The Destruction of GCISD as a Destination District
Summary of Below Details
- April 2022: Two trustees introduced a largely illegal and discriminatory proposed policy and refused to discuss or answer questions about it despite putting it on the agenda. They would not tell the community who wrote the policy.
- May 2022: After candidates funded by outside money won a majority on the school board, they removed Becky St. John from TASB leadership to the detriment of our students and community. As a result, GCISD will not be represented on the TASB Board of Directors, as we have been. Due to a procedural irregularity, this vote will occur again on June 20.
- June 2022: Despite 1,200 signatures on our petition, the trustees funded by outside money once again voted to remove Becky St. John and hence GCISD from TASB leadership. In addition, we learned why the so-called "balanced budget" is not really balanced and some of the detrimental effects of the budget cuts. We once again see a lack of transparency about the CSEL policy introduced in April.
- July 2022: Trustee Nakamura spoke at an RNC event at the end of June and appears to have violated the settlement agreement between GCISD and Dr. James Whitfield. She also spoke of a list of 30 GCISD teachers who are "poison." As a result, GCISD makes headlines for all the wrong reasons, once again. In addition, we learned that GCISD's newly hired Chief Communication Officer left due to the toxic climate. At July's regular board meeting, calls for Trustee Nakamura to resign were plentiful. The board approved spending $400/hr on a lawyer to advise them, something that has not been done in many, many years, if at all. This is in addition to the law firm that advises the school district. Meanwhile, budget cuts abound, and the so-called "balanced budget" was never really balanced. It definitely is no longer, and programs are definitely being cut.
- August 2022: The GCISD school board passed policies that are harmful to students and burdensome to teachers. They are especially discriminatory to LGBTQ+ students. These policies have made GCISD the national epicenter of the attack on public education culture wars. Lawsuits are expected to be filed. They also changed the way trustees are elected, purportedly to help them stay in power. We learned that GCISD will not have Scholastic Book Fairs anymore, supposedly because Scholastic cannot provide a list of books being sold beforehand. Casey & crew stifled discussion of trustees; transparency was once again sorely lacking.
- September 2022: Dr. Robin Ryan announced he is retiring. The current board will choose his replacement. At the September board meeting, Casey Ford put Becky St. John on the agenda without telling her why. She asked for the discussion to be held in public. The four extremists accused her of calling a trustee an expletive at the last board meeting and for lying about the Cantey Hanger lawyer sleeping at board meetings. She patently denied calling anyone an expletive, and we all saw the lawyer snoozing two meetings ago. Meanwhile, speakers read an email from a parent to the board talking about the parent's experience sitting behind Tammy Nakamura at a baseball game, in which the parent says Tammy called Becky an expletive, said she was working to get Dr. Ryan fired, said she couldn't do anything about the teachers leaving, and was callous and rude to said parent. In addition, Tammy recently lost the Region 11 TASB leadership position vote by a wide margin after the board voted to remove Becky from the position, and Tammy did not even show up for her TASB interiew or the TASB conference. Casey & crew once again stifled discussion of trustees, and he threw many people out of the boardroom for supposedly violating decorum. But it was clear there is a pattern of accusing people of things they did not do.
- October 2022: A must-read Texas Monthly article came out exposing how key affiliates of the current GCISD board majority are behind the push for vouchers. During the school board meeting, Dr. Brad Schnautz was approved as Interim Superintendent once Dr. Ryan steps down at the end of the year. We learned from a former employee about the brain drain going on in GCISD. We learned that the teacher raise did not go very far, as many are paying more for health insurance. We learned that the district really has no plan to combat the chilling effect on discussion and literacy that the new policies create.
- November 2022: Trustees voted to sanction a beloved GCISD teacher for leaving mid-year due to the "board majority's" new policies. The board majority once gain unethically and possibly illegally stifled trustee discussion, this time allowing no discussion on the issue of sanctioning the teacher. We also learned our longtime CFO is resigning. We learned more about the extent to which the board's new policies are having an anti-literacy effect and making it difficult to donate books. Last, GCISD is sadly no longer a Top 100 Place to Work in DFW.
- December 2022: GCISD hired the search firm Leasor Crass to help find a new Superintendent. They administered a community survey, which unfortunately has serious limitations. They also held a community feedback forum and a teacher feedback forum. However, teachers were given less than 24 hours notice. At the school board meeting, several people spoke out against the continued stifling of trustee discussion via suspension of Robert's Rules, which may have been done illegally. In addition, we learned GCISD now offers fewer foreign languages than any surrounding district.
- January 2023: The results of the Superintendent survey were not favorable to the views of the current board majority. At the regular board meeting, we learned the district has a deficit of over $6 million dollars and heard reiteration that the budget was never really balanced. In addition, we learned that members of a PAC that supports the board majority were allowed to volunteer at Timberline Elementary (and take pictures) without background checks.
For even more in-depth analysis on certain issues than you will find below, check out our blog.