“Hot Mic” Mishap Proves Gilbert Public Schools is Deceiving the Public

Acting Superintendent Alexander Nardone and bought-and-paid-for board member Charlie Santa Cruz were caught on a *hot mic* discussing the true state of plans for the future of Gilbert Public Schools. As Vice President Joe Biden said in a hot mic mishap, “This is a big f***ing deal.”

Their conversation immediately followed a sham of a presentation about what Gilbert Classical Academy (GCA) needs and how the superintendency will evaluate direction from the board and come back with the best option to achieve the board’s goals. The truth is, GPS is going to pretend to study alternatives to repurposing Gilbert Junior High School for the benefit of the 1% of district students attending GCA in order to kick the can down the road for a year.

During the public presentation, Acting Superintendent Alexander Nardone repeated that the administration would need a year to plan appropriate steps to accomplish whatever the board directed the superintendency to do. Here’s what Alexander Nardone said just before his private chat with Charlie Santa Cruz:

Nardone: Really, we are hoping that the discussion tonight will end with a direction for us to say give us further information on this as an option. No decision has been made. No option has been preferred. We’re really looking from direction from the board. [Cue up 43:05 on the Livestream video archive of the work study session on April 14, 2015.]

In a moment of candor, not knowing that their microphones were on or that there was a video recording of their comments, Nardone and Santa Cruz spoke the truth to each other. This was in total contrast to their words spoken moments before in the public portion of the work study. Don’t take Westie’s word for this – listen by clicking here. The audio has been leveled and boosted. There’s still a very brief part near the end that the mike didn’t pick up. The clip is about three minutes, with a file size of about 5-6 MB, in case you want to download it.

If you want to watch the open mic gaffe on the *official* GPS Livestream video, here’s the link. Cue to the 1:27:00 mark. It’s sometimes difficult to follow because of the audio quality, so we helpfully shared a transcript at the bottom of this post.

Please, go ahead and share this evidence of the treachery of the GPS superintendency and one board member.  At the moment, we don’t know for sure that all board members were in on this dishonest manipulation of the tax paying public. But don’t you feel stupid for believing that the GPS superintendency would really be open, honest and transparent about all this?

Another revelation in the hot mic gaffe is what exactly constitutes “choice” in terms of GPS and choices that will be offered to parents and students. This will scare the pants off those GCA parents and teachers who are so intent on keeping GCA students apart from students they say are from the *ghetto.* [You folks didn’t think that was a secret, did you?]

Nardone: It also I think offers the ability to incorporate those neighborhood kids into GCA so you could grow GCA……the neighborhood kids who wanted to stay and participate in GCA would have that option of staying in their neighborhood.
Santa Cruz: And those who chose another school it was because they chose it.

Hey, GCA Principal Dan Hood, we heard you say, “Parents and teachers would rather stay put than share a school.” [At the 01:21:30 mark.] Heaven forbid that those bright shiny uniformed scholars should rub shoulders with any ordinary students who live within the boundaries of this public school! This is sounding more and more like what was going on in Alabama when desegregation was instituted. Yep, DWestie lived through those days and has tales that will stand your hair on end about the disgusting things that went on to keep those uppity black kids in their places and out of all-white public schools back in the day.

This *apartness* is not going to go over well in the Town of Gilbert. But how would the Superintendent and her imported cabinet members know the real Gilbert culture? Parents are already criticizing Superintendent Christina Kishimoto’s implementation of regional gifted centers, ALP reform and bussing students that will result in some schools in GPS having only the less affluent (read that properly: “brown”) kids in certain elementary schools. Folks saying these things are people that Christina Kishimoto and her highly paid cabinet members regard as allies.  Don’t get us started on *reforms* for SpEd and ELL. BTW, it’s probably a good thing that many members of the community still recall how to contact the US Justice Department after all those civil rights investigations of GPS in the past. We’re seeing indications of the same old stuff by a new group of Good Old Boys.

This is pretty much the same thing that happened with Christina 7-0 Kishimoto’s reforms that ruined neighborhood schools in Hartford, CT. Be sure to read about Kishimoto’s botched effort to keep discussions about a magnet school under wraps so the public and the press would not know the dirty details. Kishimoto, her staff and her lawyer got caught back then:

It was the intention of the district to hold a private meeting between the Superintendent and families of Classical Magnet School on Monday, Feb. 13, that would not fall under the FOIA’s definition of a public meeting. Upon consultation with our attorney, we have been advised that because the term “School Governance Council” was used to invite parents to the meeting and in communications with the press, the meeting was considered a public meeting. This was our error.

Christina Kishimoto screwed up an earlier “turn around plan” that sounds a lot like what she intends to happen between Gilbert Classical Academy and Gilbert Junior High School. Destroy the community school and *redesign* it as an academy for 1% of district students who have powerful ties to former district officials and the current mayor of Gilbert. Same old stuff and Alexander Nardone was at Christina Kishimoto’s side for every bit of it:

A powerful example of the clash between reformer rhetoric and parent reality can be found in Hartford. In recent weeks, parents from two community schools protested proposals by Christina Kishimoto, Hartford’s outgoing “reform” superintendent, and Education Commissioner Stefan Pryor, to hand their schools over to private companies. Neither school community was consulted before the plans were developed.

