GPS Must Slash Budget … Who Could Have Anticipated Student Losses?

Christina KishimotoGilbert Public Schools has been losing students right and left as their reviled superintendent Christina Kishimoto destroys neighborhood schools in the name of reforms that no one wants. She appears to be driven by her quest for a national reputation, which is costing the district dearly in terms of squandered taxpayer dollars and the district’s own blackened reputation.

Fortunately, the former Rubber Stamp Board was broken up by voters in November 2016. Unfortunately, they had already extended Christina Kishimoto’s employment contract through 2019. If not for that treachery, GPS would have been able to send Christina Kishimoto packing on June 30, 2016 when her contract ended.

The Rubber Stamp Board also saddled the New Guys with the budgetary fallout. Now it’s February 2017 and the New Guys must come up with more, more and more budget cuts because the declining number of students has an immediate negative impact on the GPS budget. Never mind that GPS has a tax override and bond that local residents fund out of their own pockets; that’s in addition to state and federal funds and lots of unaccountable cash that floats around the district. The big problem is how Christina Kishimoto spends that money before the governing board knows what has happened. A hundred here, a thousand there …. don’t forget Kishimoto has $100,000.00 contracting authority for anything she wants.

When questioned about why the budget is such a mess again, Christina Kishimoto and her Top Dogs will defend themselves by saying there was no way they could have anticipated such staggering student losses. It’s the fault of those mean old charter schools! They’ll talk a bunch of mumbo-jumbo; Tom Wohlleber will drone on and put the audience to sleep. In the end, students will pay the price for Christina Kishimoto’s incompetence and arrogance … again. The chart below shows that the biggest student losses have come during Kishimoto’s reign of terror tenure at GPS. Check out FY 15, 16 and 17:

The chart above comes from Kishimoto’s presentation to the governing board. As citizens can tell you, Christina Kishimoto’s superintendency has been devastating to a community that values public education, neighborhood schools and transparency in governance. Instead of respecting those values, Kishimoto has put neighborhood schools on the chopping block for *school designs* that appeal to minuscule groups of parents and students. Teachers have been fleeing a district that relies on retaliation as a management strategy.

It strains credulity that as superintendent, Christina Kishimoto will recommend what the board should cut. It sure won’t be the big bucks she rakes in! It won’t be the salaries she sets for her subordinates, or the sweet little extras that Christina Kishimoto lavishes on her pets. Nope. Budget cuts that Christina Kishimoto recommends will slash popular programs so the community will feel intense pain. That’s the way things were done by previous GPS superintendents, so why change? Oh yeah, that former bumbling superintendent got canned retired. The community breathed a sigh of relief for a few moments, then Kishimoto was hired.

Let’s take a look at some of the questionable spending that is happening in Gilbert Public Schools. We’ll look at just one month’s worth of vouchers since the GPS governing board hasn’t had much of an opportunity for financial oversight. We’re really hoping the New Guys can grab Christina Kishimoto by the asterisk and throttle her excessive spending on things that do nothing to educate students. The lists below are not ALL of the expenses that should be questioned as to propriety and legality; they’re just a few things reasonable taxpayers abhor.

For example, take the vaunted EXPO at St. Xavier in January 2017; we don’t yet know if GPS paid the town to rent the place. We do know that not only did GPS give away ugly orange tee shirts to employees, board members, parents, students and passers-by, the district bought breakfast and pastries. Gee, if only we knew if GPS employees *volunteered* to participate at this event so their jobs would not be jeopardized to get a free tee shirt and some breakfast.

Westie: There ought to be a law about forcing employees to *volunteer* under those circumstances!
Keyboard: You idiot, there already are laws like that!
Westie: Do you think GPS knows?

