GPS Superintendent Kishimoto’s Secret Spending Plans Exposed

Superintendent Christina Kishimoto has been brazenly violating Open Meeting Laws and Arizona Public Records Laws since she took the helm of a school district that had been run by clown car group of administrators. Now Good Old 7-0 Kishimoto has gone where those others feared to tread.

On January 13, 2015, we reviewed the “minutes” of the December 2, 2014 work study session, consisting of 4 cassette tapes described by GPS as having been “recorded using outdated equipment.” When we made a formal request using the GPS Public Records online form on December 9, 2014, it was already past the statutory requirement that minutes be available to the public. Gilbert Public Schools and Superintendent Christina Kishimoto had already hung their hats on the false premise, “it’s not a public meeting because no legal action will be taken.” In addition to state law, there’s also GPS policy that’s being violated. Here’s what the Community Relations staff emailed to us:

Please let me reiterate that there are no formal minutes from the 12/02/14 Work Study.  There are Board member responses to the Budget Process and Dr Kishimoto’s SOP’s. In regards to Policy BEDG, this Work Study in question does not apply to GPS Policy BEDG.

In other words, 7-0 Kishimoto has taken the dicta of her hero to heart:

I’m the commander, see. I don’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being the President Superintendent. Maybe somebody needs to explain to me why they say something, but I don’t feel like I owe anybody an explanation.”

Here’s what GPS Policy BEDG says: “The video recording of the meeting shall be available for public review on the district website three working days after the date of the meeting, except for confidential executive session minutes.” We saw that 7-0 Kishimoto took all the credit when the February 10, 2015 work study session was Livestreamed, but thanks anyway to whoever made that happen.

We helpfully listened to the entire work study session and recorded it so we could share it with our beloved Birdies. The tapes are painful to listen to: it seems that GPS either can’t or won’t save audio and video recordings in a way that you can listen or watch and not suffer through unreasonable and irresponsible *technical difficulties.* Then, of course, there are the self-inflicted *technical difficulties* of just turning off microphones and/or cameras, or creating a gap in the record for an undetermined period of time. Sheeeeeesh.

We extracted three audio clips that should scare anyone who believes in transparency in government. The work study recordings reveal why GPS makes it difficult for the public to discover what board members discuss with the superintendent. This explains a lot about why Gilbert Public Schools went back to the Stone Ages in terms of open government — and why it took so long for us to get our hands on this information.

“This is still a dangerous world. It’s a world of madmen and uncertainty and potential mental losses.”

For example, 7-0 Kishimoto discussed having the board commit to allocating $1.5 Million to $2 Million each year in the future for curriculum when board members determine their budget framework for the next school year. Did you know that priority is now set in stone for at least three budget cycles? Once again, we feel outraged on behalf of the loyal GPS employees who believed that salary increases would be the first priority for this new bought-and-paid-for board. Click to listen.

 

Of course, there’s more: with these clowns, there’s always more. We shall now unveil 7-0 Kishimoto’s *process* for marketing Gilbert Public Schools. Superintendent Kishimoto said she is developing a marketing proposal to go to the board in January [it’s already a day late and a dollar short in mid-February, but who’s counting?].  Kishimoto stated that the marketing plan was being developed “at no cost” by “silent partners who are working with me right now, who are experts.” Kishimoto also said, “We have engaged some of these folks. We are putting a plan together…so the board will be able to see where the funds are going.” Click to listen.

 

It’s alarming to hear that initiatives for spending potentially millions of dollars are being developed in secret by “no cost silent partners.” Their conflicts of interest could be enormous. Are these silent partners consultants who are already “engaged” being paid with public funds? What’s happening behind closed doors?

Hey, wait a minute! Could this be the reason that The Arizona Republic started publishing puff pieces about how *civilized* GPS board meetings have become under the *leadership* of Lily Tram? Could it be that The Republic stands to gain big bucks from 7-0 Kishimoto’s new marketing plan that has yet to be presented to the governing board? Could it be that people from The Republic (or really close colleagues) are part of the group of “silent partners” who are developing a spending plan for all this marketing money? Could these “silent partners” have put the horse before the cart (in a sneaky way to force the community’s hand) by allocating marketing dollars to Friends of Kishimoto before the target audiences have even been identified? What are the odds that any of these new marketing materials will be error-free and professional, given what now passes for communications from GPS?

Let’s take a look at what is on Lily Tram’s mind these days when it comes to plans for Gilbert Public Schools.  We know that the GPS website teaches that the board sometimes gives direction to the administration during work study sessions, so here we have Good Old Lily Tram setting the table for closing GPS schools. Parents, taxpayers and community members should receive notice that board members are discussing closing schools; the process and considerations are set out in A.R.S. §15-341A33. Instead, we have a work study session that wasn’t intended to have minutes available to the public. Click to listen.

 

If you thought the Good Old Boys and their “Gilbert Way” of doing business were bad, you ain’t seen nuthin yet: discussing closing schools, outlining budget framework for future school years and developing potentially multi-million dollar spending plans with “silent partners” while evading public scrutiny. All this news, coming on top of the board’s decisions (following the superintendent’s recommendations) to buy Google Chromebooks for all 7th graders, buy new school busses, and spend $1.3 Million for administrative software tells you what’s coming down the pike.  All the remaining money in this year’s budget will be spent on the new board’s *priorities* rather than essential elements for educating students.

“See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.”

When the money is gone, they’ll do the usual wailing and rending of garments proclaiming GPS can’t survive without another tax override. They’ll chide the horrible citizens who don’t trust the GPS administration and governing board with more, more and more millions of dollars. They’ll make budget cuts designed to inflict maximum pain on families of GPS students, hoping to intimidate voters to pass the *essential* override. We’ve all seen all this before.

  ‘Fool me once, shame on…shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.’

Educrats and their enablers. They’ve made the pie higher:

“As yesterday’s positive report card shows, childrens do learn when standards are high and results are measured.”

Email Westie if you want to listen to *almost* the whole meeting (gaps in the tapes are courtesy of whoever recorded the meeting and/or provided tape copies of the original tapes for us to review). 


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