GPS Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s Education Reforms: Pokemon GO

Students pay the price when the school district is adjudged criminally incompetent by citizens; those kids will never get back the years of their lives and educational potential that were squandered by a high-priced *reformer* whose sole objective, apparently, was to shake things up to see what would happen. Now that GPS Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has an employment contract extending through 2019, she might have to do something she’s never done before: clean up her own messes. 

Unfortunately for GPS, Kishimoto has shown no capability of recognizing, let alone repairing, what’s now broken in the formerly “A” rated school district that has suffered greatly under her *bleedership.* The picture of Kishimoto’s presentation at her expensive convocation is worth a thousand words: Christina Kishimoto is going to *reform* education in Gilbert Public Schools through Pokemon GO. What more could go wrong in a school district where parents are already upset with catastrophic failures of porn filters on student electronic devices and GPS email systems? So now GPS believes that Pokemon GO is the answer to the dilemmas inept admins faced with bringing 1:1 technology to students:

Every virtual Pokémon placed around the world is free advertising for toys, clothing, accessories, movies, apps, videos, games, and more.  Policy changes will only come about through a concerted and coordinated effort from advocates currently working on seemingly diverse issues such as protecting children, privacy, and public space, and limiting corporate power, commercialism, and excessive attachment to screens.

Gilbert Public schools just can’t figure out how to use all that technology taxpayers bought with a tax override and new bond issue. An example: it’s been more than a month since the new website was *revealed,*  and the new website still sucks, even though Christina Kishimoto promised the board back in May 2016 that the new district website and school sites would be ready for the first day of school. That’s what happens when an ignorant superintendent (who thinks she discovered the internet) puts a technology project into the hands of incompetent sycophants (who don’t know their elbows from their asterisks) in the name of “communication matters.” This ridiculous situation was entirely foreseeable, but no one in the GPS administration will even admit how badly screwed up things are. Yet they wonder why students, parents and teachers are leaving the district in droves.

Things are so bad in terms of the GPS website and related technological incompetence, Kishimoto’s minion Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige sent out an email to parents on August 4, 2016:

Good Afternoon Parents,
We hope you had a successful start to the new school year.  As you may be aware, we have launched a new website for Gilbert Public Schools.  It is still a work in progress as we migrate a massive amount of content into the new sites.  We appreciate your patience as we continue to improve this great new website.  If you can’t find something, please do not hesitate to call your school, or send an email to As a reminder, please clear out your favorites tab, bookmark, cache etc., and re-enter  That will ensure you do not have the old site pop up.  Once our sites are fully operational, we will offer Parent night training to help you get the most out of the new sites.
Thank you again for all of your support.
Irene Mahoney-Paige
Director of Communications

Seeing as how the *great new website* shows the public just how inept the current GPS administration is, you would think that even the most bumbling idiot would try to give the struggling webmaster some space. Then maybe, with the magic of unicorn farts and pixie dust, the poor webmaster could just focus on trying to get current information online. But no, since the *under construction* website was made public, and even now that the *under construction* signs have been removed, various GPS admins tell anybody and everybody to email the webmaster so said GPS admins can claim that it’s all someone else’s problem, but they *solved* it. Yeah, sure, and one of these days, maybe all of the web pages will function properly and have relevant content.

Maybe someone should tell Superintendent Christina Kishimoto that the public does the ROFLAO number every time she talks about the new and exciting GPS website. Yeah, that will really happen. No one is going to tell Queen Christina that she has no clothes.

“The Emperor Has No Clothes” is often used in political and social contexts for any obvious truth denied by the majority despite the evidence of their eyes, especially when proclaimed by the government.

And maybe Christina Kishimoto will realize she is the root cause of what’s wrong with GPS now that she’s had two years on the job. Here’s a tip: it doesn’t matter how many times you say something that’s not true, it won’t become true simply because you are wishing really, really hard. [See above commentary about unicorn farts and pixie dust, which won’t work in this case, either.]

With what taxpayers are paying Christina Kishimoto, you would think things would be better than the current GPS Management by Wishful Thinking. A prime example is the new influx of money from Prop 123 — which won’t hit teacher’s pockets until the end of October.  It’s pretty clear that Kishimoto wanted to hold that money back while she waited for the results of the November 2016 election, but the criticism got to be too much for Her Highness. To be sure, Kishimoto has played fast and loose in local election politics in the past, so why stop now?

Here’s what the community is saying about the long, long wait for putting Prop 123 funds in teachers’ hands and into classrooms (at least, the part of the funds that are going to classrooms, but that’s another story: 

I fully understand the skepticism of the public regarding 123 funding when too much of it is going outside the classroom. Prop 123 was sold as the way to improve teacher pay, and hopefully in the next school board election, voters will support candidates who will give much more to teachers and staff.

