Altruistic for Education or is it Simple Return On Investment?

Gilbert Supports Education is a political action committee formed to pass the maintenance and operations budget limit increase set to appear on the ballot November 6, 2012.

Many might assume those that financially support this PAC would do so because of their love for children and education. However, when we reviewed the PAC financial reports from the county election website, we learned that the largest majority of supporters have a significant financial profit to gain if voters pass the continued budget override. Can we say hand in the cookie jar?

 

Individual  Contributor                  Donated Amount                              Benefit if Override Passed

Clyde Dangerfield                                     $225                             Approximate $2200 annual salary increase

Barb VeNard                                              $100                            Approximate $2200 annual salary increase

Shane McCord                                           $100                            Approximate $2100 annual salary increase

Jeff Filloon                                                 $100                            Approximate $2100 annual salary increase

Jay Morris                                                  $100                            Approximate $2100 annual salary increase

Doug Daley                                               $100                             Approximate $1900 annual salary increase

Jane Hecker                                               $100                            Approximate $1900 annual salary increase

Karen Coleman                                          $100                            Approximate $1800 annual salary increase

Korry Brenner                                            $100                            Approximate $1800 annual salary increase

Susan Kreitzer                                           $100                            Approximate $1700 annual salary increase

 

It is apparent these GPS administrators are pretty wise with their investments. Who wouldn’t spend $100 to net an additional $2,000 annually. Even if these folks join the average resident and pay an additional $200 per year for property tax, they will still net a pretty good ROI. What happens to the taxpayer that believes approving the budget override is for the children?  They will pay an average of $200 per year for the next several years only to learn that class sizes will still rise because administrators will always have an excuse not to direct the money to the kids.

Perhaps most interesting is the sizeable donation from vendors such as Core Construction. According to the finance report, Core Construction donated all of the signs and H stakes for the campaign. When the budget override was sent to the ballot in 2007, the district alleged that money was needed for teachers’ salaries, class size maintenance, etc. Records show that teachers did not get any significant salary increases and class sizes have actually grown larger. That is called an empty promise.

However, after voters approved the additional taxes by only 52% in 2007, Core Construction was hired the following year to do approximately 80 million dollars in remodeling and new construction work.

Of course we would expect Core Construction to donate the most significant contributions to this campaign. For more information on the relationship between Core Construction and Gilbert Public Schools click here.

Paul Ulan is a political consultant that Gilbert Public Schools hired to consult regarding the override and who has also attended organizational meetings and worked with the Gilbert Supports Education PAC.  In an azcentral article, Mr. Ulan said “There is no conflict of interest in [PAC to support override] receiving money from a group supported by businesses that could potentially benefit from the passing of the ballot measures. The committee is not the district. “That way, there is a buffer between the district and the construction companies,” he said. Read article here.

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