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!

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