Gilbert Public Schools can’t seem to keep their superintendent on her leash. Christina Kishimoto goes about doing whatever she pleases, throwing around her title as she attempts to impress listeners and spouts off about her obsession with those mean old charter schools she believes are stealing GPS students. With losses amounting to 10% of student enrollment, GPS has a problem, and it isn’t charter schools; it’s the incompetency of the GPS superintendent and her minions. It hasn’t helped that board members past and present can’t or won’t extricate themselves from Kishimoto’s puppet strings.
If it weren’t enough to hitch the reputation of Gilbert Public Schools to a declining and discredited reform group, Christina Kishimoto went out, again on her own, and gave the Gilbert Town Council a piece of her mind about charter schools that are stealing students from GPS. She demanded the Town Council do something to stop those dastardly charter schools in their tracks before GPS begins a death spiral.
The setting: “an application for the proposed annexation of approximately 41.6 acres located at American Leadership Academy at the northwest corner of Higley Road and the Santan 202 Freeway.” It was very clear that the Gilbert Town Council was NOT voting to approve a new charter school … the town does not have that authority. It was very clear that the ALA landowners were going to put a charter school at the specified location, the question was whether the land would be annexed, giving the Town of Gilbert a say in the development, or whether the land would remain in Maricopa County, which meant the town would have no official say in development of the charter school site.
Christina Kishimoto delivered a frizzled, frazzled and frenzied diatribe that made her, and Gilbert Public Schools, look like total idiot losers who can’t compete for students fair and square. She worked herself up into a lather and told the Town Council it was costing GPS millions of dollars in lost revenue to lose thousands of students to those nefarious charter schools. Kishimoto looked all the more stupid because the land in question isn’t within GPS boundaries. As you enjoy the video below, note that the Town of Gilbert manages to make high quality video records during meetings, and those videos, along with comprehensive written minutes, are available to the public as OML requires. Ain’t it amazing that the Town of Gilbert can do things that GPS can’t manage? [Here’s the link if you don’t see it: https://youtu.be/R_GG20Siy4g]
Christina Kishimoto did not have authorization from the GPS Governing Board for taking this public stance. The only way the board could have approved her crazy public performance would have been by proclamation in a public meeting. That never happened. It was just Kishimoto and her
pals subordinates off on a rogue mission, attempting to work the ref: screaming about bias and unfair treatment, no matter how favorable the treatment actually is.
The ref didn’t have any power to do what Kishimoto was demanding. Kishimoto started her speech with an insult: “I don’t like your time limit of two minutes, so I’m going to take three minutes.” She then proceeded to talk for five minutes. Had anyone done that at a GPS board meeting, Christina Kishimoto would have cut the mike and called security to remove the person for disruption of an educational institution.
But this was not a GPS meeting; Mayor Jenn Daniels smiled politely as Kishimoto’s childish display of raw emotion built into a crescendo of unrestrained bitterness, blaming anyone other than herself. Town Council minutes were as clear as the video: Kishimoto made a fool of herself and embarrassed the GPS governing board and the people of the Town of Gilbert. Here is some of the *dater* Kishimoto gave the Gilbert Town Council:
The last two years of demographic data show that we have an increasing school age population in our community, but a decreasing enrollment in GPS because we are dividing the student enrollment pie over and over again.
* The last ten years of state financial data shows that GPS has a cumulative loss of over $70M in the state’s capital funding formula
Over the past six years, we will have experienced an ADM loss of over 3,000 or 8 ½%, while I am asked, why we don’t give more money to teacher pay!
Since Kishimoto made that speech, the 2016-2017 GPS hundred day student enrollment declined again … more than 700 student losses this year alone. Of course it’s not HER fault <snark>; Kishimoto is hell bent on destroying the pride of GPS, the neighborhood schools that attracted tens of thousands of students in past years. It’s not Kishimoto’s fault that her ill considered foray into *school design* in the form of having Gilbert Classical Academy take over a neighborhood junior high school has already caused significant student losses, with more losses to come, as parents have promised.
* GPS and HPS proudly educate the majority of English Language Learners and Special Education students in our community – that happens by a student cost share because the state does not provide us sufficient funds for each child’s special needs – We embrace every child.
The question is: will the new governing board allow this embarrassment to continue? At the January 24, 2017 board meeting, Silly Jilly Humpherys added an item to the agenda. She wanted the board to approve the following statement and send it to the Town of Gilbert:
Local constituents in Gilbert and Higley have already stepped up to pass bonds to fund buildings, maintenance, and infrastructure for district students. Duplication of these capital items presents an additional burden to local taxpayers and is not a cost efficient use of taxpayer dollars. The Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board respectfully supports Higley Unified School District in their request that the Town of Gilbert not rezone or annex approximately 42.7 acres of property generally located at the northwest corner of Higley Road and Santan 202 Freeway from Maricopa County Rural 43 (RU-43) zoning district to Town of Gilbert Business Park (BP) zoning district for the construction of the new American Leadership Academy charter school.
At a time when Gilbert Public Schools is beginning its Enrollment Management Planning, the construction of yet another charter school further contributes to the challenges of accurately projecting our student enrollment and thus our annual operating budget. Prepared by Jill Humpherys
The board liaison to the Town of Gilbert, Reed Carr, explained that signing a statement just to make a political point
was pretty stupid would not change the impact or the facts (starts at 3:52:20 in the video below). “…Focus on OUR district and making sure that we’re competitive.” He also contrasted Silly Jilly’s statement with how the board president and superintendent of the Chandler school district said, “We know parents shop for education much like they shop for a home or a car. We must find a way to meet the market and invite them into our public schools.” Once again, GPS and Kishimoto were outsmarted and outclassed by a competitor school district.*
The board approved Silly Jilly’s statement, even though the town doesn’t have the authority to do what Silly Jilly and her controller Christina Kishimoto want: the charter school WILL be built. Update:
You won’t find the January board meeting in the GPS Livestream archives [The video is now in the usual place, but it still sucks] but the GPS techie geniuses posted an ersatz video to make up for the *lost Internet* complication during the meeting. Said video is so bad, you can barely hear what is going on; the video portion is so blurred, you get a headache from trying to watch.
Here’s a link to an improved video (but it’s still blurred, Westie’s magic couldn’t compensate for that). Here’s the link if you don’t see it below: https://youtu.be/JRpQIepRcjY
Big Fat Asterisk: The Higley Unified School District superintendent also spoke at the December 1, 2016 Town Council meeting. Dr. Mike Thomason didn’t exactly cover himself in glory. [Dude, act like you know you’re a superintendent. Grab some gravitas.] One thing the new GPS board members should know: HUSD immediately produced public records that Westie requested about Mikey’s participation in this meeting, along with signed affidavits when there were no records within the scope of part of the FOIA request. Classy! HUSD also posts for public viewing the entire file of documents sent to the board before a board meeting.
Pay attention, new board members, GPS has been violating the norms of OML and *boardmanship* for years, and it’s only become worse under Kishimoto. It’s now YOUR watch!
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