Gilbert Schools Board Meeting Tonight: Invocation Returns After 14 Years of Being Silenced!

Please attend tonight’s Gilbert Public Schools District Governing Board meeting tonight at 6:50 pm.  Tonight, Tuesday, July 8, will be the first time that the Invocation will be heard, since it was abolished by a previous board 14 years ago.  The Invocation will be given by Gilbert Mayor John Lewis.

While you are giving thanks, please also include in your prayer the three GPS Board members who made it possible.  These three refused to give up on the fight to return God to the meetings:  President Staci Burk, Clerk Julie Smith, and Board Member Daryl Colvin.

Another reason to attend tonight’s meeting is that the new Superintendent of Gilbert Schools Dr. Christina Kishimoto will be assuming her responsibilities for the first time.  We all wish Dr. Kishimoto the very best, and please take a moment to ask the Lord to bless her and guide her.  She is a competent and talented young woman who wants to do the best job possible for Gilbert’s children. 

The meeting begins with the Invocation at 6:50 pm.  The regular meeting begins at 7:00 pm.

Location:  Governing Board Room, Gilbert Public Schools, Building B, 140 S. Gilbert Road, Gilbert, AZ.

Click HERE for the link to the Agenda.

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Ron Bellus for Gilbert Schools Governing Board

Ron Bellus, candidate for the Gilbert School Board, has received the endorsements of Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, and Maricopa County Treasurer Charles "Hos" Hoskins.

"I have known and worked with Ron Bellus at the Legislature and now at the Corporation Commission for many years," said Commissioner Pierce. "Ron is a knowledgeable and hardworking leader who knows how to accomplish great things. His ability to work with people from diverse backgrounds is critical in bringing a consensus on important issues and will serve Gilbert Schools well. He knows how to compromise on issues but not on principles – and he knows the difference. I trust Ron to do the right thing and I fully endorse him for the Gilbert School Board."

County Attorney Bill Montgomery said:  

"Ron Bellus is an exceptional leader. He demonstrates this with his willingness to be an active part of our Gilbert community for more than 20 years. Ron is a problem solver. He’s able to with people from diverse backgrounds and help bring consensus on important issues. Ron will be a great addition to our Gilbert School Board. And he does portray a great George Washington, doesn’t he?’

According to County Treasurer Hos Hoskins:

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Gilbert Public Schools – Another Property Tax Override?

by Patrick O’Malley
Precinct Committeeman LD12

Gilbert Public Schools (GPS) finished their zero based budgeting process some time ago and were given several budget options from which to choose.  They could have gone for steeper cuts in the budget immediately (option C), but chose less cuts this year and are now discussing asking the voters for an override to avoid the additional cuts that will come up next year. A 10% override has been mentioned, but there are no specific proposals yet.

Almost every school district has one or more property tax overrides in place. It’s the new normal. Capital improvement overrides provide additional money for a specific purpose, like a major upgrade of a school district’s computer system. Maintenance and Operation (M&O) overrides provide schools with additional money for everyday expenses. Theoretically they are used to get past a financial rough patch, but there aren’t any examples of that happening. Instead, the school spends the money like it will be there forever, and as the time approaches for the override to expire, they begin the process of asking the voters for another override to keep the money coming. That’s what is being talked about at GPS.

What Happened to the Technology Override Money?

Another issue with overrides is that the additional money doesn’t always get used the way it was sold to voters. In 2007 GPS voters passed a $57.4 million dollar capital override for computers and internet access. That’s a lot of technology, $1400 per student, but where are the results? There are a few technology bright spots within GPS, but overall the capability is fair to poor.

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Gilbert School Board Meeting Tonight, May 27 at 7:00 pm

Governing Board Room, 7:00 p.m.
Gilbert Public Schools
Building B
140 S. Gilbert Road
Gilbert, AZ 85296

HERE is the link to the agenda.

This week the board will be addressing, among other things, solar panels, selection of textbooks, and yet another budget override election.

