What They Were Trying to Keep Secret at the GPS Governing Board Retreat

We posted about the Gilbert Public Schools’ Board on the Run a while back. Now we’ll examine some of the information the board reviewed during that schmooozy little getaway hosted by Grand Canyon University, a private religious institution of higher education. We heard that GCU gave GPS the meeting room and catered meals for free. Of course we all believe there was no quid pro quo, don’t we?

There was a perfectly good board room at the corner of Elliott and Gilbert that didn’t get used. Such a waste. Don’t you just love how the Governing Board simply refuses to have an invocation before their regular meetings but chooses to partner and schmooze with two religious universities? There’s some cognitive dissonance  in  a community with a large LDS population, to be sure. Especially since the multitude of new top dogs in the GPS carpetbagger administration simply don’t understand their community. But by golly, they’re going to reform it all! Enough digression.

First up, there were plenty of reasons the board wanted to meet in secret, 30 miles away from the district they serve.

  1. The GPS administration presented to the Governing Board just how poorly GPS students are doing on the assessments. Of course they wouldn’t want to present that data here in Gilbert where parents might be interested. The last thing they would have wanted was for that data to be livestreamed for parents to see. The data shows that in many areas students dropped from 70-80% proficiency down to 50-60%. This is AIMS data. An apples to apples comparison. The AIMS was administered but the data wasn’t counted by ADE for school and district scoring since ADE did away with the grade/accountability system for now. The AzMerit scores are expected to be even lower. AzMerit results will not be released for school districts until November 2015 (after the override election).
  2. The GPS administration presented to the board staff survey results. Overall, teachers show low levels of agreement that morale on the part of teachers is high; less than 1 in 3 agreed with this statement. The survey also shows that about 60% of staff members do NOT feel valued or respected by the current school board. Special Ed staff overall report that the district does not supply them with what they need and that they are generally dissatisfied. Now you know why the last governing board meeting featured a *new* agenda item: board president report, during which President Lily Tram thanked GSP employees. Now you know just how genuine that gimmick was.

Now we all understand Christina 3-2 Kishimoto’s desire to present that data at a secret meeting that violated open meeting laws. The GPS Governing Board held this meeting even though they are on “monitoring” by the Arizona Attorney General’s office for continuing open meeting violations.  We’ll devote much more time to the Open Meeting Law violations and AG monitoring soon.

Second thing, and here’s another doozy: while the superintendent rattled off the goals for the Governing Board, the board president had nothing to say. Do you need any more proof that this is Christina and the Rubber Stamps than that? [rhetorical question] Once again, Silly Jilly wanted to reorder goals. Apparently, Silly Jilly can’t focus on more than three goals at one time. Silly Jilly said the data dashboard should be #1 (because they were already halfway through it when she had this brilliant idea) then #2 the demographics projects (which would include the beginning steps of maybe starting to kinda prepare to get organized to think about looking at boundaries) and then #3 find a permanent home for GCA. Why would Silly Jilly want those goals to be the top three?  What a stunning lack of logic. [facepalm]

We all know that the Governing Board is going to do what Christina 3-2 Kishimoto wants them to do. Pay attention: this list of board goals is numbered, unlike the FAQs that GPS is passing around hoping to get voters to pass the override and bond in the upcoming election. During a recent board meeting,
one board member helpfully pointed out that how the items are listed as bullet points DOES NOT mean the board would be required to spend in that order.

Okay, all you dedicated folks, notice that this list (photo taken at the GPS retreat; Westie did not make this up) actually IS numbered, unlike the bullet points for the override, and salaries are not Number One:

Governing Board Goals 2015-2016
1. Find a place for GCA (project goal)
2. Policy Revision and Alignment with Theory of Action
3. Salary Schedule
4. Demographic Study
5. Data Dashboard for MPE [that’s Managed Performance Empowerment]

Based on the discussions at this secret board meeting, guess where your tax dollars in the forms of Override and Bonds are going to go. They aren’t going to go to the salaries of teachers and staff and end up in the classroom like it says on the district’s FAQ. They are going towards the expansion of a school that maybe 1% of the kids in the district attend.

More of the Same Old, Same Old from an omnishambles of a school district. There was no discussion of such important matters as:

1. Here are the biggest problems the District has.
2. Here are our biggest opportunities
3. Here are our strengths and weaknesses
4. Here are our areas of concern (charters, home schooling, etc.)
5. Here is where we want to be in 5 years

So there you have it: the GPS Governing Board’s top priorities depend on who you’re talking to and when. The GPS Governing Board’s management philosophy is just as absurd as Christina 3-2 Kishimoto’s ridiculous line of sight management.

Last thing: the GPS Governing Board isn’t supposed to take any legal action at these secret meetings, but they selected Good Old Charlie Santa Cruz as the board representative on the GCA Committee. Oh snap! The more things change, the more they stay the same…

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