History of Good Old Boys Rewarding Their Pals on the Public Dime

bigbucksWe’re hearing a lot of unfavorable commentary about the BIG salaries being paid to new GPS top-level administrators. You didn’t expect anything else, did you?

New Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has quite a history of demanding raises and bonuses. She’s been known to back down [hint, hint to board members]. We’ll do the homework about 2012 bonus demands in Hartford so you don’t have to:

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has rescinded $38,976 in performance pay to six of her top deputies after the school board raised concerns that such payments would breach a 2011 board order to suspend central office bonuses. The payments, described as “variable pay” bonuses for the 2011-12 year, were scheduled to be issued Oct. 12. They ranged from $6,300 for Chief Advancement Officer Kelvin Roldan to $6,720 for Chief of Staff Alexander Nardone.


Christina Kishimoto, Hartford’s Superintendent of School, decided to rescind $38,976 in performance bonuses to six of her top deputies earlier this week.  The action came after the Hartford Board of Education announced that it would be discussing the matter at their board meeting.

Apparently the Hartford Board of Education voted, last year, to prohibit performance bonuses for senior staff. However, Kishimoto had scheduled bonuses for her senior staff.  Just before the board’s most recent meeting, Superintendent Kishimoto responded wrote to the board saying, “I have recently learned that the board is not comfortable with this new language and compensation system…Therefore, I will not be processing the variable pay [bonuses].”

This pay crisis was a *special* situation. Dr. K had just demanded a bonus for herself that didn’t set well with the board:

Kishimoto’s lawyers demanded in an Oct. 9 letter to the city’s corporation counsel that the board pay her $15,450 in bonus money. The board refused, citing its recent annual review that gave her a poor 56 percent rating. Kishimoto, who is contractually eligible for up to $30,000 annually in performance pay, announced Saturday that she was retracting that request.

Prohibiting bonuses for senior staff came about because of a wage freeze for bus drivers:

Last year, under former Chairman David MacDonald, the board decided to eliminate 2011-12 bonuses for cabinet members at a time when the school system was proposing a wage freeze for bus drivers.

It’s interesting that before she became superintendent, Dr. K received some mighty big bonuses, along with a LOT of other people at the district offices. $2.7 MILLION DOLLARS, in fact!  [Keep connecting those dots to GPS under the Allison Supremacy!]

Over 97 of the payments were made to paper pushers and individuals working out of the Board’s Central Office at 960 Main Street. Some of those payments should definitely raise eyebrows as to why they deserved to get bonuses for just doing their jobs that they are being paid very well to do.

Alexander Nardone……Chief Operating Officer……….$11,306
Christina Kishimoto……Asst.Superintendent…………..$11,904

Here’s the response the Board President wrote when Dr. K protested her bad evaluation. You can read Dr. K’s protest at the same link.

Dear Dr. Kishimoto:

Thank you for your response to your performance evaluation. I want to point out that the Board is not interested in engaging in a “political debate” that does not exist. However, we are interested in engaging you in the work that we must do together to ensure academic and career success for all of our students. Thank you for the initial steps that you and your administration will take to begin the journey to build a confident and trusting relationship with the Board. While frameworks for communicating with the Board are important, alone or unilaterally, they will not solve the problems we face. The Leadership Committee of the Board will work with you to build a more substantive approach that is sustainable. And finally, since we are all student-centered, fortunately we have a foundation upon which we can move forward.

Best regards,
Matthew K. Poland Board Chairman
Hartford Board of Education

Dots, dots and more dots to connect! Let’s do a roll call of past performances of GPS GOBs:

December 2012: Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent Dave Allison. Since it’s December, and Allison has already been denied his performance pay by the governing board, failed a referendum on his leadership abilities when the 2012 tax override was voted down by Gilbert taxpayers, Dr. Allison must be about ready to get some really big, fancy-worded award from his peers for being downright awesome. BTW, Higley School District Superintendent Denise Birdwell won the Arizona School Administrators’ All Arizona Superintendent Award after she got caught plagiarizing. Naughty!

December 4, 2012: the Higley governing board approved a 5% performance bonus (approx. $7,350) -AND- a 5% salary increase (approx. $7,350) that adds to Birdwell’s base pay moving forward. This was approved by the governing board on the same night that the Superintendent stated that up to 40 teachers, larger class sizes and an unknown number of district programs are on the chopping block. Tell us again how it’s all about the children!

December 2012: Assistant Superintendent Clyde Dangerfield won TWO Certificates of Achievement for financial reporting! Ooopsie … the reason Good Old Clyde needed a boost was that the GPS bond rating was downgraded in August 2012 and the outlook was negative.

February 2013: Andrew Szczepaniak got an award … wait for it… from the organization of which he himself is president of the state chapter! Ooopsie … we figured out that you can nominate yourself for an award!

December 2013: With good old Assistant Superintendent Clyde Dangerfield, Esquire retiring from Gilbert Public Schools, his buddies at The Trust wanted to send him off with a big fat wet kiss and a full page ad saluting his presidency of the Arizona Schools Risk Retention Trust. Interestingly, The Trust won an award for itself earlier this year. The press release from the company that manages The Trust’s money uses some big words to deflect attention from the fact that a professional organization recently made up this award … that’s what “inaugural recipient” means. Gee, that award came at just the right time, huh? Right when Good Old Clyde and ASRRT, aka The Trust, were squirming out from under the lawsuit that GPS brought against CrossPointe with a whole bunch of other lawsuits pending. That CrossPointe stuff just won’t go away, will it, Clyde?

February 2014: The School Social Work Association of Arizona  gave an award to none other than Good Old Shane McCord! Maybe Good Old Shane was in hot water or something. Oh yeah, he was. Shane bailed from GPS and landed in Mesa Public Schools the next day, named for a job that hasn’t been posted yet.

February 2014: Gee whiz … it happened again: Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services lowered its long-term rating and underlying rating to A-plus from AA-minus. It looks like GPS needs to give Teddy an award, since Clyde has one foot out the door to retirement.

May 2014: Something happened: The board did not approve two candidates Dr. K wanted for her cabinet! We’ll post later about how that was a great move to save GPS from creating another GOB network on steroids. Right now, we’re going to bang our heads on a table … how could a superintendent NOT KNOW that GOBs from nearby school districts would not be suitable for top jobs in GPS???

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