilbert Classical Academy. Based on the information regarding facility options as well as the commentary by Mr. Hood and other District representatives to the staff, parents and public in the recent weeks it has become very obvious that the decision makers are considering fundamental changes to the GCA educational model which will, in effect, end our school as the concept it was approved to be.

As a founding faculty member, nine year veteran teacher and department head, I have seen multiple changes in administration both at our school level and at District level. I and my colleagues have been called upon to mentor and educate new staff as to our mission, vision and what makes GCA the successful school that it has proven to be.

This teacher shakes her finger at the Governing Board and Superintendent because they have been making poor decisions. Morale is low at GCA. So what else is new that isn’t true across the entire school district? GPS is shedding students and teachers at unprecedented rates. But GCA is *special* and this teacher feels GCA is not getting enough respect. Question: are any employees who don’t work in the White Castle getting the respect they’re due? Rhetorical question; of course not. Otherwise low morale and plummeting retention rates across the district would not exist, whether for students or teachers.

I have been a committed part of this school long enough to see the impact of poor decisions and the erosion of morale. Despite the fact that we are nationally recognized and have successfully prepared five graduating classes for higher education seems to mean nothing. We are told “studies show this is the best number…” or “we’ve seen this work back East…” Why isn’t the simple, honest facts, our test scores and testimonials of graduates to our hard work and the dedication of our faculty, staff and families not getting the credit and due respect we have earned?

Shocking as it may be to this teacher, GPS Superintendent Christina Kishimoto really, really wants to open a gifted-only high school. Probably junior high, as well. It isn’t cheap to buy off donors  placate contributors   please the board members who staunchly defend the superintendent no matter what the circumstances. In this context, you also have to please the puppeteer  ghostwriter  supporter who scripts *spontaneous remarks* for board members to read. That’s an iffy proposition, as we’ve all seen that Silly Jilly Humpherys can’t always read on command. But she can babble on forever!

Based on a recent email survey for parents of ALP students, I was shocked to learn that GPS is planning to organize a gifted-only secondary school which would possibly be in direct competition with us. I’m baffled to understand what this and other decisions such as the recent changes in Special Education and regular education classrooms will mean for all students at Gilbert Public Schools.

This Very Important GCA teacher also is sick and tired of the “sub-standard facility” in which GCA lives, and has lived since it was opened.

GCA has endured a sub-standard facility for nearly five years as the district leaders have made financial and ideological decisions that have a direct impact on my classroom. I can understand and respect the financial crisis that the district has been weathering, but that reasoning only goes so far. We have been told to “adapt”, “cope” and continue to produce the truly remarkable academic successes that our community has come to expect out of our school without easing our burdens or even maintaining the status quo!

There’s a brand-new shiny magnificent facility opening in August 2016 very close to the two locations that have been nominated for closing  are being considered for repurposing as GCA. The problem for GPS now is that the new Legacy Traditional School K-8 campus will have at least a full year to attract families and students from GPS during the school closure period and turmoil about GCA. Looking at the offerings, GCA will lose the cream of the crop of top students, especially the 20% total of out of district students that GPS Top Dogs want you to believe are bringing in money for all the excessive costs of GCA. Pay attention, Christina Kishimoto, this is really bad news for your plans for GPS that now are mired in unrelenting turmoil:

The charter school network touts a rigorous, back-to-basics curriculum, with an emphasis on values such as patriotism and civic responsibility.  The planned schools will be two stories, with higher grades upstairs and lower grades below. Other features include a computer lab, library, gymnasium, kitchen and cafeteria and athletic fields for baseball, soccer and football, plus outdoor basketball courts and playgrounds separated by grade level. Both schools will provide the option of specialized tracks for students who want to focus on performing arts or fitness and athletics. The Chandler school will be at 1900 N. McQueen Road. [Note: photo from quoted article.]

LegacyCharterSchool

Next time, we’ll let the Very Important GCA Teacher tell you how huge her classes are and how hard she works. #SAVEGJHS

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.

schoolenrollmentprojections

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!>.

CloseJrHighCosts-Jan2016

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

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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.

AppliedEconomicspayment

 

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…

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*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.

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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.

SuperDork-Aussies
       (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!


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