BREAKING NEWS: Westie had this post ready to publish when word came down that Charles Stevin Smith, aka Steve Smith, the Superintendent’s *Alleged* Boyfriend, has resigned from his position in Gilbert Public Schools as the Executive Director of Technology.
He’s also known as Sleazy Steve, but we didn’t know the half of it, as things turned out. Never fear, birdies, we’ll share what we’ve found about the whole sordid affair at the White Castle. Westie’s going to be posting like crazy in the next few weeks. You know you can hardly wait.
Back to our regularly scheduled Westie post: Finally – Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is going to reveal her *process* for giving GPS employees salary increases with all the new money that’s available from the recent tax override. The unveiling is scheduled to occur on January 12, 2016 during the GPS Governing Board’s work study session.
Let’s connect some dots to remind loyal GPS employees that you can expect another BOHICA situation, not real change that you can believe in and take to the bank. Heaven help you if you thought GPS would actually give you dollars to take to the bank, but we digress.
First, you loyal GPS employees should know that neighboring school districts gave their employees pay raises as soon as their overrides passed. It says much about Christina Kishimoto and her Three Musketeers Lily Tram, Jill Humpherys and Charlies Santa Cruz that GPS was totally unprepared to do anything like that. It’s not that they didn’t believe the override would pass, because everyone knew it was already bought and paid for in terms of political action committees and their massive donations from the companies and people who stood to benefit from Christina Kishimoto’s largess and unprecedented spending on technology and construction projects should taxpayers give her that power and purse.
Second, GPS isn’t even going to try to give raises out until the 2016-2017 school year. Nada, nil, zilch.
Third, you loyal GPS employees already know that the Top Dogs in the GPS administration will get the biggest piece of the pie, don’t you? Yeah, they always get considered first and screw the rest of you who work on the front lines of education every day. It’s really bass ackwards from how the military works: commanders take care of the troops first so the mission will be accomplished. Yes, yes, we know that the Top Dogs in the military also get cushy benefits and living quarters and first class travel that the troops don’t get, but on a wartime footing, troops come first. If they don’t, the Top Dogs keep things quiet, as opposed to GPS, where employee pay has been frozen for years but the Superintendent’s alleged boyfriend got himself promoted with a big raise, done on the sly, of course.
Another group that’s made out like bandits: the folks on the SmartSchoolsPlus bandwagon. GPS is just so gosh-darn enamored with Sandee McClelland that they issued SmartSchoolsPlus a second contract in 2015, adding a few years because they’re just so hap-hap-happy with Sandee Baby. Did you loyal employees know that folks who are on SmartSchools are paid more than you? Like the new hires are paid more than you, but even more insulting.
Here’s the deal for SmartSchools
pit vipers contract employees: apparently they’re being paid “on the grid” that has been denied to loyal GPS employees for so long. Yeppers, we saw that not only do some of the folks receive “Range H stipend” (one monthly amount was $1,276.92), a psychologist receives a “Range H stipend” PLUS a “NCSP stipend” in addition to SmartSchoolsPlus contract pay and benefits PLUS ASRS retirement benefits and pay. Pretty good deal for a chosen few, but NOT for you loyal GPS employees who toughed it out for seven years or more of frozen pay along with increasingly expensive benefits GPS levied on you.
There’s more, of course (with GPS there is always more bad news): support staffers receive unspecified stipends in addition to SmartSchoolsPlus contract pay and benefits PLUS ASRS retirement benefits and pay. You can check it out for yourself here. Do a *Control F* search for SmartSchools, and you’ll hit the data jackpot. That’s the only jackpot loyal GPS employees will be hitting any time soon.
Let’s connect some dots and make our bets as to how the GPS Governing Board Work Study session will go down. First clue: Christina Kishimoto’s end of the year letter to employees reveals priorities for the new year:
Even with the additional budget capacity resulting from approval of the override and bond election, our District will continue to face some challenges in developing the 2016-2017 budget. You will hear me talk to the Governing Board about a variety of long-term planning strategies related to student enrollment, legislative action, and long-term budget forecasting, over the next few months. Despite these challenges, the District’s leadership is committed to the following guiding principles in the 2016-2017 budget planning process:
Developing a budget in which a significant portion of the additional budget capacity will be used for increasing staff compensation.
You GPS folks know even better than Westie does that those are weasel words, limiting salary increases to what’s left over in the “additional budget capacity” from the 2015 tax override approved by voters. We saw GPS do similar hocus-pocus by moving salaries for Tech Services employees OUT of the tech override funds and into the M&O budget, competing with teachers and support staff for a share of the pie. Christina Kishimoto also banged her drum loudly for across-the-board raises in 2015 that would benefit the new hires who make more money than their colleagues in the same positions. Scalawags and Carpetbaggers in her cabinet did just fine with THEIR raises, coming roughly a year after their original hire dates, didn’t they?
On top of everything else, GPS screwed up the payroll system so that things have really gone to hell in a handbasket. Direct deposit? Only if you’re lucky and in the first segment of the alphabet. Auto-pay deductions? Who knows. GPS made it the employee’s responsibility to determine if their payroll records for the first of the year are correct … AFTER wiping out all the historical data for individual employee accounts. A huge amount of lovely tax credit money has been screwed up, too … swept up into indistinguishable district accounts (although we hear some folks got their funds restored). Sure, nothing is going to go missing; it’s GPS, where there are stringent controls on financial matters. <snark>
On top of all this chaos, which the dots connect to the department controlled by the Superintendent’s alleged boyfriend, is the chaos associated with the absurd Chromebook rollout, which is also connected to the Superintendent’s alleged boyfriend, who runs the Technology Services Department. You know, the guy who got himself a $10,000 pay raise while the rest of you loyal GPS employees were sucking eggs. BTW, GPS hired *consultants* to help the new Carpetbagger CFO dude (one of the six-figure salary new hires). He had a fancy PowerPoint presentation to show how great things were going with the new finance system (click here to see it). Sheeeeeesh. GPS spent $1.3 MILLION dollars on that software without going out for bids, or even advice on what GPS really needed. In all fairness, the six-figure CFO dude was not the
incompetent idiot person who recommended buying this expensive software that’s not working right.
Don’t worry, Chromebook parents, the munchkin fellow what’s in charge (MFWIC) of elementary education told Tech Services to disable access to Google Images for all elementary schools. If you thought the GPS staff was nasty toward you parents before this, just wait. How can kids do any of that critical thinking for their group projects, studying Neptune for example, without images? Teachers will know who to blame. You get the picture:
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