The board subsequently met in private and emerged with another “turnaround plan,” which offers additional funds to a community school only if it is “redesigned” and offers “choice.” The only way parents will get more resources is to acquiesce to a redesign that will disrupt their school community. That is not school choice — that’s extortion.

This is why Christina Kishimoto was unanimously fired in 2013 (her contract was not renewed, to be precise).  We have yet to learn whether she will succeed in dismantling neighborhood schools in Gilbert, Arizona like she did in Hartford, Connecticut. Does anyone remember why in the world Christina Kishimoto was hired by the GPS Governing Board? Oh yeah … she’s doing exactly what she was hired to do: expand Gilbert Classical Academy come hell or high water. Because that’s the most important thing to do for all the students of Gilbert Public Schools in times of diminishing resources. [rolling eyes]


Transcript of Livestream audio clip:

1:26:45 CFO Jeff Gadd rejoins, sitting to the right of Dr. Alex Nardone, acting superintendent. Board member Charles Santa Cruz is sitting to the left of Dr. Nardone.

1:27:00 SC: Alex? (Gadd walks away)

AN: Yes.

SC: I’m sorry. I just, uh, uh…

AN: Swivel around. (Nardone swivels to sit face-to-face with Santa Cruz)

1:27:15 – image of board meeting taking five minute break is posted instead of video

SC: If we’re looking at the structure, I wonder if that facility could go up.

AN: Well, um, the facility could go up. Uh, we just, uh, I would say informally (unintelligible) that going up.

SC: Mm-hm.

AN: If you go up you can get classroom space. You can get science room space.

SC: And the fields are (unintelligible).

AN It doesn’t get you fields – you’re landlocked over there between the data center…

SC: Yeah.

AN: …and Greenfield Elementary School. Um, and that’s, you know, that’s the issue. It doesn’t give you parking. It doesn’t give you field space. And so if you just needed …

SC: Classroom space (unintelligible)…

AN: A classroom – academically

SC: science room, you could go that way.

AN: we could add two floors if it could structurally handle it.

SC: Yeah.

AN: Or go off to the side and go up a floor or two.

SC: Mm-hm.

AN: So I think that’s the issue here.

SC: Yeah. Yeah. Even at an elementary school you’re basically 50 acres net.

AN: Yeah. I think.

SC: Yeah. And I think those facilities are about 50,000 square feet or something like that.

AN: Typically. Yeah. Typically. Your schools tend to be bigger than our schools in Connecticut

SC: Right.

AN: …so (unintelligible) you know, especially with these new schools (unintelligible) built here. But..

SC: But there’s no field space.

AN: There’s no field space.

SC: And there’s no, there’s no (unintelligible)…

AN: Typically you’re talking double digits when you’re talking acreage for a high school. You’re talking 12 acres, 13 acres.

SC: Yeah.

AN: One of our high schools even in Hartford had 27 acres attached to it in the city of Hartford.

SC: Mm-hm.

AN: So it’s, you know…

SC: Mm-hm.

AN: …they have track space, field space, football space.

SC: Gilbert Jr. High school’s on 27 acres.

AN: Is it? The junior high?

SC: Yeah.

AN: Mm-hm.

AN: Well if you look at all of the schools for repurposing, Gilbert Jr. High school makes the most sense.

AN: It depends on what the needs are.

SC: Mm-hm.

AN: It also I think offers the ability to incorporate those neighborhood kids into GCA so you could grow GCA…

SC: Mm-hm.

AN:…the neighborhood kids who wanted to stay and participate in GCA would have that option of staying in their neighborhood.

SC: And those who chose another school it was because they chose it.

AN: (Unintelligible) because I think you could do both at Gilbert.

SC: Particularly since we demolished the pool.

AN: Yes. And so now we have extra green space and extra parking space there.

SC: Yeah. Yeah.

AN: So of all of the buildings that I looked at, that has the most potential.

SC: That that but that’s got the (unintelligible)… …it has a, a lot of emotionality…

AN: Oh it does.

SC: …attached to it.

AN: It does.


AN: A lot of history.


AN: Yeah. History is recent.

SC: Oh yeah. Wounds. The wounds are very recent.

AN: Yeah.

SC: So going there…

AN: Yeah.

SC: ….would be… (trails off)

SC: Yeah.

AN: I know.

SC: You wanna push it off.

NA: I think we wanna go…

SC: You wanna push It off.

AN: I think we wanna go slow.

SC: Yeah.

AN: And I think that’s, uh…

SC: I’d say take a year.

AN: Yeah.

SC: Go do it in a year.

AN: Yeah.

AN: And I think if we look at next year as, you know, take your time, do a thorough investigation, and I like your idea of meeting with the principals see what they have to say.

SC: Mm-hm.

AN: Looking at the potential elementary schools. Building new. It’ll take us a year to do and it may delay a, you know, what Dr. K Already…

SC: See and you won’t get if you if…

Quits at 1:30:00


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