The Great GCA Takeover of a junior high school to get themselves a new campus has become such a distraction in Gilbert Public Schools. The question on so many minds is, “Why in the world is GPS squandering community goodwill and a boatload of money on this?” The answer appears to be, “Because they can.” Superintendent Christina Kishimoto is going full speed ahead in her quest to destroy a neighborhood junior high school in order to reward Gilbert Classical Academy, a school that’s “not for everyone.”
Those 1% of GPS students are fighting mightily for their preferred campus, Mesquite Junior High School. It’s a choreographed effort, masterminded by GCA principal Dan Hood, as the text message at right reveals. “We’re a high school,” GCA advocates loudly proclaim. “There’s only one option for us!”
The text message from GCA Principal Dan Hood, a dude who doesn’t understand how to use punctuation:
Please be respectful and courteous to our board because they have a tough decision to make and they are going to make people unhappy. The more informed we can make them the better.
We do not need to address that we need to move anymore. I think that message has been conveyed. We need to address the options:
1. Mesquite Jr. was built for high school students and has all the facilities to house them now.
2. Gilbert Jr. was built for Jr. High students and does not have many of the facilities needed to operate a high school.
The GCA acolytes dutifully repeated that mantra at the GPS Public Hearing on March 22, 2016. Ad nauseum. [Hey GCA, you don’t need a Socratic education to understand that Latin term.] The GPS Governing Board once again retreated into hiding among the audience in the auditorium while citizens tried to address their comments to the board members.
Daryl Colvin, describing the first GPS public hearing:
I found it wholly inappropriate for all of our speakers to find themselves addressing a veritable wall of administrators as opposed the actual board members who are the ones making this decision, and those to whom the comments were rightly directed.
We instead, were seated more or less randomly in the audience. This was very poor protocol, and we owe our speakers an apology for this disrespect.
At the second GPS public hearing, only one board member, Daryl Colvin, remained in front of the audience, where he listened attentively to every voice. The other people seated in front of the audience were GPS Top Dogs; they like to call themselves “The Superintendency.” Citizens were confused – they thought they were addressing the decision makers, but they were only talking to the note takers. Except for Governing Board member Daryl Colvin, who listened to each and every person who wanted to address the Governing Board before this momentous decision is made.
Showing complete disdain for those uppity people who mistakenly believed they could change the course of events in GPS by telling decision makers that they have been set up by a superintendent who won’t tell the truth about why this decision needs to be made, members of the superintendency snoozed and nodded off. They know this is an exercise in futility: Christina Kishimoto has already told the board how this vote will proceed.
This discussion about a “New Home for GCA” did not begin because of underutilized resources or space. Let’s not give credit to the district for attempting to do this for any reason other than “because I can.” As one longtime GPS parent explained:
It began several years ago when GCA told everyone who would listen that they “deserve” a new school and wanted to displace others for their own benefit. And the administration and school board at that time attempted to follow through. Illegally. Fast forward three and a half years. The district has had since 2012 to do something, anything, to get GCA an appropriate place for their program. They have done nothing to do so. And although the administration changed, and some board members have changed, the “leaders” in GPS lack research skills, forethought, and leadership skills. And GCA is still calling for their own space, with a pool and an auditorium because they “deserve” it.
Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s Top Ten Reasons for closing a GPS neighborhood junior high school:
10. Because GCA had a cockroach.
9. Because this should increase GCA’s retention rate from 50% to 51%.
8. Because charter schools.
7. Tradition is overrated.
6. Because the numbers … eh … who cares about the numbers.
5. It was my boyfriend’s idea.
4. Because minorities can suck it. That’s why they’re minor.
3. 64 kids in a classroom is a cozy learning environment. Brings them closer together.
2. Because these hicks need to be taught a lesson. By their betters.
1. Who really cares about public education? I mean, this worked so well in Hartford…
Showing that the decision has already been made, Jill Humpherys posted on her perpetual campaign page in response to constituent comments that the data given to the Governing Board is fraudulent :
We have to look at the facts. We have two junior highs that are smaller than their capacity, and we have an academy that requires better facilities and more capacity. I don’t know what the board’s decision will be. I do know that, under the plan put forth, students currently attending a junior high will stay at their school. They will be allowed to complete their junior high education with some wonderful opportunities. The superintendent will work hard to place staff members in other positions within the district.
In other words: “My mind is made up. Don’t confuse me with facts.”
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