This is why we have lost community support ~ every time you tell the public that this proposition or that bond will help teachers in the classroom and they vote for it, then the teacher doesn’t actually benefit, voters get mad…I don’t blame them. Misrepresentation has degraded community trust.
Spending way too much on technology. Any successful business person will tell you the most important piece to a company is people. Business drives technology. Technology should never drive business. [Also true in public schools!]
Kishimoto had her contract renewed a year early and included for herself a substantial raise. This seems woefully backwards; our teachers still make less than the surrounding districts and there is a huge turnover rate with both teachers and within the business department.

We’ll close with prescient words from local media celebrity Mike McClellan:

The board majority seems to have bought into the Innovation/Technology emphasis the district administration has pushed. Two things about that.

One is that if GPS believes that those two areas will make us competitive, I’d like to know which of the district’s competitors are outstanding in those areas. Which districts and charters are leaders in those areas, taking kids from us? I don’t believe the district has done any kind of formal exit interviews with parents who are taking kids out of GPS, so I wonder why innovation/technology became the big emphasis.

And secondly, and more importantly, a district can have all kinds of bells and whistles, but the district needs outstanding teachers and building administrators to make those bells and whistles work. I don’t believe the board majority understands that, though I’m not sure about Dr. Santa Cruz, because every time he speaks, he speaks in educationalese that often is difficult to parse.

Again, if the board in fact will have the almost $3 million from Prop. 123 funds next year that they are using this year for the trust fund, that money should be used for salaries, excluding the superintendent and cabinet, who are already well-compensated. Why? Because at the bottom, parents and students bond with teachers and principals and not bells and whistles. Keep our outstanding teachers and building principals and you have a better chance of retaining students. Dr. Santa Cruz ought to know that.

The simplest tasks become impossible in the hands of  idiots, even if they generally are well-meaning people. Board member Jill Humpherys thinks those idiots should be working at Walmart. We agree: send the GPS Top Dogs (who are most assuredly NOT well-meaning people) to work in Walmart!

To Parents of GPS Students: Watch Your Kid’s Chromebook and Your Wallet!

To parents of 8th graders who will be getting their same Chromebook back from last year: check your child’s Chromebook for damage as soon as it is issued to your child. The district had so many damaged Chromebooks that they couldn’t repair all of them. They repaired just ones that didn’t work. Those that were damaged but still worked (like those with cracked cases) were sent back to schools without being repaired. WARNING: those Chromebooks are being given back to students as-is. Parents who sign the form accepting responsibility for damages should know that you might be getting a Chromebook that already has unrepaired damages from last year.

This is vital news for parents of students in Gilbert Public Schools: Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s new revenue stream for Chromebook *insurance* was designed to grab MORE of your your money … because she can.  Parents are warning each other about the immutable, built-in *extra money for GPS* aspects of this nefarious Chromebook Protection Plan, so pay attention and spread the word!

This obvious money-grabbing ploy begs the question: If GPS Tech Services didn’t have enough staff to repair damage to two grade levels of Chromebooks last year, how will they repair twice as many this year? Remember, for the 2015-2016 school year, GPS issued Chromebooks to 7th and 8th graders only. Unofficial reports indicated a 75% damage rate for the devices … during the first year of operation, while the Chromebooks were under warranty.  There are no *official* reports of Chromebook unreliability, because GPS doesn’t want that information out in public. Nope, it would prove that the GPS Great Chromebook Rollout was never going to succeed because GPS admins didn’t know what they were doing. They just flew by the seat of their pants. Now their pants are on fire.

One of Christina Kishimoto’s demands before this school year started was to authorize a new repair technician position — obviously, even Queen Christina was aware that her Chromebook initiative was flailing and failing. The GPS governing board, as always, granted Kishimoto’s wishes. Unlike the previous school year, not all of this year’s Chromebooks are new and under warranty. So there’s ONE new repair technician in GPS Tech Services, but more than TWICE as many Chromebooks issued to GPS students. Use your critical thinking skills on this question: “How can Kishimoto’s Chromebook initiative succeed under these circumstances?” Answer: “It won’t.”

Apparently, one way Kishimoto’s money-grubbing Top Dogs have figured out to take your money is by issuing a broken Chromebook to your student (don’t think for a minute that GPS will limit the distribution of broken Chromebooks to 8th graders who had the same Chromebook last year). When the least little thing goes wrong with that Chromebook if you didn’t pay GPS protection money, and POW!!! Parents are on the hook for unlimited repair costs, solely determined by the technician whose job might depend on amassing enough fees to pay for that *repair* position in GPS Tech Services. Most likely, since this will be another unaccountable slush fund, Christina Kishimoto will scoop it up for other purposes, like the free lunches she feeds herself and her favorites pretty much every day of the week.

