Gilbert Watch Responds to GPS Board Member Daryl Colvin

Some time ago, Gilbert Public Schools board member Daryl Colvin posted the following on Gilbert Watch’s Facebook page.  After giving the points he made some thought, I responded.  

 

Here is Mr. Colvin’s post:

 

"In the midst of some frankly rather predictable commentary no one has yet to address the points I raise in my letter head on….so I’m posting it here for the benefit of those who haven’t read it yet.

Dear Mr. (Name Redacted)

Thank you for taking the time to write to me and provide the opportunity to answer your concerns. This issue does require some rather laborious explanation.

As a candidate I was quite vocal in my opposition to the continuation of the 10% override, and personally voted accordingly. I also stated that as conservatives we would do our best to bring much greater transparency and carefully examine the districts’ spending patterns with an eye toward accountability and efficiency. I also plainly stated at the time that if after having done those things it still appeared that such a thing was needed we would come back to the voters with numbers that we could all trust, and for likely a reduced amount.

It is useful to note that the district has been running for the past several years on simultaneous budget overrides stacked three high. This amount totals up to roughly 17% ! The smallest override expired, and, at the urging of Staci Burk, was wisely not put forward for renewal. The voters then equally wisely chose not to renew the full 10% M & O override, and the roughly 5% “Technology” override is due next election cycle. When an M & O override is killed by the voters it takes three years to die. The taxation is reduced by one third each year until the amount disappears completely in year three. I would hold forth that we have presided over some rather serious budget cuts that will allow the Gilbert district to weather the removal of the first smaller override and the first 1/3 of the ramp-down of the 10% M & O override. My concerns are what will happen when we try to deal with the second, and third year budgets wherein me must cut an additional six million …..twice more. One of the reasons you saw me pushing rather hard for a workup of the infamous budget “C” was to get a look at these very issues. There are certainly questions about our ability to adapt to the cuts in the second year and near 100% certainty of some very painful and perhaps quite harmful reductions in year three. There were discussions about going out for this override at 8% which I did not support. I had mentioned that if no other options could be found, perhaps 6-2/3% would show proper respect for the expressed intent of the voters, allow us all to retain the overall property tax decrease we just got, level out our budget decline, and buy us enough time to finish the work of zero based budgeting and such reforms. Take into further consideration the fact that I have absolutely no intention of approving the renewal of the “Technology” override next cycle (a non trivial 8 million/yr) and I think you can get a much clearer idea of where I’m coming from.

I suppose it bears mentioning that I believe this quadrennial beg-a thon ritual that districts seem compelled to do needs to end. The state legislature just raised the amount that can be asked for to a full 15%. That was a step in the wrong direction. Neighboring districts of Chandler and Higley are blatantly and shamelessly in the face of their voters at 15% and 10% respectively. Those efforts deserve to be defeated. In contrast, given our willingness to make these sizable reductions, I would respectfully ask the voters of Gilbert for their support with the understanding that we don’t plan on making this a habit.

Respectfully yours
Daryl Colvin"
 

Gilbert Watch Response:

"Daryl, before I address the points you have made in your letter, and the reasons for my stand against this override, I want to state the following.

You, Julie Smith, and Staci Burk are the best, most effective, most responsible, and hardest working board members on the Gilbert Schools governing board. You eliminated the power of the unions; you stood firm in not passing out raises to administrators; you found money for teacher raises (using Prop 301 monies appropriately). You did not lay off teachers or coaches or nurses. In fact, you hired teachers. You did not cut programs. You reduced spending and were still able to lower class sizes.

You did this under extreme pressure from a large group of pro-tax temper tantrum throwers who have been accustomed for years in getting anything and everything they have ever wanted. You were subjected to unrelenting harassment, including union-organized “tailgate parties” where employees taunted you as you walked from the parking lot to attend board meetings. The meetings were sometimes so rude and ugly, extra security had to be called in at times.

I recall especially how nasty this crowd was to Harriet and Bill Bathman. They are elderly people, on a fixed income. They were against the override and were interrupted with jeering as they tried to speak. Years ago, they were missionaries who served in the name of Christ behind the Iron Curtain. See more here: Frontline Fellowship – Support our American Missionaries.                 

I have touched the tip of the iceberg in identifying what you have accomplished and what you have tolerated. Through it all, you have maintained your gracious, respectful demeanor. All of you have performed remarkably on the board with no compensation. You are all volunteers.

There are many reasons I am against the override.  However, one of them is identified in your letter to Mr. (Name Redacted). (I have underlined the relevant phrase.)  It is found in this sentence: “I also plainly stated at the time that if after having done those things it still appeared that such a thing was needed we would come back to the voters with numbers that we could all trust and for likely a reduced amount.”

I don’t accept your premise that you have numbers you can trust. No, you don’t. You have been dealing with a bureaucracy that is extremely experienced in resisting attempts to provide conservative board members with “numbers you can trust.” This is a bureaucracy that despises conservatives and wants more than anything to get rid of all of you.

Here’s an example of one of those people who has been responsible for providing you with numbers you can trust: former Superintendent Dave Allison. Outwardly gracious, but we recently learned that he and/or GPS staff saw to it that his emails got shredded, thus destroying evidence and obstructing justice. See Gilbert Public Schools: Destroying Evidence and Obstructing Justice.   

While you were fighting against the time-wasting antics brought down on your heads by the unions and their supporters, the budget took a back seat. Time passed. Once you could focus on it, your backs were up against a wall. You were presented with budget options that were carefully designed by GPS staff. You could “pick one.”

You couldn’t focus on the critical details of Budget C. You couldn’t get a budget that YOU wanted. GPS Staff gave you “multiple choice.”

In ‘trusting’ the 6.6% override, I have to ‘trust’ the numbers presented by GPS staff. GPS staff members have not demonstrated to me that they can be trusted."

See also:

Maricopa County Bond and Override Elections

Gilbert Schools Want Property Tax Override, yet Still Squanders Money 

Support Strong Schools: Get the Facts.

Just Say No to District Overrides

CAUTION: The Public Schools are Back AGAIN asking for a Budget Increase

NO MORE OVERRIDES!

We Live within our Means.  So can Gilbert Schools

More Isn’t Always Better 

Gilbert Schools Receives Money from Multiple Sources, but they Want More.  Vote NO to the Override.

More Isn’t Always Better (Part 2)

There is No Correlation between Spending and Performance

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