What will the largest employer in Gilbert with a $305+ Million budget do when a tiny minority seeks to uncover the truth and expose it to the open public? Apparently, just about anything within the law… and then some. You can’t really blame the folks who have been at it for years and years. Many of these people can honestly go home and sleep well at night believing that they’ve done their duty and done their job correctly. What they don’t realize is that years of being desensitized has lead to corruption at their hands without even noticing. “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.” – C.S. Lewis, “The Screwtape Letters”.
It’s no secret that GPS hopes to see Gilbert citizens renew the budget override this election cycle that was passed back in 2007. Lesser known is that this hope follows on the heels of a 30% increase to home owner’s primary AND secondary property taxes. Even lesser known are many of the shenanigans a few district admins have played to ensure the passage of the override. They include but are not limited to:
- Directing the School Board President – EJ Anderson to sign a “Pro” statement to be included in the ballot on behalf of the entire board without presenting the statement to the board for approval. For a board member to knowingly represent the entire board on any issue and sign their name is against the law. Depending on the circumstances, the crime is classified as a class 4 felony.
- Attending PTO meetings and other such gatherings held at various locations both on and off campuses and speaking to (if not outright intimidating) people claiming to not be a person of authority while speaking in an authoritative manner on an authoritative subject. This is a violation of ARS 15-511.C and is a clear case of abuse of authority. But it’s not just one case… it’s several, and it’s not just this year. District admins received complaints during the 2010 election cycle regarding Prop 100 that increased state sales taxes 1% “temporarily” for 3 years (unless Prop 204 passes).
- Intimidation of private citizenry. Truth is often stranger than fiction. It’s often surprising what some folks will do when the political climate appears to be changing and what once was easy to push past the public is now much more “sticky”. See how private citizens got “stuck” by a district admin by reading GPS District Admin Uses Intimidation Tactics to Influence School Board Election.
- Sending notices, newsletters, and other written communications home with students regarding the override with a lop-sided or slanted position intended to encourage a specific outcome at the polls. Again, this is an ARS 15-511 abuse. Tax-payers are funding the district to influence an election outcome that they may not necessarily agree with. This is an abuse of tax-payer monies… and it’s ironic that they are clamouring for more money… perhaps in order to continue to do it again and again.
- GPS administrators sit on the Gilbert Education Foundation committee, an organization intended to help fund GPS with revenues… revenues coming from contributors making “charitable donations” that are also multi-million dollar vendors to Gilbert Public Schools. Hmm… isn’t that a conflict of interest? If not technically… it sure smells bad. The same administrators that decide which vendor wins a contract, and low and behold, the same vendors that contribute to the very organization that these administrators sit on manages to win the contracts over and over again. Hmm… now why isn’t this kind of stuff reported on by the mainstream media???
- GPS administrators will threaten members of the public with frivilous lawsuits claiming libel with cease and desist demand letters and such. All this in an attempt to intimidate, with hopes that such measures will in essence “gag” the individual(s). See GSInfo gets SLAPPed by GPS Admin (Mrs. Barb VeNard – Assistant Superintendent) for more details on this.
How many reasons do we need to hold GPS accountable and demand full transparency and disclosure? Stay tuned to this website as future articles intend to expand on several of these points and more. Use our RSS feeds for automatic alerts to new articles that provide information you won’t find anywhere else.
If you agree that spending nearly $225,000 to educate an average class size of 27 students each year in GPS is on the high side… then perhaps you may reconsider and vote NO on the override. Where does this math come from? Simple. GPS has an average class-room size of 27 students. Some classrooms have more, some less. With a $305 Million budget and total enrollment of 36,700 students, the total per student is $8,310. Multiply the cost per student by 27 for the average class size and you get $224,386. By the way, the average teacher receives $43,000 in salary while district admins receive upwards of $100,000 or more. GPS Superintendent Dr. Dave Allison receives $173,000 and can even opt for a $10,000 bonus.