Board President Lily Tram will go all out to give cover to her BFF, Christina Kishimoto, as usual, even though Tram knows full well the intricacies of publicly funded educational institution financing. In her day job, Tram is responsible for a lot of the financial oversight at Arizona State University that Gilbert Public Schools has never seemed to implement. To be fair, Tram has run interference this way for other GPS superintendents, but never on the scale of corruption that has become the norm since Christina Kishimoto appeared on the scene.

A message from GPS board member Julie Smith shows that Kishimoto’s staff already hogtied parents with this protection racket is the answer to, *What’s the worst that can happen?* The worst is that Kishimoto’s new revenue stream scheme already has been adopted as GPS board policy and there is NO LIMIT to the amount of so-called damages that parents can be assessed, starting with an over-priced assessment for a new Chromebook. They’re counting on the fact that parents won’t know what Chromebooks actually cost on the open market ($150) or what private insurance would cost for a Chromebook ($25-$40). Parents have no recourse and kids can’t bring their own Chromebooks to school, ether.

Dear Parents,
Thank you for the questions and feedback on the Device Protection Plan. While answering questions concerning a lost device, we discovered a discrepancy that caused confusion. The Device Protection Plan does NOT cover a lost device. If the device is lost, a fee of $200 will be assessed.
Click here for the GPS Student Device Handbook 16-17

Brilliant, GPS. Let’s continue with what parents are saying about this atrocious Chromebook Revenue Stream:

Yes, there’s something about a police report needs to be taken if it is stolen. Can we file a police report on an item that doesn’t belong to us?
Yes, you’re reading it right. Also, if you sign the paper and accept one without purchasing the protection plan, you entrust the GPS techs to determine if damage is under manufacturer warranty, or if you have to pay for the repair. Each repair can have a new fee, so no limit to possible repair bills in a year. You’re free to purchase your own so you have something to show for your money – but you can only use it at home, not at school. You can’t bring your own device to use at school. Oh boy.
I don’t know that I trust them to determine the origin of damage. They didn’t do a good job of this last year.
I was told 1,500 of them were sent back to the manufacturer under the warranty, but 90% were beyond repair.
This year 7-10th grade will receive Chromebooks. All but one grade will receive the ones they received last year. The cracked/damaged ones will be given to the elementary schools. One issue with this is the district didn’t plan for the charging carts going to elementary schools. Therefore they will be getting a lot of Chromebooks but no way to charge them.

The life expectancy of the Chromebook varies depending on who you talk to in the district. I have been told two years as well as four years. I would love to know how many of these Chromebooks ended up in what’s been titled “The Chromebook Graveyard.” Last year, my child’s Chromebook broke four times. GPS finally gave a a loaner, in December. By January our school was out of loaners. My child used that loaner until the end of the school year. GPS never brought back the original Chromebook.
The estimates for Chromebook damages is around 70%. They were not well vetted and GPS still does not have an IT department capable of handling this much technology, but they do have several other new administrative positions! Oh, and Kishimoto had her contract renewed a year early and included for herself a substantial raise. This seems woefully backwards to me, as our teachers still make less than the surrounding districts and there is a huge turnover rate with both teachers and within the business department.
I was contacted by the ASBA who tried to contact our superintendent. They were surprised to be told she doesn’t call parents back. She told me by law the Superintendent has 10 business days to respond to parents. News to me!
The term *textbook* includes digital files. The students are required to use Google Classroom on the Chromebooks, so I would venture to say that the Chromebooks could fall under the textbook definition as students are accessing course material on them.
The term textbook does not include digital files, as interpreted by GPS. Textbooks are required to be approved by a parental board. They have not put the Chromebook programs under the same scrutiny because they are not “textbooks.” It is a loophole that we currently don’t have any laws to cover.

Far too much is done behind closed doors at GPS. It’s hard to know how they interpret the laws, because they don’t just come out and say it. I am aware that the digital textbooks they are using did not go through a parental board for approval.

Hey Jon Castelhano, Executive Director of Technology: were you blindsided by this outrageous scheme to take more, more and more money out of the pockets of parents of GPS students? Or were you in on it from the beginning? Citizens will be watching to see what YOUR reward from your boss will be. Especially since she *allegedly* couldn’t keep her hands off her subordinate  *allegedly* already engaged in an inappropriate relationship with your predecessor dude.

Gilbert Public Schools: one hundred years of tradition unhampered by progress. Or morality. Vote for Westie for Superintendent on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. 