Regarding the textbook choices, please read the concerns expressed by Gilbert resident Harry Mathews, in his May 13 comments to the board relating to the Carnegie Algebra I textbook:

President Burk and members of the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board my name is Harry Mathews and I am a resident and taxpayer in Gilbert. I recently reviewed the math textbooks on display in the curriculum office. There were 2 books that caught my attention: The Carnegie Algebra I and II books. I will address here Volume I.

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Gilbert School Board: Thanks for Standing up for Transparency and Accountability

Gilbert resident Susan Hicks has been attending Gilbert School Board meetings for years.  After attending the May 13 meeting, she sent the following letter to the School Board and the Superintendent, Dr. Rice.  Gilbert Watch is publishing the letter, edited slightly, with permission from Ms. Hicks. 

Dear School Board Members and Dr. Rice,

I am writing to congratulate board member Mrs. Julie Smith on her review and study of the Zero based budgeting process, and the accountable "numbers" in the various categories of spending, or lack thereof. I was impressed with her expressing a need for more visual accountability in all categories of spending to see where the dollars are going and how much.  

This is necessary, in order that the superintendency and board members be excellent stewards of the educational dollars they are given. If you don’t know "for what" and "how much" is being spent, there is no way to calculate waste and abuse. We have seen enough of that in the Gilbert Public School system. When the "spenders" are not spending their own money, they tend to not care about the "how much" or "for what."

Accountability, transparency, fiduciary responsibility, and, far too often, integrity get lost in the process.

In contrast, board member Mrs. Humpherys appears to believe that the oversight should be entirely and solely left in the hands of the Superintendent. I disagree!

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The Case Against EJ Anderson for School Board

Ms. Carol Emmett wrote the following letter to the Gilbert School Board, to which incumbent Board President EJ Anderson responded with smug indifference. For additional information regarding this issue, please see Gilbert School District Officials to Displace 645 GJHS Students. The bottom line is that EJ Anderson’s mind was made up to close Gilbert Jr. High School, and it didn’t matter to her how the critical stakeholders felt about it. Blake Sacha and Helen Hollands voted right along with her. Lily Tram was not present, but she expressed the same sentiment. Staci Burk, who has always asked the most questions and pressed for answers, was the lone dissenter.

The Board and the District Officials who created the "mess" to which Ms. Emmett refers ignored their own Strategic Plan, which clearly stated that the community should have been involved in the decision making process. This Board, incompetently led by President Anderson, shoved their decision down the stakeholders’ throats.

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Formal Letter to Police: Investigate Possible GPS District Wrongdoing

The following letter was sent by Ms. Susan Hicks to the Gilbert Public Schools Governing Board Members and interim Superintendent Dr. Jim Rice, following the March 11, 2014 board meeting.  The letter to which Ms. Hicks refers can be read HERE.  

Dear School Board Members and Dr. Rice,

I want to thank Dr. Rice for filling in for us at the helm of Gilbert Public Schools. You have arrived during the process of Gilbert Public Schools creating excellence in education as we take the beginning steps of restoring values, integrity, transparency, and accountability to our school system. Forgive our "construction messes." Thank you for being here.

I would like to address some issues that were brought up at last night’s meeting and Mrs. Humphery’s list of 10 questions or concerns. Mrs. Humpherys, I appreciate your input and questions. There were items on your list that caused me to wonder what your priorities would be for our school district.  A major concern for me was that you questioned what this letter, this investigation, has to do with educating our children. I would like to answer that.  Every governing, and/or administrative body has the fiduciary responsibility to see that the highest standards of integrity and accountability are achieved. Integrity and accountability should be the cornerstone of excellence in education.

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

Whenever conservatives begin to gain a little power, you can expect the entrenched collectivist forces, aided and abetted by the “mainstream” media to start a War against us.  Why are you surprised by the media’s sudden interest in the Gilbert school board’s decisions?  Nothing like blood in the waters to attract the media sharks to go in for the kill. 

The truth is that Media bias is so well established in America that it is measured by how much the American people distrust it.  The mainstream media provides shoddy, glitzy, Leftist, junk journalism, yet people who think they know how to think still get hypnotized.   

The mainstream media despises conservatives and every principle we stand for. 

They sneer the words “TEA Party.”  The only “governance” they promote is centralized, not self governance.

