Greenburg: My Scottsdale school board investigation findings

The Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board is at Coronado High School, 7501 E. Virginia Ave. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

As the result of private litigation initially filed against the “unknown owner” of perlebergforsusd.com by Barbara Perleberg in 2018, while she was president of the Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board, I have been able to review metadata from Ms. Perleberg’s cell phone from 4/11/18 through 5/31/19 that was supplied to me by Verizon in civil discovery.

This data shows that SUSD Governing Board members Barbara Perleberg, Sandy Kravetz, Pam Kirby and Kim Hartmann exchanged more than 1,890 sequential text messages and phone calls from 4/11/18 through 12/31/18, conducting board meetings via text and telephone, away from the prying eyes of voters, and exchanged text messages with each other during 2018 Governing Board meetings.

Unfortunately, 2019 Board Members Perleberg and Kravetz have increased their quorum splintering communications dramatically and have continued texting each other during Governing Board meetings.

In fact, Perleberg dramatically increased her text message and phone call communications with both Kravetz and Kirby — whose term ended in 2018 — by more than 150%. In the first five months of 2019, Perleberg and Kravetz exchanged 1,364 text messages and phone calls, and Perleberg and Kirby have exchanged 1,892 text messages and phone calls.

General Counsel Michelle Marshall at a recent Scottsdale Unified School District Governing Board meeting. (File photo)

Perleberg and Kirby have exchanged more texts and phone calls in the first five months of 2019 than Perleberg exchanged with the entire five members of the SUSD Governing Board during the last seven months of 2018.
Board decisions made in secret by splintering the quorum through serial one-on-one conversations, followed by the charade of a monthly meeting, is a humiliation of our community.

It is a further humiliation that these same board members used and continue to use text messaging to communicate with one another during board meetings.

It is important to note that SUSD Board Policy BBAA, in place from April 14, 2015, states in part:

“…. In the spirit of transparency and good governance, Board members shall not text, email or otherwise engage in electronic communication during Board meetings, which includes Executive Session, except to access information stored on the device or the District’s electronic network. Board members will conduct all electronic communications regarding District business through District email accounts.”

There are 10 instances of Barbara Perleberg group texting to a quorum of board members without notice to the public. Allyson Beckham was not included in any of Perleberg’s group texting. It is also notable that on one occasion in 2019, General Counsel Michelle Marshall exchanged texts with Perleberg in a board meeting.

In 12 meetings spanning 4/12/18 to 4/16/19, three board members spent approximately 1.73 hours on the phone with one another talking on the day before or the day of a board meeting. In 16 meetings spanning 6/12/18 through 5/14/19, 3 Governing Board members exchanged 384 text messages on the day before and the day of a meeting.

From 6/7/18 to 12/31/18, Barbara Perleberg exchanged 20 texts with Sandy Kravetz, Pam Kirby, and Kim Hartmann during Governing Board meetings. To see what this looks like, focus on Kirby and Perleberg during the 11/5/18 Special Meeting of the Governing Board, where rebuilding Navajo, Hohokam, and Yavapai were discussed (starting at marker 01:27:00 of the video and continuing for almost 2 minutes).

Scottsdale Schools Governing Board member Barbara Perleberg (File photo)

This comical sequence of texting between Kirby and Perleberg, replete with sideways glances, staring down at their phones, matches perfectly to Verizon’s metadata. From 1/1/19 through 5/31/19, Perleberg and Kravetz exchanged an additional 28 text messages during Board meetings.

Perleberg has exchanged 51 text messages with Kirby during board meetings from 1/1/19 through 5/31/19. Kirby’s possible influence over Perleberg might be visible in the 4/16/19 video of the SUSD Governing Board meeting.

Kravetz made a motion, seconded by Perleberg, to table the discussion for rebuilding Kiva and Pueblo. Perleberg received eight texts leading up to the vote from someone using a cloaked 12-digit wi-fi to phone number (900080000002).

The vote occurred at 20:38 (video time mark of 4:19:03). Within seconds of the vote, SUSD’s video shows Perleberg texting to her purported master, and Verizon’s metadata indicates that text message went to Pam Kirby.

A view of former Governing Board members Pam Kirby and Kim Hartmann. (File photo)

Perleberg’s daily average number of communications with Kravetz (comparing the last 207 days of 2018 with the first 150 days of 2019) increased 157%, from 3.71 to approximately 9.90 communications per day, for a total of 767 and 1,364 over the aforementioned time periods.

Of the 1,364 texts and calls with Kravetz during 2019 through 5/31/19, 357 of these were group texts to both Kravetz and Kirby.

Perleberg’s daily average number of communications with Kirby (comparing the last 207 days of 2018 with the first 150 days of 2019) has increased 176%, from 4.56 communications per day to approximately12.61 communications per day, for a total of 943 and 1,892 communications over the aforementioned time periods.

For a district fined more than $300,000 in 1998 for OML violations and operating under a consent decree with the AG’s office, which requires special OML training at the beginning of every year, the behavior of 2018 Board President Perleberg and her texting colleagues is both disgraceful and despicable.

That Perleberg and Kravetz have dramatically increased their texting to one another, including their texting to one another during board meetings, should surprise no one. If the district is to be successful in their current M&O Override Election, the remaining corruption of the Birdwell Board must be properly addressed and eliminated.

Editor’s note: Mr. Greenburg is a resident of Scottsdale

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