Rob Perkins and Bethany Rivard each seeking Position 2 on the Evergreen School District’s Board of Directors

Position 2 is one of to seats on the ESD Board of Directors on Tuesday’s general election ballot

VANCOUVER — The race for Evergreen School District Board of Directors Position 2 is between incumbent Rob Perkins and challenger Bethany Rivard.

Robert Perkins (left) and Bethany Rivard (right) participated in a recent candidate forum presented by the League of Women Voters of Clark County. Photo by Chris Brown
Robert Perkins (left) and Bethany Rivard (right) participated in a recent candidate forum presented by the League of Women Voters of Clark County. Photo by Chris Brown

Perkins was appointed to the board in 2014 and was elected in 2015. He has served as board vice president and board legislative representative. Rivard lists no experience as an elected official, however, her professional experience includes serving as a Washington Teacher Advisory Council member, Professional Educator Standards Board member, and she is a National Board-Certified Teacher.

Here’s a closer look at the candidates (in alphabetical order):

Rob Perkins

In addition to his experience on the Evergreen School Board, Perkins has also served on legislative committees of the Washington State School Directors Association and the OSPI Online Learning Advisory Committee. His professional experience includes 28 years in Information Technology and Software Development. He is currently chief technology officer, Finite Solutions Inc. 

Perkins graduated from Mountain View High School in 1987. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies (History) from Brigham Young University in 2016 and was a member of  Leadership Clark County Class of 2018. His community service includes serving as a FIRST Robotics Mentor (2017-2019); ESDF Alumni Online Community Committee (2012-2013); president, Springbrook Ridge HOA (2008-2011); teacher, LDS Church Educational System (2009-2010) Harmony Elementary School PTA treasurer (2004-2005).

In his statement for the Voters Pamphlet, Perkins stated: “During the past five years I have worked to include the perspectives of all stakeholders to create our community’s vision of schools. I believe that students, parents, teachers, volunteers, employers, and churches all have a place in that vision. I have listened broadly to everyone with an interest in good outcomes for kids. Personal success after graduation requires inspiring them to contribute to the common good, teaching necessary skills for the workplace or college, and motivating them to pursue their interests as good citizens and lifelong learners. 

“With a broad perspective I advocated for better school environments, social and emotional safety, and graduation requirements that make sense. Our community agreed with this by approving Evergreen’s bonds and levies,’’ Perkins added. “Along with the work of volunteers, we stay ‘within our means’ without long-term tax rate increases. In a time of budget cuts, I believe that strong fiscal management means doing this without disrupting a student’s experiences and opportunities.’’

When contacted by Clark County Today, Perkins said, “I campaigned on the idea of continuing my focus on improving safety, relevance, and transparency in the district. Few interviews or panels (during the campaign) sufficiently addressed questions about post-high school pathways for students (House Bill 1599), in light of the significant reforms passed out of the legislature last year.’’

Bethany Rivard

Rivard received a Bachelor’s Degree in English Language Arts from Hunter College and Master of Education Degree from Portland State University. Her community service includes being a school volunteer and education policy advocacy.

In her Voters Pamphlet statement, Rivard stated: “Public education is my passion and my profession. As a teacher for the last 13 years in the Vancouver School District, I understand how school board policy impacts students in the classroom. As a parent, I want the best learning opportunities for my children, and for all students in our community. I was honored as the ESD 112 Regional Teacher of the Year and am Washington’s 2019 National Education Association Excellence in Teaching recipient. I am active in statewide educational leadership. I am a member of the Washington Teacher Advisory Council, a coalition of accomplished educators advocating for student success by informing decisions and influencing policy. In addition, I was appointed by the governor to serve on the Professional Educator Standards Board where I help shape policies that improve and support educator quality and workforce development. 

“My priorities are responding to community feedback, welcoming educator input, and encouraging student engagement with the school board,’’ Rivard added. “I bring extensive educational leadership, classroom experience, and the voice of someone who is both a teacher and parent.’’

When contacted by Clark County Today, Rivard said, “In order to best bridge the gap between educators, students, families with the board and district, we need to have a representative from the education community. Communication with all stakeholders is key in moving forward, and the Evergreen School Board would benefit from the insight of an accomplished and experienced teacher, parent of students in the district, and dedicated student advocate who will make sure all voices are heard and valued.’’

Both candidates participated in a candidate forum organized by the League of Women Voters of Clark County. The candidates were asked at that event to describe their understanding of the revised funding formula enacted in the state of Washington based on the McCleary Decision, which requires the state to adequately fund education and any implications specific to the Evergreen School District.

“So, while we got increased funding from the state, we also had the levy cap,’’ Rivard said. “And in the case of Evergreen School District, the implications of that is that we needed to reconsider where the money was going to. And in those community budget forums, the community was saying that they really wanted to keep direct services. The most important thing to the community was the teachers in the classroom, the aides in the classroom, and that everything else was secondary. 

“So, I think that the implication for the Evergreen School District was that we knew that direct services are the most important and what we need to do going forward is realize that a budget is a moral document,’’ Rivard added. “And we need the entire community, the education community, the parents and the students involved in making those decisions.’’

Perkins responded to the same question by stating, “McCleary reforms raised the state property tax and constrained the collection of local level authority. It was pretty much a wash that was adjusted for inflation. This academic year was probably the low point. And, it’s going up from there, but it isn’t going to track with the expectations of what we need to support our staff, as costs continue to increase.

“Specific to Evergreen, the McCleary formula and the prototypical model school formulas are still short on funding for the mandates behind special education and other mandates,’’ Perkins said. “The state still has not adequately interpreted the law. Strong advocacy is the only thing that kept our $11 million shortfall from being a $20 million shortfall. But within that $11 million we were able to adjust the system without impacting the program of education for children. However, with a 52 percent levy ‘yes’ result on $1.50. I have my doubts about whether we can increase that at all without much more trust from the public.’’

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