Is There a New Sheriff in Gilbert Public Schools?

Here’s a shout-out to Dr. Christina Kishimoto, Superintendent of Gilbert Public Schools who actually did something that’s long been needed: she called the cops when she found evidence of wrongdoing. We’ve posted many, many times about wrongdoing and how it usually was covered up by GPS Good Old Boys, but Dr. K stuck to her guns and acted immediately, it appears.

UPDATE: After three weeks on administrative leave, Coach Rutt has returned to teaching and coaching duties.


Dr. K didn’t need to go to the Governing Board and listen to a couple of members make excuses for GOBs caught in the act. No sirreee! We’re still scratching our heads about how Jill Humpherys didn’t want the police investigating other possible criminal activities in GPS earlier this year. It’s interesting that the two GPS referrals to the Gilbert Police Department from way back then are still pending … or we just haven’t heard about any resolutions to the situations.

Here’s how the situation Dr. K reported to the police played out in the local press:

With less than two weeks before Gilbert’s first football game, coach Tim Rutt has been placed on paid administrative leave, according to Alex Nardone, chief of staff for the Gilbert Public Schools. Gilbert High Principal Christopher Stroud directed all questions on the matter to Nardone, who would not say what caused the district to look into Rutt and keep him away from the football team at this time.

Did anyone notice that Nardone and Stroud won’t say anything to the press or the public?  It really is the right thing to do when an employee is put on admin leave. Innocent until proven guilty, right? Well, this is Gilbert Public Schools, one hundred years of tradition unhampered by progress (TM) so don’t hold your breath. We’ve learned they’ll keep going until they hog tie any soul unfortunate enough to be caught in the GOB crosshairs.

Back to the subject at hand, someone was talking to the press, even though it wasn’t Nardone or Stroud. Lookee here at what a bright journalist turned up:

Gilbert Police Department spokesperson Jesse Sanger said the investigation, which is in its initial stages, is based on allegations that Rutt had misappropriated items donated by one of the school’s booster clubs. He said the approximate value of the items is $2,000. Sanger said he was not sure whether charges could come from the investigation, but said any charge would most likely be related to misdemeanor theft.

After a long silence, we now have a further update from the Gilbert Police Department:

The Gilbert Police Department has cleared Gilbert High School football head coach Tim Rutt of allegations of theft made against him last week. In an email, Gilbert Police spokesperson Jesse Sanger said detectives reviewed allegations that Rutt misappropriated items valued at $2,000 and determined a crime was not committed.

There’s a big HOWEVER in this message:

District Chief of Staff Alex Nardone said in an email Rutt will remain on paid administrative leave until Gilbert Public Schools completes its investigation into the allegations. He said the district does not have a specific date for an end to the investigation, meaning Rutt could miss the Tigers’ season opener against Mesquite High School on Thursday. “We will proceed in a timely manner and ensure that the process is thorough,” Nardone said.

So even though we were heartened that Dr. K and her sidekick Dr. Nardone called the police when they believed it was appropriate, we’re perplexed that being cleared by the police isn’t good enough. It’s ominous that the New Powers That Be aren’t saying why or what they’re still investigating. The pity is, it’s the kids who are most affected by all this … especially the kids on the football teams. We’re sorry, Gilbert High School Tigers football team. You’ve been through a lot with various adults during your high school experience.

Sounds like this won’t be over until some lawyers have a chance to make a pile of money at taxpayer expense  conduct a thorough and impartial review. We all know the GPS history with those independent investigators who always manage to come up with exactly what the GOBs have already figured out they were going to do anyway.

We suspect this is not the last we’ll be hearing about *theft,* *misappropriation* or other financial misconduct associated with all that money floating around in GPS athletic offices. There’s lots of cash lying on desks in school admin offices, too. What will it take to gain control of all that cash? It’s not like the public’s distrust of the GPS money management history has resulted in lasting consequences, right? Oh yeah, public distrust was the biggest reason two overrides have been shot down by voters.

Hold on to your wallets, folks. Depending on the upcoming election, your taxes will be increased to give more money to GPS. Whether you like it or not. The GPS governing board did just that in 2012, remember?

The Gilbert Public Schools governing board adopted the $305.87 million budget for the 2012-13 school year Tuesday night with a 3-1 vote amid criticism from some residents that taxes should not be increased and administrators should do more to cut spending that doesn’t affect the classroom. …The tax increases did not sit well with some residents and board member Staci Burk, who voted against the budget because of them.

Some of these same residents are especially critical because the board is asking voters to decide in November whether to re-authorize the $17.6 million maintenance and operations override. Although the continuation of the override would not raise taxes, a defeat would lower taxes beginning in the 2013-14 school year as the override is phased out.

Yeppers. Just like that. Snap, and your taxes get raised. You don’t get a vote in that. Depending on which candidates are elected, you could see higher taxes in mid-January 2015.

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