TEES AND MORE LLC
accounting adjust -$1.09
EXPO Uniform Shirts $1,627.21
HOBBY LOBBY STORES INC **ALL VALLEY LOCA
School Expo Supplies $79.52
SAMS CLUB (ANY LOCATION)
Annual card fees $16.17
BPO: To purchase breakfast items for the all
School EXPO on January 21st at St. Xavier University
$167.06
BPO: To purchase breakfast supplys for the
all School EXPO on January 21st at St. Xavier
$65.70
SREMBA, JUSTIN R
Open P.O. for food items for GPS Expo on 1/21/17 –
Mexican Pastries to be purchased from vendor who does not take P.O.
$62.42

And how about the Employee Benefits Fair? GPS designed and paid for bags to be given to employees. That’s on top of constant b*tching about how much the GPS share for insurance goes up each year. Wonder how many GPS employees actually showed up to get their *goodie bags*?

CRESTLINE SPECIALTIES INC
Bags for Employee Wellness and Benefits Fair $311.27
Color imprint Setup on bag-Blue $63.00
GPS PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Posters for Benefits Fair $18.00
STEELE GRAPHICS BILL STEELE
Banner insert – Benefits Fair with 16/17 date $50.67

The superintendent has the district pay for her soirees with her pals at the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce, calling it “professional development.” Other times, she has the district “buy a table” for $500.00. We hear that Christina Kishimoto is now telling all the schools in GPS that they need to “buy a table” for $500.00 so that their Teacher of the Year will be represented at the big GPS banquet. This time, the $500.00 is supposed to come from teachers, parents and staff … great way to celebrate the school’s teacher of the year, right? Why not hand over a check for $500.00 to the teacher? Or better yet, quit hitting up the lowest paid echelons of GPS employees for money to pay for the superintendent’s new publicity stunt. Sheeeesh.

GILBERT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Emp Training  & Prof Dev Registration-BPO for misc.
Chamber event registration for Dr. Christina Kishimoto
$100.00

Lookie here, the superintendent asks and receives money for future expenses. Do you think any GPS staffer would refuse to hand over a check?

CHRISTINA M KISHIMOTO ED.D
This will be used for Dr. Kishimoto’s expenses  per the superintendent’s contract $156.76

The following list shows one month’s worth of catering expenses in the January financial vouchers. The Governing Board chows down on food bought by taxpayers while they discuss how they will cut classroom funds! The GPS superintendent eats a lot of breakfasts at taxpayer expense! And on freshly dry cleaned tablecloths! With decorations! Actually, if GPS ever has a *real* audit, we’re sure a lot of these expenses will show up as double and tripled billed … or more, based on what we see month after month. Every monthly GPS voucher has seemingly endless catering expenses, from a few measly bucks to thousands, just like what’s shown below.

