Many have asked, “Why did GPS board president Lily Tram bully other board members into giving Superintendent Christina Kishimoto a new contract?” Concerned citizens cite such anomalies as the fact that Kishimoto’s contract already ran to 2017, more than a year into the future, when Tram pushed the despicable vote during the normally uncontroversial summer vacation season of 2016. Taxpayers decry Tram’s successful coup: Tram tied the hands of a future board and slipped the noose of Kishimoto’s new contract over their necks.
UPDATE: A few sycophants are claiming that the vote to approve Kishimoto’s new contract was 5-0. Not true, the vote was 3-2, according to the Livestream video and the minutes of the June 28, 2016 board meeting. Note that the new three-year contract was signed by only two sitting board members: Tram and Humpherys.
During the quiet summer months, Tram rammed through a new contract for Kishimoto, even though Kishimoto’s original contract had more than a year left to run. Now it’s obvious that Tram and Kishimoto have seen the writing on the wall: Tram’s seat on the board is at risk because she double-crossed GPS employees about increasing salaries of teachers and support staff, commonly known as putting dollars into the classroom. Nope, Tram had other priorities! Now, her priority for GPS is MAGNET SCHOOLS!!!
To attain this abhorrent goal, Tram had to ensure Kishimoto wasn’t fired when her contract ended. Apparently, that writing was on the wall, as well. So Kishimoto has a new contract and Alex Nardone, Chief of Staff, (whose position in GPS was justified for just one year when Kishimoto arrived in 2014), is still here and they’re both continuing to make *great progress* in ruining a once stellar school district.
Tram wanted to ensure that Kishimoto’s disgusting school reforms would continue whether or not Tram was successful in her bid for another term on the GPS governing board. Tram and Kishimoto read the tea leaves even before Kishimoto’s disastrous attempts to sway local elections. The proof is in the text of Kishimoto’s new contract. In addition to usual terms, which of course include both specified and secretive raises for Kishimoto, Tram wanted to be sure Kishimoto could not be fired:
6. TERMINATION OF CONTRACT.
B. Discharge for Cause. The SUPERINTENDENT may be discharged for just cause. Cause shall include, but not be limited to, conduct that is seriously prejudicial to the District, including a serious violation of the Job Description or BOARD policies, procedures and regulations, insubordination, gross negligence in the performance of material duties, SUPERINTENDENT’S willful dishonesty, fraud or misconduct, material breach of this Contract by SUPERINTENDENT, issues involving moral turpitude, issues which constitute a crime or any other behavior that would jeopardize the reputation of the District. Discharge for cause does not include mere mistakes of judgment which do not seriously impact SUPERINTENDENT’S ability to conduct the affairs of the District.
In other words, no matter what Christina Kishimoto does as Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools, she cannot be fired as long as she claims she made *a mistake in judgment.* Just imagine what could happen:
Memo to the board: Sorry I had an *alleged* inappropriate relationship with one of my subordinates. Ooops, I gave him a raise; you’ll need to backdate some approval for the $10,000.00 that became public knowledge. I can’t remember what other *special* good deals I gave him.
He just wasn’t all that memorable. Now that I have repented of my little mistake in judgment, it’s all good.
BTW – so what if he answers the door at my house? It’s not like there’s a *moral turpitude* clause in my contract, is there? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
Memo to the board: Hey, guys, I need some cover on this. The auditors just wrote me up for all kinds of *minor* issues with our financial controls, so you need to tell the Arizona Auditor General that you made changes so these things won’t happen again. That’ll get the bastards off my back while I figure out new ways to do what I want to do. BTW, I have lined up a five star chef to cater your next board retreat and arranged for some *entertainment.* They don’t call our next facilitator Magic Mike for nothing! We’ll go to Peoria this time and make it even more difficult for the public to attend. I’ll forget to post the public notice until someone complains to the Attorney General, then I’ll backdate it. Nothing to see here! <snort>
Let’s change focus and discuss the damage done by magnet schools, which is becoming all the more evident as GPS showers Gilbert Classical Academy with attention and millions of dollars while watching enrollment plummet at Gilbert Junior High School and Mesquite Junior High School:
The magnet system is further segregating the school systems by worsening the regular public schools in neighboring areas. What must not be forgotten are the existing schools that the less successful and less motivated students are left to attend, and the damaging effects that they face as a result of the magnet school system. Even when a magnet school has no such highly selective admissions criteria such as test scores, most of the students are select: with very few exceptions, students with failing grades, or records of bad behavior or truancy, do not get selected in magnets.
It is the parents’ responsibility to locate the school, assess its offerings, and, from there, make sure that the student fits the criteria to win admission. Interestingly, “another study…found that parents of low socioeconomic status could not participate as often as middle-class parents, due to commuting problems and inflexible work schedules.” Parental involvement as the means for children to enter the magnet school is not a reliable tool. Resting solely on the initiative of the parents, admission has meant only the best and brightest are chosen and the rest are left behind, in isolation.
Getting to what really matters about Christina Kishimoto’s *school design* mantra and its inevitable failure:
Designed as a thematic approach, the curriculum of a magnet school generally focuses on the areas of math-science or performing arts programs. Magnet schools that draw upon the most successful and highly motivated schools are also thriving on their creed to provide better and specialized education that cannot be attained in an ordinary public school. Given the hopes that these highly motivated children will produce test scores that will attract more dedicated students, it is important to note that the magnet schools have failed to do this.
Unfortunately, magnet schools have directed their focus toward one subject, grouping similar students, but because they focus on the this one major topic, students are failing to gain an education that is equivalent to that of a regular high school regardless of race. Despite the attempt to create an environment that focuses on its academic prowess and providing students with an education that is specialized and unique regardless of race, magnet schools fail to meet their expectations in the main areas of philosophy and purpose, admission and entrance to the schools, and curriculum.
No wonder the public wants Christina Kishimoto fired! Birdies chirp that Kishimoto was a *founding member* of Tram’s re-election committee. Does anyone think that might be another abuse of power by the gal with a master’s degree in Public Policy, obviously intended to keep Tram on the GPS governing board?
Keyboard: That reminds me of the saying, “Tit for tat.”
Westie: Don’t even go there…
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