Look with your own eyes at what they report and what they ignore

Check your local and national news and see how they report on issues relating to Climate change, Darwinism, Medicaid expansion, the Unions, Obamacare, Religion/Christian Persecution, Racism, Abortion “Rights,” Gay Marriage, Private property rights, Wind Farms, Solar, “Undocumented” migrants, not to mention their total lack of reporting on the avalanche of opposition to Common Core (aka Arizona College and Career Ready Standards). 

To the mainstream, government is the solution to every problem that government created in the first place.  With a little investigation, they could offer unbiased journalism.  But they are not unbiased.  They are Leftist Progressives.   (See Who is the Leftist?  Who is the Liberal?)        

Their most recent junk hit pieces would have you believe that GPS administrators have left in disgust over the actions of an imbecilic, TEA party (gasp) board, not due to a long standing system of destructive good old boy protectionism within the GPS hierarchy.  Western Connections has been reporting on this for a few years.  In fact "Westie" has reported on the abuses of the Good Old Boys so many times that the term has been shortened to GOB’s.  (Here’s a sample:  Gilbert Public Schools Admins:  Still Stirring up Trouble.) These truths don’t fit the "mainstream’s" Leftist world view, so they make up what does:  See Parents question Changes at Gilbert Public Schools

 Here is the lie stated in another truly disgusting piece of junk journalism by Brahm Resnick:  "Gilbert Town Councilwoman Jenn Daniels says her community must rally around its historically strong public schools, as turmoil at the School Board sends many educators out the door."  If you watched this hit piece, he even pounded his fist on the table trying to get Council Member Daniels to throw "TEA Party"conservatives under the bus.   She didn’t take the bait.  (See Gilbert leaders plead for unity amid School Turmoil.)   

The reason some of those administrators are resigning is very plain to most people who consult the space between their ears:  Those administrators know their contracts won’t be renewed.  Resignations are a graceful way out.  

Never let the Truth get in the way of a good story, especially if it’s a hit piece against conservatives, right Brahm? 

This one’s for you, you little squint:  The Rita Skeeter Interview:  Harry Potter

The Previous Board:  Dereliction of Duty

Prior to the election of Ms. Staci Burk and Mr. Shane Stapley in November 2010,  the Gilbert School Board had been voting in lockstep, approving virtually every recommendation spoon fed to them by Administration.  Look up the Minutes of those “peaceful” meetings (if they haven’t been scrubbed).  For years, the previous Gilbert School board had neglected one of their most important responsibilities:  to be the community’s accountability mechanism, ensuring that school officials wisely and responsibly spend taxpayer dollars.    

When Ms. Burk and Mr. Stapley took office in January 2011, the voting changed from a consistent, lockstep, no questions asked 5-0, to 3-2, and sometimes 4-1.  Ms. Burk and Mr. Stapley began doing the unthinkable:  They questioned Administration’s recommendations.  They also began  holding Administration accountable for their decisions. 

Open Disrespect Toward Conservative Board Members Begins

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The Accomplishments of the Gilbert Schools Governing Board

Not only has the current conservative majority Gilbert School Board brought the schools from a "B" to an "A" rating per the Arizona Auditor General’s report, but they have also been responsible for many other positive changes.  Some of these were initiated by current Board President Staci Burk when she first joined the board in 2011.  Others were accomplished by the conservative majority, when Ms. Burk was joined by Board members Julie Smith and Daryl Colvin in 2013.  

Here are several items initiated by the conservatives that Gilbert Watch found:

1.   Began livestreaming meetings.

2.   Ms. Burk pushed for zero based budgeting.  

3.   Ms. Burk voted against Springboard curriculum (which was highly recommended by previous Director of Curriculum Barb VeNard), based on its poor quality and inappropriate material not consistent with the culture of the Gilbert community.  As a private citizen Ms. Julie Smith spoke out against Springboard.

4.   Saved the District several hundred thousand by insisting that the attorneys take the Crosspointe litigation on a contingency.

5.   Implemented a true teacher pay for performance program.

6.   Discontinued the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the Gilbert Education Assn (aka "the union").

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