GPS Chromebook *Insurance* – Kishimoto’s New Revenue Stream

Introducing GPS Chromebook Insurance! Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has a new revenue stream so she can scoop up more and bigger bucks for her off-budget *necessities* such as catering her countless official GPS meetings and other accoutrements for her extravagant lifestyle supported by public funds. Although new Chromebooks are under warranty, Christina Kishimoto has figured out a way to squeeze $50 from parents for every student who is issued a GPS Chromebook — even a brand new one. Students are not allowed to use their own electronic devices at school.

Wouldn’t you know it: Chromebooks are back at the forefront of controversies because GPS administrators apparently don’t have the ability to learn from past mistakes. In another post that writes itself, here’s what parents and teachers have to say about the stupidity of the 2016 Chromebook rollout to GPS high school students, with special hatred and ridicule for Kishimoto’s new revenue stream:

Another point about the ‘protection plan’ offered for $50….. What if it’s purchased and never used? Where does that money go? The high schools are rolling out to 9th and 10th graders…. So approx 1400 kids per school? That’s $70,000…. Per school. Times all the high schools and junior highs…. Significant money. What’s the plan? Use that money to replace Chromebooks as they fail? Keep in mind that depending on which board meeting you attended, these devices have a life span of 2-4 years, which means they’re already at 25-50% of their useful lives, so those Chromebooks will need to be replaced. The override funding is supposed to pay for them.
We already paid for these Chromebooks with our tax money. If we these are replacing textbooks, we are not legally obligated to pay either for insurance, or repairs, as we wouldn’t have to pay for wear and tear on physical books. Parents can’t be required to pay for a ‘free and appropriate public education.’ I’m going to write on the permission slip. “I do not have the ability to pay for the insurance plan, and will not cover the cost of repairs. I am not financially liable in any way. My child does have my permission to receive a Chromebook with the understanding that GPS maintain the device and assume the financial responsibility.”
So, did I read it right? pay $50 for a protection plan that doesn’t cover the Chromebook if it is lost or stolen, in which you have to pay $200. So, buy the insurance, lose the device, and now you’re out $250.

Yes, parents can see through Christina Kishimoto’s new revenue stream gambit. We’ll have more information about how Chromebooks have become a flashpoint in GPS since school started … only a week ago. Sheeeesh.

Further, Kishimoto requires that students and their parents sign a nefarious Technology Device User Agreement that allows GPS technicians to decide how much parents will be charged for any repairs to GPS issued Chromebooks. To make things worse, GPS has a one-sided Use of Technology Resources Agreement, again requiring both parent and student signatures. There’s a big long list of *My rights* that people who sign this agreement give up. In return, GPS does nothing to protect the rights of students (or their parents).

BTW, the agreements apply only when GPS wants them to be applicable, and they NEVER apply when Christina Kishimoto’s sycophant Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige violates these policies and agreements. The newest bit of advertising on GPS property is shown below … we sure hope Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige was appropriately rewarded with some plastic surgery for herself in return for placing this ad at GPS Technology Services facing west bound traffic on Elliot and where car/bus traffic enter/exit GCA and Greenfield Elementary School. If this is the case, maybe we will give GPS a pass on more free advertising for Friends of Irene since it was for such a good cause.


What a racket! These circumstances call for a digression so the smoke obscuring Westie’s keyboard can dissipate.

A long, long time ago, I can still remember how … Bonus points if you recognize the opening of American Pie. When Don McLean decided to sell the manuscript of his famous song, he told Christie’s (the auction house handling the sale): “Basically in ‘American Pie,’ things are heading in the wrong direction. It is becoming less idyllic. I don’t know whether you consider that wrong or right but it is a morality song in a sense.” Examples of moral behavior have been conspicuously missing in GPS in recent years while the Loose Zipper Brigade roamed freely through the halls of the White Castle, but Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* inappropriate relationship with her subordinate Charles Stevin Smith took that immoral behavior to a new height. Westie has the remedy: How The Morality Of ‘Star Trek’ Could Help Today’s Chaotic World.

There is a point to Westie’s stroll through American musical and cultural tradition as School Year 2016-2017 begins: Gilbert Public Schools, at least, the top levels of the administration and most of the members of the GPS governing board, have lost the concept of morality in crucial ways. The way that is most concerning as school begins involves issuing Chromebooks [again] to students in Kishimoto’s vaunted 1:1 technology extravapalooza. It seems that Kishimoto and her minions are determined to one-up last year’s Worst Technology Rollout EVER!

Christina Kishimoto’s policy changes are very concerning: the board gives her everything she demands. Events often prove Westie is on to something: at the board meeting just a few days after the Westie post featured below was published, Kishimoto’s Three Votes extended her employment contract (which still had a year to run) until 2019. Perhaps Westie’s prognostication scared the daylights out of Christina Kishimoto:

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

Gilbert Public Schools: one hundred years of tradition unhampered by progress. Or morality. Vote for Westie for Superintendent on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. 

