Stand for something or fall for anything: Why the Gilbert School Board race is Critical

by Joe Nicita
Gilbert resident, father, and community volunteer.

Below are excerpts from Mr. Nicita’s Opinion Piece that was recently published in the East Valley Tribune. He speaks the truth about what he has witnessed.  For years, the previous school board members barely questioned and followed the advice of the Superintendent and other Administrators.  That changed when the conservatives became a majority.  They began asking questions and requested back-up documents.  They performed "due diligence."  Not doing this can cost a community millions of wasted dollars.  That’s what happened in the Higley School district.  See Higley’s $300 Million Debacle.  

"Roughly two years ago, I came home from work to find a letter on my front door. That letter was to inform me about a junior high school in my neighborhood that was closing. As any community member would, I simply asked why?

"From that moment, I sought out the facts to further understand what the reasons were behind the school closing. Once I found out the facts on my own, I came up with a plan, built a network of neighbors and worked together in saving Gilbert Junior High School. We fought for GJHS, together, as a community, because it was the right thing to do. We stood up because this school was poised to shut down for the wrong reasons. That fight was my introduction into being involved in Gilbert schools, winter of 2012. I went from knowing very few people to creating bonds that will last a lifetime, all because we stood united for what was right."

(Gilbert Watch Note:  Candidate for reelection to the school board Jill Humpherys voted to close the Gilbert Junior High School.  She followed the advice of Administration.  Board member Staci Burk voted against that action.  Later, upon the election of Julie Smith and Daryl Colvin, the decision was reversed.  Gilbert Junior High School remains open today.)  

"Here we stand in the fall of 2014, and as a Gilbert resident, volunteer, and father of three, once again I’m terribly concerned. Not concerned by our schools, not by our students and not concerned by the many bright, sharp, new faces and families moving into our district. Those parts of Gilbert are stronger than they’ve ever been.

"I’m concerned by the folks who are so terrified of losing seats on a local school board that they will stop at nothing. And once again, much like two years ago that inspired me to get involved, it appears to be for the wrong reasons.

"Before I connect the dots between the network of entities I’m referring to, allow me to describe the troublesome behavior I’ve witnessed firsthand over the past 16 months, all leading up to this election.

"It concerns me that Gilbert community members and their families, school board members and candidates, and local volunteers have had to endure personal attacks, vandalism of personal property, stalking and intimidation at the hands of this desperate network of disgruntled people. This group does not believe in fair play, and time and again, crosses the line.

"The irresponsible, yet methodical acts (and I have mountains of examples), sink lower and lower with each passing day. These anonymous, slanderous attacks all hatch from within the same network. The people in this network also happen to be boisterous supporters of incumbent school board member Jill Humpherys and school board hopeful Charles Santa Cruz. Because they know the discontent they generate and broadcast is so despicable, the players within this destructive network remain anonymous. They hide behind entities with long titles and create fake social media profiles to carry out this ugly behavior.

The collaborative network includes, but is not limited to:

• Save our dedicated GPS employees (Facebook page, anonymous administrators)

• Unite for Education (Political action committee)

• GPS Board Observer (WordPress blog, anonymous administrators)

(Gilbert Watch Note:  This list goes on.  Mr. Nicita also cites the many personal attacks that these people, including the media, have waged against the conservative board.  Incredibly, the accomplishments of the conservative School board have been breathtaking!  None of that is reported by the media.  And when the accomplishments are cited, they are denigrated and ridiculed.)  

Mr. Nicita goes on:

"For this network, it’s no longer about Gilbert, it’s no longer about our children. For this network, it’s about control.. It’s about “taking their board back,” an actual phrase used in one of their blogs.

"I’m not communicating this because I support Dawn Brimhall, Reed Carr, or Ron Bellus for Gilbert Public School Board. I’m conveying this information because I do not and will not support the tasteless, inappropriate decorum by the network that supports Humpherys and Santa Cruz. This divisive, cowardly behavior needs to be investigated, exposed, and put to an end. The people behind this dark curtain need to be held accountable.

"For my fellow Gilbert residents who have a vote on Nov. 4 and determine who will steer our schools, I encourage you to walk with me once again and not support these negative networks. Let’s stand up to these bullies and make a difference. It’s astonishing and disappointing that the network that supports Humpherys and Santa Cruz has not been held accountable for their troublesome, and in most cases disorderly, culture. Perhaps they can be held accountable on Nov. 4. It’s up to us."

Click HERE to read Mr. Nicita’s entire Opinion Piece.  

See Also:

Invocation Returns after 14 Years of Being Silenced

Accomplishments of the Gilbert Schools Governing Board

Gilbert’s Conservative School Board:  WAR is the Price of Neglect

Gilbert School Board Meeting 1/8/2013:  What’s Next?