Gilbert Public Schools: Experts at Squandering Tax Dollars

How did Governing Board Clerk Jill Humpherys become the de facto spokesperson for Gilbert Public Schools? The community long wondered when GPS would actually start communicating with the public in a meaningful way, but the answer has been: “Irene Mahoney-Baloney Paige says sit down and shut up!” Even the most die-hard community enablers of GPS incompetency had a hard time accepting at face value the news that she won a communications award; we helpfully archived the discussion for your perusal. In this case, *perusal* means you must get up off the floor and stop laughing long enough to actually look at the photos of the awards and read the comments … obviously, GPS did not expect educated and experienced members of the community to point out just HOW those awards were won and who won (or didn’t really win) them.

Hint: pay to play.  Former GPS Finance administrators and Professional Development Departments had this scheme perfected a long time ago. Ditto for GPS lawyers, apparently. Sheeeeeeeesh.

Thus, Silly Jilly stepped in to fill a GPS communications void. That void has existed for about two years, but who’s counting? As you can well imagine, when someone named Silly Jilly steps into anything, the results will not be what she expected. But, man oh man, what blog fodder she creates! We predict a fun-filled summer for all you Westie fans out there.

Let’s peruse Silly Jilly’s silly words about Proposition 123, which is going to Arizona voters on May 17, 2016. There’s a lot of pro and con information out in the blogosphere and in the news, so we’ll just zero in on Silly Jilly’s explanation of why you should vote Yes for Proposition 123: trust the Governing Board to do what’s right.

How the money is spent is left to local control–that means your locally elected school board. That is a plus! Who better to make that decision than locally -elected leaders who know the needs of the district, who can listen to input from the community, and who can be held accountable by voters for their decisions?

Okay, pick yourself up off the floor again and wipe that grin off your face. Silly Jilly was being *serious* in response to comments and questions about why GPS has been silent about how the district will use funds from Proposition 123, if it passes. Some of what Silly Jilly wanted to answer include:

** Other districts are putting the bulk of Prop 123 potential funds into salaries/additional teacher hires. Our board’s been mum.
** If GPS is getting $8 million from Prop 123, why are employees only getting $500?
** How many employees are there in the district? Even if it’s 4,000 that’s only $2 million at $500 per employee, and that’s only if student attendance stabilizes.

Here’s another example of your tax money being frittered away on Silly Jilly’s watch: GPS paid Heinfeld and Meech, the BFF district auditors, $242.76 for “reproduction of CAFR.” In other words, GPS paid more money for making copies of a report that GPS had already paid Heinfeld and Meech a sweet five-figure fee to write; apparently, each member of the governing board, plus some very important members of the GPS administration (we presume) needed a personal paper copy of this basically indecipherable financial report to toss into the *circular file.* In addition, GPS paid Heinfeld and Meech a bunch of money for application fees, for what appear to be MORE awards, which GPS seems to receive each year. AASBO Application Fee, $1,285.00GFOA Application Fee, $725.00.

The GFOA website is all agog over their next conference, which is where public entities like Gilbert Public Schools pay astronomical amounts for what is basically an all-expense paid boondoggle for the same public employees year after year at swanky hotels in various resort locations: 

Don’t delay – register today for GFOA’s 110th Annual Conference! Join thousands of your peers in Toronto for the largest gathering of public finance professionals in North America. The GFOA conference provides a great opportunity to network, attend sessions, visit with exhibitors, and enjoy Toronto.

After a busy couple of days, relax and have fun in downtown Toronto! Enjoy an evening filled with food and entertainment at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts before heading back to your home town. An event headlined by Dennis DeYoung and the music of Styx.*

The AASBO website is dedicated to their upcoming conference, as well, featuring their golf tournament … which we’re sure helps educate students. <snark>  AASBO’s theme of “Release Your Inner Super Hero” sounds like something Silly Jilly thought up. Oh wait, she did, at one point, or she was parroting someone else, but … never mind. AASBO very helpfully wrote down the criteria for awarding the awards the organization invited folks to apply for, including such professional attributes as attend a conference, write an article for our special-interest magazine or take a class. Yeppers, those awards are awesome, aren’t they, Irene?

Answers MIGHT be forthcoming at the GPS work-study session on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. Yes, we know it’s difficult for citizens, parents and even teachers to attend this meeting due to rampant scheduling conflicts with other GPS activities, which probably is why the district wrote the agenda to include discussion of Proposition 123 fund spending, hoping for little or no public scrutiny.  Since Christina Kishimoto has been Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools, avoiding public scrutiny has become the primary objective of governance. Take a look at the latest GPS spending plans by clicking here.  As usual, if Proposition 123 passes, Christina Kishimoto wants more people working in the White Castle doing heaven-knows-what with more new software and technology, all at taxpayer expense, while she attends meeting after catered meeting.

Some of the GPS spending that defies logic, but sounds just fine to Silly Jilly Humpherys, is all that catering for the Top Dogs in the district, including the Governing Board, of which Silly Jilly is not only a member, she’s in charge of reviewing GPS expenditures each month. We’ll be reporting at length on some of these expensively catered meals.

We’ll share information about GPS spending as it becomes available. We know you can hardly wait. Especially you teachers … you’re either delighted to be leaving or feeling duped into another year of watching GPS Top Dogs, the superintendent and her board members being gluttons in the Third Circle of Hell.  While teachers still wait to be fairly compensated for their work. And support staffers wait to be paid … literally. Sheeesh. What a district!

Big Fat Asterisk: Westie adores Styx. Even back in 7th grade, DWestie had no doubt that her classmate Tommy Shaw and his guitar were a phenomenal pair. (Yes, Tommy’s guitar went  to school.) Tommy Shaw is now a Super Hero in Montgomery, Alabama … has the keys to the city, too. For your enjoyment, watch Jimmy Fallon and Paul Rudd replicate a Styx performance.

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