Note to Irene Mahoney-Baloney Paige: Please contact some image consultants and give them lots of free advertising in return for some makeovers of the women at the top levels of GPS. They should start by banning Silly Jilly’s silly red hat.

GPS Screws Up Another Chromebook Rollout

The Great Chromebook Rollout of 2016-2017 is sputtering its way through Gilbert Public Schools, once again showing no one in the GPS administration ever pays a price for screwing up. You would think that, since GPS schools held special events before school started to get their massive amounts of administrivia under control, Chromebooks immediately would have been in the hands of students. After Christina Kishimoto invented the Internet, she waited seven days to invent 1:1 technology, or so she would have you believe. Alas, nothing ever works as planned in Gilbert Public Schools.

Some teachers didn’t get the memo that the inefficient distribution of Chromebooks meant many students have not been issued their own Chromebooks. After all, parents are required to sign forms giving away their firstborn child accepting the GPS Technology Device User Agreement before their kids can receive GPS-owned Chromebooks. Nevertheless, some of those teachers went so gung-ho for Kishimoto’s digital curriculum initiative, they immediately assigned homework that required collaboration among students, all in the name of *digital scholarship.* Since Chromebooks were not universally available to all students, teachers helpfully directed students to use their personal smartphones to get the homework done. Brilliant:

We have to look and ensure that we’re paying attention to what we’re doing, so that we don’t reflexively institute processes and procedures that exclude people without thought. -Sonia Sotomayor

GPS ineptness meant that not all students had Gmail accounts, so it was impossible for all students to access all the nifty GPS resources required to do the homework. Not all students had smartphones, either, so many students were unable to do any homework at all. Some of the kids who do have smartphones operate on a data usage plan that was never envisioned by their parents (who foot the bill for cell phones, whether smart or not). When those data plan consequences become due, we’re going to hear some howling! In many cases, the kids will be explaining to their parents about how their teachers caused the problems, but many parents won’t realize how the outrageous data usage was just business as usual for Gilbert Public Schools. No one in the GPS administration will be called to account for this screw up.

Since kids really, really wanted to get their homework done and make a good first impression on their new teachers [which will last for a week or two, perhaps], kids shared their personal email account information with each other. Gee … didn’t GPS tout that students would be issued Gmail accounts to assure parents that the GPS administration would properly supervise the 1:1 digital learning process? Now that kids have shared their personal email address and other information under the guise of *doing assigned homework,* how long will it take before some unfortunate kid is cyberbullied on said personal email account? Once again, GPS failed to follow through on promises to parents and students that GPS administrators would protect vulnerable students from cyber danger. Once again, no one in the administration will be held accountable for a foreseeable tragedy. GPS admins never pay any price. GPS students are not so *lucky.*

For kids who don’t have cell phones at all, once again it is Haves versus Have Nots — the quality of the educational offerings vary according to the socio-economic status of GPS students and their families. Or according to the strictness of parents who refuse to delegate to GPS their parental duty of supervising their children’s Internet usage. Those parents might have considered opting out of the GPS technology digital scholars rigmarole, but that’s not possible. If you click the image labeled Technology on the GPS Home Page, there is a helpful link to a Technology Opt Out form. If you click the link to the form, you get a Page Not Found message.  Actually, that’s true of all the “Important Files” links helpfully listed on the Technology page. Sheeeesh.

Congratulations, Jon Castelhano, Executive Director of Technology, for being professionally unprepared for the new school year! Reasonable people would have expected that if Chromebooks were so important, the district would have figured out how to get those devices into the hands of students BEFORE teachers assigned homework requiring online collaboration. Reasonable parents expect that they should be able to access information about the GPS Chromebook program and opt out if they so desired.

Once again, it appears that Christina Kishimoto selected a subordinate for reasons other than such a mundane background as technological proficiency, like her former Executive Director of Technology, Charles Stevin Smith. We’re still waiting for GPS to produce public records showing the bonuses and stipends paid to Kishimoto’s favored few in the past two years. Of course, no one is surprised that information has been placed under lock and key, legally or otherwise.

Here’s what TEACHERS are saying about how screwed up the entire GPS focus on *technology* has been:

People who are able to leave will leave as long as the focus on the spending is going to be on technology and not teachers. Class numbers are still high as they are not replacing every teacher who left this last year. We hear the term *data driven practices* from administration in our teaching yet there is not one study that shows 1:1 with computers will increase achievement. There are plenty of studies though that show lower class size does increase achievement. Maybe the 1:1 needs to come closer with students and teachers and not students and computers. I am not against technology but I am against replacing teachers with it, with not funding extra curricular adequately with it and making it a focal point for a PR move.

