The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

We have to give credit where credit is due. Thank you to all the parents who have given up many hours to carefully monitor what is happening in their children’s schools. There is a cornucopia of information which is being uncovered. Unfortunately, the situation inside the education system is worse than we thought and it all starts with the administration.

During a governing board meeting in March, Paradise Valley Unified School District (PVUSD) announced they are using lobbyists to monitor bills at the Arizona Legislature. We wrote a piece about it and have gotten quite a bit of feedback. One concern is why one school district is trying to affect bills that are passed by a governing body which governs the entire state? In other words, why is PVUSD trying to influence schools in Yuma for example? Others wondered if the contracts for the lobbyists were executed per Arizona statutes.

Procurement | Arizona Auditor General (azauditor.gov)

Perhaps they were, but that will take some more research to determine for sure. In the meantime, how did the lobbyists get hired by Paradise Valley and who are they?

PVUSD was pretty sneaky. If Superintendent Troy Bales hadn’t bemoaned some of the bills moving through the legislature, we still may not know about the district’s lobbyists because as it turns out, the district hid the expense in the budget. Who would look for a lobbyist line item under Maintenance and Operations expenses?

Most parents aren’t lawyers and take words and descriptions at face value. Here is a legal definition of M & O. It’s difficult for most who know how to read to understand how political lobbying relates to Maintenance and Operations, but alas, parents don’t get the big bucks for their “domestic terrorist” label.

Below is the agenda item from February 10, 2022 for the proposed lobbyists.

This is the link to the document describing the lobbyist contract: Paradise Valley Unified School District #69 (boarddocs.com) We will screenshot it just in case it disappears; so many things seem to get canceled mysteriously in the past few years.

Wow, look at Paradise Valley Unified’s Fab Five! We will get back to one in particular on that list shortly. Exactly what does “most advantageous offers” mean?

In the spirit of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, this decision by PVUSD was not a one-and-done. As you can see, the contracts can be renewed for four additional years. That means up to $250,000 may be spent on lobbyists alone. Remember this when Paradise Valley is begging for new desks, computers, toilets, paper, and printers and they tell us there just isn’t enough in their Maintenance and Operations budget and please Arizona Legislature, just give schools more money!

Let’s take a look at HighGround, Inc., a consulting company which is contracting with PVUSD. This will help parents understand some of the recent controversies at their district and at the Legislature. Have some motion sickness medicine ready because your head may be spinning shortly.

HighGround retweeted ASBA, Arizona School Board Association. This is the extremely liberal, anti-parent and child group which pushes Critical Race Theory and Social Emotional Learning, both of which are a precursor for sexually grooming kids.

Here is another head-scratcher tweet involving HighGround.

Remember Dawn Penich-Thacker, a board member for Save Our Schools Arizona? She is also the winner of the ESA Breacher of the Year award.

But wait, there’s more. Doug Cole, one of HighGround’s partners, donated money to Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers.


You know, the Rusty Bowers who is funded by lobbyists and PACs and tried to ease reporting for sexual offenders. This same Rusty Bowers who according to the Arizona Daily Independent also successfully undermined the grassroots precinct committeemen last month in the blink of an eye. Isn’t that interesting? Bowers chose lobbyists over grassroots, just like PVUSD does.

The President and CEO of HighGround, Chuck Coughlin, also donated to Rusty Bowers. Imagine that.

The Deep State is swampy here in Arizona despite our dry climate. The arrows point from one political operative to the next as money changes hands and Arizona families are left to navigate the Everglades in the desert on their own. Parents have been told for years that bills with any teeth in them, in other words financial penalties, will not pass the Arizona Legislature. Now we know why; these bills are being threatened by lobbyists who don’t represent the voters, but instead represent another government agent or bureaucracy.

Superintendent Bales tried to explain to a parent why the district contracted with lobbyists. Did it ever occur to him he and his administration should focus on academics?


So, PVUSD hired lobbyists who are donating money to Big Government legislators while the lobbyists are hired to represent Dr. Bales and his team’s interests.

Chuck Coughlin, who also goes by John or J. Charles Coughlin, donated money to some pretty liberal abortion-minded individuals. We have written about Lela Alston and her armpit Phoenix Union High School District of which she also is a member of the governing board. How about Jen Longdon and her endorsements.

And Tucson’s Senator Victoria Steele.

Note Senator Steele’s Arizona Education Endorsement above. How does this work? If Coughlin or HighGround donate to an AEA or Planned Parenthood candidate, do they advise Paradise Valley Unified Schools accordingly? Do they admit they have a conflict of interest?

The ping-pong balls between these political tricksters are exhausting to follow and we have barely scratched the surface. Imagine what other favors are changing hands. Don’t tell us again “It’s for the children”.

HighGround, Paradise Valley Unified Schools

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