The Gilbert Education Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that raises money to provide teacher grants, student scholarships, and social service assistance to Gilbert Public Schools employees and families.
The largest financial contributor to the GEF is Core Construction. Core Construction is a company that has done a substantial amount of work for Gilbert Public Schools, including the $59M Campo Verde High School.
Much to our surprise, we learned that GPS does not engage in a sealed competitive bid process. Instead, a selection committee is formed with district staff members. The selection committee through a point system of ratings and while engaging in dialogue with the prospective bidders, selects a company best suited for the job. When it comes to construction projects, Core Construction is almost always chosen. It appears they thank the district for the continued business with regular sizeable donations to the Gilbert Education Foundation.
According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, Clyde Dangerfield is listed as the statutory agent for the GEF.
The following individuals are members of the GEF board;
EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBERS
Executive Director: Barb Dwyer, GPS Substitute Teacher
President: Adelaida Severson, Bushtex Inc.
Former President: Blake Sacha, Intel Corp.
Secretary: Deb Carr
CURRENT STANDING BOARD MEMBERS
Dave Allison – Superintendent GPS
Helen Hollands – GPS Board Member
DeAnn Royster, GPS – United Way
Annette Sellers – Gilbert Chambers of Commerce
Jineane Ford -TV & Radio Personallity
Brian Traub – Orbital Sciences
Clyde Baker – Owner\Baker School of Music
Tony Yantos – GM San Tan Walmart
Anthony Kirlew – A.K.A. Internet Marketing
JoAnn Saba-Alvarez – State Farm Insurance
Ralph Willett – Ralph Willett CPA, PLC
Brenda Damm-Morreim, Community Member
Jeff Filloon, Gilbert Public Schools
Brad Barrett, Former GPS Superintendent
Jim Smith, Tempe Schools Credit Union
Kyle Pottinger, Phoenix Suns
Patty Likens – Salt River Project
Along with Core Construction, the following companies have been key financial contributors to the GEF and have also associated with Gilbert Public Schools;
Salt River Project
Tempe Schools Credit Union
Microfiber Cleaning Products
Get Away Today Vacations
We find the associations interesting and circular. Clyde Dangerfield accepts the bid for proposal, organizes a committee to decide on the vendor (ie, Core Construction, SmartSchools, etc). He recommends to Dave Allison, GPS superintendent and GEF board member, the choice of vendor the committee selected. Dr. Allison, makes a recommendation to governing board members, including Helen Hollands, a GEF board member. In a public meeting the governing board frequently approves the vendor without asking any questions. In the case of Core Construction and Smart Schools, they offer a financial donation to the GEF.
Patty Likens a former public information officer for the Arizona Department of Education, now working for Salt River Project is also a former GEF board member. Last year Ms. Likens was involved in the installation of free solar panels for Gilbert Schools. Article here; http://www.azcentral.com/community/gilbert/articles/2011/07/08/20110708gilbert-schools-getting-solar-power.html Was the board aware that they would be paying SRP a significantly higher cost per kilowatt hour to install the panels? Perhaps they made up the difference in cost by the SRP donation to the GEF? We doubt it.
The GEF provides grants to teachers for the purchase of Promethean Smart Boards, along with other requested items.
Interesting as well, last year when the Attorney General’s Office was investigating Helen Hollands, EJ Andersen and Lily Tram for violations of open meeting law, they denied to the investigating attorney any discussion of board business while the quorum met in the parking lot. They explained instead they were discussing the upcoming Gilbert Education Foundation fundraising dinner, sponsored by Core Construction.