Place your bets, folks! Which will happen first this school year?

A. Kids will defeat inept GPS filters and access porn on their GPS issued Chromebooks, or

B. Kids will discover teacher and/or admin login information and send out porn over GPS servers.

An even bigger jackpot goes to the person who correctly predicts the date(s) on which either or both of those two events occur!

Get Your FREE Advertising from Gilbert Public Schools!

Free advertising!  Kiss Christina Kishimoto’s ring — the one she keeps in her back pocket — and your business can be featured in an email blast to ALL GPS EMPLOYEES! Email for this fabulous freebie!

Even if giving out preferential free advertising to *special* people and *favorite* businesses looks, smells, and quacks like illegal conduct when a public officer engages in such behavior, it’s not illegal when the Gilbert Public Schools superintendent or her favorite minion does it. <Wink, wink.>

“But that’s using using public resources for private gain!” Ah, but we all know that Christina Kishimoto treats GPS as her fiefdom. If she (or her minion, Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige) decides to grace a local business, you know it’s for a good reason. <Another wink, wink.>

“Isn’t that also using the employee’s position to solicit for personal gain or for purchase of goods or services? Isn’t that against GPS policy?” Of course it is! GPS Policy GBEB has been used in the past to terminate employment, or at least, to attempt to terminate employment of employees. Here’s what the policy says: “Avoid using position for personal gain through political, social, religious, economic, or other influence.” Also, “Inappropriate use of technology equipment or the District’s electronic information system” is listed as an example of misconduct.

GPS Policy GBEF gets more specific: “District employees … shall not use District-owned or provided technologies to endorse or promote a product, a cause, political position or candidate.” By golly, there must be an exception for soliciting for favorite businesses offering services rather than products, but Westie hasn’t found it. Westie can’t find a provision for charging advertising fees to said businesses for sending out email blasts to all employees (about 5,000), either, so it must be free for all who ask.

Then there’s GPS Policy GBEBC: Gifts to and Solicitations by Staff Members. It has an entire section dealing with prohibited solicitations using district resources like the automated system for sending email to all employees:

A school employee’s position in the District shall not be used to influence parents or students to purchase books or other merchandise, except for materials approved by the Superintendent for use in the classroom.
Staff-member solicitation(s) of other employees for any outside profit, nonprofit, or charitable groups, institutions, or organizations must have the approval of the Superintendent’s designee.
Employees may not solicit students for any outside profit, nonprofit, charitable groups, institutions, or organizations.
Employees shall not use automated systems to solicit the purchase of goods or services, including survey information for the purchase of goods or services (i.e. push poll).

“What does soliciting for *special* local businesses do to advance the mission of Gilbert Public Schools, which is to educate students?” That’s a tough question, but we’re sure that it’s just too difficult for ordinary people to understand, so GPS will continue the free advertising unabated by such niceties as following laws that prohibit government-paid employees from plundering government-financed resources. Of course, public funds include every single dollar that passes through GPS coffers, but Kishimoto’s Three Votes on the governing board have abdicated their responsibilities for using public funds appropriately and in accordance with the law. If Christina Kishimoto wants something, the governing board dances to her tune.

“Which businesses receive such largess from Gilbert Public Schools?” Now we’re getting to the crux of this problem. Who gets to pick and choose which businesses get this free advertising? Is this freebie limited to businesses in Gilbert, Arizona? Or to members of the Chamber of Commerce, comprised of some of Christina Kishimoto’s best buddies who think she’s worthy of nomination as Businesswoman of the Year? <This merited Westie’s Raspberry Award for having separate categories for men and women. In this day and age. Sheeeeesh. Why not CofC Prom King/Queen?>

Shout out to members of the Gilbert Town Council: if any of you are BFFs with Christina Kishimoto, perhaps you could explain to her the code of ethics to which you adhere in your behavior as a public officer.  It seems that Gilbert Public Schools doesn’t bother with such niceties as a genuine code of ethics that’s actually enforced, at least, not where the Top Dogs like Christina Kishimoto are concerned.

A new Mesa business recently was the object of Irene Mahoney-Baloney-Paige’s affections, leading to free advertising on the GPS Electronic Information System. Here’s the email blast (click image to enlarge):


Would you be surprised to know that GPS has ANOTHER policy prohibiting this abuse of public property (the GPS email system) for the private gain of Locks & Tots Hair Studio? 

GPS Policy IJNDB, which includes: 

Electronic Information Services
The district provides Electronic Information Services (EIS) to students, teachers, staff members, and other authorized community members in order to improve learning, teaching, and efficiency of the district’s operations. EIS helps accomplish these goals by:

Fostering interpersonal communication;
Providing access to a wide variety of information resources, applications, research and teacher training; and
Promoting collaboration and dissemination of successful educational practices, methods, and materials.