FRYS FOOD STORES OF AZ INC
FOOD FOR CATERING FOR SUPERINTENDENTS BREAFAST, LUNCHES &
SPECIAL EVENTS “BOARD MEETINGS”
$15.98
FRYS FOOD STORES OF AZ INC
FOOD FOR CATERING FOR SUPERINTENDENTS
BREAFAST, LUNCHES & SPECIAL EVENTS “BOARD MEETINGS”
$28.23
FRYS FOOD STORES OF AZ INC
FOOD FOR CATERING FOR SUPERINTENDENTS
BREAFAST, LUNCHES & SPECIAL EVENTS “BOARD MEETINGS”
$27.85
GPS FOOD SERVICE CATERING
Miscellaneous catering events –
Tablecloths and decorations provided by GPS Food Service Catering
$150.00
GBS LINENS GBS INC
DRY CLEANING/TABLECLOTHS $193.89
COEN, MICHELLE ELAINE (Kishimoto’s secretary)
BPO Office event planning supplies, dollar store,
michaels, party city. snacks and non food supplies
$45.41
BPO Office, event planning supplies dollar store
michaels  party city snacks and non food supplies
$0.00
COSTCO #481
Open PO to purchase: Paper Products for meetings &
holiday luncheon on Dec. 20
$50.07
Open PO to purchase: water – soda – snack – goldfish,
bag cookies granola bars etc. for meetings &
holiday luncheon on Dec. 20 Approx 250 staff
$150.00
GPS FOOD SERVICE CATERING
Food for Governing Board events that include Policy Meetings for 20 people on the following dates August 16, 2016, September 20, October 18, November 15,
December 13, January 17, 2017, February 21, March 21, April 18, May 16 and June 20; Board Retreat
$84.00
FRYS FOOD STORES OF AZ INC
FOOD FOR CATERING FOR SUPERINTENDENTS BREAKFAST,
LUNCHES & SPECIAL EVENTS “BOARD MEETINGS”
$63.38
GPS FOOD SERVICE
Catering for 100 Principals and Administrators at the monthly Professional Development Principal’s Meeting.  January 10, 2017 $425.00
GPS FOOD SERVICE CATERING
Miscellaneous catering events – Tablecloths and decorations
provided by GPS Food Service Catering
$31.50
GPS FOOD SERVICE CATERING
Food for Governing Board events that include Policy Meetings for 20 people on the following dates August 16, 2016, September 20, October 18, November 15, December 13, January 17, 2017, February 21, March 21, April 18, May 16 and June 20; Board Retreat $130.00
FRYS FOOD STORES OF AZ INC
FOOD FOR CATERING FOR SUPERINTENDENTS BREAKFAST,
LUNCHES & SPECIAL EVENTS “BOARD MEETINGS”
$10.66
FRYS FOOD STORES OF AZ INC
OPEN PURCHASE ORDER FOR DISTRICT WIDE CATERING
EVENTS FOR 16/17 SCHOOL YEAR
$68.78
GPS FOOD SERVICE CATERING
Non-Curricular Food, Miscellaneous
catering needs throughout the 2016-17 school year
for events hosted by the Superintendent
$55.00
COSTCO WHOLESALE #1028
Paper goods for Elementary School
Principal Meeting being hosted by
Canyon Rim on January 27, 2017
$63.32
Refreshments for 40 people for the
Elementary School Principal Meeting
being hosted by Canyon Rim on January 7, 2017
$277.24
PANERA BREAD COMPANY
pastries & coffee for Principal PLC m
for approx 22 people
$140.72
PAPA JOHN’S INTERNATIONAL
lunches for Learnin lunch committee mtgs
1/18, 2/15,4/12- 15 teachers
$69.28
FAMOUS DAVE’S LEGENDARY PIT BAR-B-QUE
Staff luncheon mtg 12/20/16 Approx 175 people $1,523.39
COSTCO WHOLESALE #1028
Blanket purchase order for misc. food purchase
for refreshments for staff meeting
Oct 5, 2016 (approx. 90 staff)
$74.46
Light refreshments for meeting
100 returning staff on Monday, August 1st and
Tuesday, August 2nd.
$43.70
Linen Table Clothes for 6 foot tables $58.95
COEN, MICHELLE ELAINE
BPO Office, event planning supplies dollar store
michaels  party city snacks and non food supplies
$45.41
SAFEWAY INC ACCT #156530
January Admin meeting, 25 people in attendance $25.37
SALERNOS
18 large pizzas (7 cheese, 7 pepperoni, 4 veggie)*
Lunch for December 21, 2016 Staff Meeting
(approx. 90 people)  *price includes tax and all paper products
(plates, napkins, and silverware)
$390.00
Salad, including Italian and Ranch dressings * $90.00
SMART & FINAL NO.730
Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider, 8.4 oz bottles, 12 per case $92.29
FRYS FOOD STORES OF AZ INC
Refreshments, cookies and drinks for approx. 30 staff members working the
JV Wrestling Tournament on 1/25/17
$77.20
SALERNOS
Lunch for GCA Science Fair Judges & staff (tax is included in the cost per meal)
65 judges and staff included GCA Science Fair is 2/17/17
$520.00

This was so much fun, we’ll have to do it again. We’ll help community activists learn to identify extravagant spending as we document some truly egregious ways that Christina Kishimoto has abused the public trust and enriched herself and her pals with public funds. After all, she can’t be fired for *mere mistakes in judgment,* so we’ll have to dig in to some actual lawbreaking. You know we’re on to something here.


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