Trainwreck! Incompetent GPS Superintendent and Administrators

As the community observes the train wreck engineered by Gilbert Public Schools superintendent Christina Kishimoto and her band of carpetbaggers and scalawags filling the top level administrative jobs of the school district, people are shaking their heads at how much stupidity has been displayed just in the past couple of weeks. You would think those overpaid administrators would ensure the staff work they pass along to the governing board for approval and public viewing would be top-notch and error free. You would be wrong, at least in Gilbert Public Schools.

Westie can right only so many wrongs at once, so we’ll key in on a few illustrations of totally incompetent staff work by the GPS superintendent and her minions. The new governing board could do a lot to *reform* GPS by simply insisting on such elementary tasks as proofreading the documents these idiots  top level school district administrators ask the board to approve. Getting those Top Dogs to account for various cash funds might be more difficult. But it really, really, really needs to be done.

Let’s examine examples from the November 22, 2016 board meeting, when Christina Kishimoto already knew that her BFF Lily Tram had been thrown off the board by the electorate. First, Christina Kishimoto had to withdraw the draft of Policy DBI that her staff had prepared for approval at this meeting. Kishimoto said there was “a line missing” in the text of the new policy she recommended. In the real world, a superintendent or CEO would not have allowed such sloppy staff work to reach the level for board approval and public exposure. That humiliating public withdrawal of a defective recommendation wouldn’t be such a big deal if it were not repeating history. Way back in GPS history (that would be June 2016), Christina Kishimoto had done the same thing on a larger scale by recommending 19 existing district policies be revised and 12 new policies be approved in spite of a glaring lack of even a cursory proofreading of those documents.

A member of the public actually READ those policies and discovered a campaign of deceit orchestrated to beguile the board into glossing over a bunch of sloppy bullsh*t at the June 21, 2016 policy committee meeting. Then, at the June 28, 2016, the GPS governing board approved those I-series policies. Sheeeeesh. They expected no one would ever notice and no one would ever care. Extra credit to eagle-eyed readers who spot the *amazing coincidence* that Kishimoto’s Three Rubber Stamp voters also approved a new three year contract for this incompetent superintendent that same night!

Circling back to the November 22, 2016 GPS board meeting, Christina Kishimoto buried seriously defective documents within the consent agenda, apparently believing that board members would never even look at them. Her bet paid off, and the board approved those 22 PTSO applications. Some of the deficiencies, errors and stupid mistakes in those documents include:

In case you think this might be hyper technical and not worth addressing, the fact of the matter is that these organizations can be sued and some GPS parent support organizations have been sued along with the district. Shoddy staff work and illegitimate registrations easily can become a nightmare for well-intentioned parents; board members who don’t reign in the staff could be in for a rough ride even if The Trust defends them.

Then there’s the matter of six figure dollar amounts that pass through the GPS parent support organizations. How much easier it would be to *pilfer* a bit here and there when no one actually oversees the organization and its finances! But a big risk lurks: nonprofit or charitable organizations that don’t operate within the law can lose their charitable tax status. In that case, the officers can be held responsible for taxes that should have been paid, among other penalties that can be levied by government agencies.

Sloppy staff work by incompetent administrators puts a lot of volunteers at legal and financial risk. A good case could be made that the sloppy staff work is a feature, not a bug, hiding nefarious or even criminal conduct. PTSOs and booster clubs: take a look at your financials. Betcha there are large sums that cannot be found! 

The situation actually is a lot worse than it seems: even greater sums of money pass through student activity accounts: MANY HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS! Parents pay an incredible amount of money for district fees for classes and extracurricular activities. That money is not very well controlled, either. For example, if you pay by credit card (high school parents can do this) the district apparently sends that money into the general fund rather than crediting it properly to the appropriate fund. What’s a hundred dollars here, two hundred dollars there to someone like Silly Jilly Humpherys who thinks $100,000 is not much money?

Westie has been hearing for several years about the huge sums of cash that float around campuses in Gilbert Public Schools. Maybe the new board will take their responsibilities seriously … for heaven’s sake, don’t elect Jill Humpherys clerk! Her two year tenure as clerk of the board has been marked by little to no oversight of GPS spending.

Reading some of the audit reports of school districts in Arizona, we’re struck by how people ultimately were held accountable (indicted) for wrongdoingSome of the things we found sound a lot like what has been going on in Gilbert Public Schools. Some are similar to things we reported as whistleblowers; others are similar to things still going on in GPS at the district level and on campuses. In Red Mesa School District, the top two in the superintendency enriched themselves from public funds (six figure enrichment for each) and then the board joined in to obstruct the investigation!

New board members, you simply must hold Christina Kishimoto accountable for inexcusable and egregious errors. As far as Westie can remember, the GPS board had never been asked to *suspend* an existing policy in order to violate state law, but Christina Kishimoto recommended the board suspend policy so she could get on with closing Gilbert Junior High School. That fiasco should serve as a canary in a coal mine for you new folks: there’s danger ahead! Parent support organizations and student activity funds need serious attention … immediately!


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