EIS exists for limited educational purposes and may only be used for educational purposes. The term “educational purposes” includes classroom activities, career or professional development, district operations, limited high-quality personal research and other work-related purposes.

Acceptable and authorized use of EIS is defined as use in direct support of the district’s stated educational vision, mission, goals and policies. Any use outside of that scope is considered unacceptable and unauthorized.

Unfortunately for this hapless business, which seems to have a terrific business model, GPS favoritism makes it appear that there’s something going on under the table. It looks like GPS can sully the best of reputations. Beware: You are known by the company you keep. But we digress.

In comparison, Northern Arizona University states clearly the same issues we discuss here, but our experience is that GPS has only a passing familiarity, if any at all, with the word *integrity:*

The university expects administrative officers and other employees of the university to be independent and impartial in all actions involving the use of public resources, that public office or employment not be used for private gain, and that there be complete public confidence in the integrity of the university.

Gilbert Public Schools: “We don’t need no stinking rules for inhabitants of the White Castle!” The GPS administration can’t figure out why GPS is bleeding students and employees. Sheeeesh.

– apologists, don’t waste your breath trying to rationalize that other school districts do this. At most, other districts have a private web page listing all available discounts, which apparently has some sort of guidance for which businesses or services are included in such lists. Perhaps it’s well-meaning, but it’s still wrong. We also know that GPS used public resources to create an exclusive *Craig’s List” of goodies offered for sale to other GPS employees. That’s an even bigger wrong. But it’s business as usual in GPS. <sigh>

How GPS Scraped the Bottom of the Superintendent Candidate Barrel in 2014

It appears Christina Kishimoto, a legend in her own mind, adopted former president Richard Nixon’s mantra: “It’s not illegal if the superintendent does it.” Perhaps Kishimoto is ignorant of the fact that most Americans rejected Nixon’s claims of an imperial presidency ruled by a despot unaccountable to the law. 

Some of the apologists for Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto, a group of *cool kids* that includes board president Tram, say that Kishimoto was hired because no one else would take the job. Westie calls BS on that, as well as on the GPS excuses for not complying with Open Meeting Laws and other behavior that is or should be illegal when public servants engage in it. From contemporary news articles about the 80 or more candidates for GPS superintendent in 2014:

The board heard a brief update on the search for the new superintendent. Burk said the search firm had received 80 applications and had narrowed them down to 10 potential candidates. The board will review the applications and resumes in executive session on Thursday with the search firm. Smith said she wanted to review all 80 applications.

Gilbert Public Schools’ governing board is interviewing three more semi-finalists for district superintendent in addition to the five it already has interviewed.

See how easy it was to disprove the false assertion that Kishimoto was hired because no one else wanted the job? Actually, it appears that Kishimoto was desperate to get a job, any job as a superintendent, because she had been fired in Hartford, Connecticut. But once Kishimoto was settled in Gilbert, Arizona, her old, lawless ways traveled with her. Now, Gilbert taxpayers are footing some unnecessary legal  bills because Christina Kishimoto thinks she is as *imperial* as Richard Nixon thought he was.

Christina Kishimoto’s legal problems in Gilbert, Arizona have, for the most part, occurred outside of courtrooms, but taxpayers are paying increasing amounts for “prepaid legal services” to keep the GPS board and administration out of legal trouble. At the most recent GPS board meeting, documents that were provided with agenda items showed that GPS is now paying something like $150,000 per year for those prepaid legal services, which are capped at $300,000.

When Westie started tracking GPS legal bills in the 2011-2012 school year, those prepaid legal services cost *only* about $75,000, up from about $50,000 in previous years. But who’s counting the four teachers who could be hired for that same amount of money? Or the five or more full-time support staffers who could be hired for that same amount of money? Or the many part-time bus drivers, or the cafeteria workers? Notice how that $150,000 is pretty close to the salary paid to the Top Dogs and even their Lap Dogs when bonuses and stipends are added to the pay? Sheeeeesh.

This school board has paid dearly for failing to follow Arizona Open Meeting Laws; the district had to foot the bill for the attorney who provided *monitoring* ordered by the AZ Attorney General. The governing board couldn’t keep their act clean during that monitoring period that started sometime in September 2015 or thereabouts. These new violations *excused* by the Attorney General, apparently without noticing that GPS was operating under a monitoring agreement because of their earlier scofflaw attitude, meant that GPS got away with a slap on the hands. What should enrage the public, especially taxpayers, is that this occurred after paying MORE big bucks to the attorney who persuaded the AG staff to let GPS off one more time. You can bring a horse to water…  Sheeeeesh.

See the Attorney General letter at this link, describing pretzel-like contortions by GPS to avoid yet ANOTHER substantiated Open Meeting Law violation:

(1) An executive session for “discussion or consideration of Superintendent Performance Standards.” The Attorney General reviewed the minutes from the executive session (which are so secret, they’d have to kill you if they told you what they really did in the name of conducting the business of the public). The AG decided the discussion “concerned the Superintendent’s performance as it related to the deliverables.” Sure it did. Note that the Attorney General staffer, Debra Sterling, apparently skirted the issue of whether the minutes that were reviewed were authentic: “appear to corroborate.” Yeah, that was a hot potato; touching it could cause a reasonable person to believe that GPS didn’t change behavior even after OML training and Attorney General monitoring. Knowing what we all know about GPS past practices of forging records, do you believe those GPS minutes of the challenged executive session were authentic? Especially seeing as how the board had recently approved Christina Kishimoto’s performance pay at the May 26, 2015 meeting? Yeah, someone(s) got their ethics contorted into pretzels to get out of this OML violation.

Keyboard: Notice how the governing board won’t tell the public how much money the superintendent receives as performance pay?
Westie: GPS hides how much it actually pays the Top Dogs – probably because what GPS pays is far more than what their contracts provide. What GPS public employees actually are paid has reached new levels of secrecy … starting with Christina Kishimoto herself and the amount of money she actually has been paid by Gilbert taxpayers. Her fringe benefits must be as legendary as the *largess* Sleazy Steve Smith received while he *worked* under her!

(2) Meeting minutes from the November 25, 2015 meeting not available. AZ law required those minutes to be available to the public within three days. GPS finally posted the video recording of he meeting on January 12, 2016. That was 48 days. The Attorney General let GPS off the hook again; the dodge this time: “The delay was caused by a combination of technology issues, personnel issues and the winter break.” Once again, “technology issues” could lead a reasonable citizen to conclude that Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s *alleged* inappropriate relationship with Charles Stevin Smith, the GPS Director of Technology, blinded her to technology failures that were rampant across the district. Once again, we’re struck by how *special* Sleazy Steve Smith’s talents must be, because he sure couldn’t keep the GPS trains running on time (so to speak).

Once upon a time, Dr. Charles Santa Cruz enjoyed a sterling reputation — he earned it through decades of service as a dedicated educator.  Dr. Charles Santa Cruz threw away his reputation one vote at a time, focusing on *optics* rather than doing his duty to the students of Gilbert Public Schools and the citizens that he was supposed to serve. Isn’t it a shame that Charlie is throwing away his good name and reputation as he kowtows before Christina Kishimoto, who never taught a day in her life, doesn’t have an Arizona certificate as a superintendent, and doesn’t give a flying flip  care about the damage she has inflicted on a once stellar school district.

Now Gilbert Public Schools is reaping what Christina Kishimoto’s Three Votes have sowed. Dr. Charles Santa Cruz will never regain the public trust. Or rescue his own reputation. That’s too bad, because the other two legs of Christina Kishimoto’s three legged stool never had reputations to begin with.

We’re looking at you, board president Lily Tram, Director of Finance at Arizona State University, who would never countenance in her day job the kind of lawless behavior she rewards when GPS administrators engage in it. It looks like Tram pulled off a great bait-and-switch:

[Tram is] looking forward to using her financial expertise on the board, especially as budget talks begin. Tram is a senior financial services manager for Arizona State University. She has worked at ASU since 1989 as an accountant, director of fiscal and business services, and financial accounting manager.

[Tram] also said her accounting and budgeting background and her experiences with ASU would be an asset to the Gilbert school board. Blake Sacha, one of the original four finalists, said in his 20 years in the business world, the school district’s selection process “was the least professional process” in which he had been involved.

And we’re looking at you, board clerk Jill Humpherys, who jumps to excuse Christina Kishimoto’s behavior whenever anyone offers the slightest criticism. Oh yeah, we’re also looking at Jill Humpherys’ repeated failures to do her job as clerk and review GPS expenditures. Silly Jilly doesn’t *do* the hard work like numbers, and hasn’t since she found out at college graduation that as a teacher, she would have to actually work. We know because Silly Jilly tells the public such stories with her silly giggles as punctuation. We also know that you have a hard time believing that Silly Jilly graduated from college.

The prices you pay for the company you keep! Your mothers could have warned you, Charles Santa Cruz, Lily Tram and Jill Humpherys. Actually, your mothers probably did just that and you disrespected that advice.

We’ll be looking at you, board members elected in November 2016, because that’s what Westie does.  You could have elected Westie as GPS Superintendent! <sigh>.

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

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

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

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

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

Background of the Hartford criminal issue: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christina Kishimoto’s Record of Failure in Gilbert Public Schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Greedy Million Dollar Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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