Letter: ‘Evergreen’s Yes for Schools buys election’

Vancouver resident Gary Wilson responds to the election results for the Evergreen School District’s levy request

Editor’s note: Opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are those of the author alone and do not reflect the editorial position of ClarkCountyToday.com

The Evergreen ‘Yes for Schools’ has effectively bought the recent April 26 election. They had two mass mailings in three weeks to almost 100,000 registered voters each time as well as Door Knocker flyers and four times the amount of signs. The voters of the Evergreen School District were basically brainwashed (by an approximately $100 to $1 effort) into voting for this second attempt at a levy that had previously lost by over 3,600 votes in February. An estimated $70,000 was spent vs. $750 and it worked.

Gary Wilson
Gary Wilson

The initial count on election night was razor close as there were 10,916 ‘Yes’ votes to 10,633 ‘No’ votes showing a lead of only 283 votes (50.66% to 49.34%). The second mass mailing occurring in the last week of the election had its effect in the ballots counted after that initial return as the ‘Yes’ votes took a more commanding lead.  

Any candidate, referendum, levy, or initiative would typically win by a landslide given the same $100 to $1 ratio. That said, it shows you can buy an election when the vote would otherwise go in the opposite direction. Personally, I was more concerned about getting the truth out to voters (parents/grandparents) than I was about whether the levy passed or failed. I know this levy funds some needed support and extracurricular activities. The question comes in though, how do we effect change when the school district and school board only cares about agendas and not the quality of education the district is giving our children?

As stated in an earlier Op Ed and in the Voters Pamphlet: 80% of ESD students are failing Math standards and 60% are failing English (per OSPI). Contrast Camas school district where over 70% are passing English standards and well over half are passing Math. I’ve asked the board to do an analysis to show which students have passed and failed Math standards and who were their teachers for the last two years and see if there is a pattern identifying which teachers are successful and which are not. Or does this board believe Camas students are two to three times smarter than Evergreen students?  

Evergreen as well as Washington state on the whole has been failing to meet standards more and more each year for the last several years as more and more class time is spent on social engineering lessons (‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ and ‘Social Emotional Learning’ which among other things has our children question their gender) as well as sexually explicit Planned Parenthood Flash Curriculum (instead of more factual and family friendly “Check the Facts”). As a result, less and less class time is now spent on academics (English, Math, and Science) and it shows.

I believe even ESD’s 8 out of 10 failing Math students could probably figure that arithmetic out, whereas sadly, 54% of ESD’s voters/parents and the entire school board failed. We’ve shared these pathetic percentages of students meeting standards at several board meetings with no response until one of us mentioned at the March 8 board meeting that “we will actively work to defeat your levy.’’ That instantly got this board’s attention. Why?

This board and the district strangely could care less about teaching the fundamentals. They do care, however, about two things: they care about teaching the progressive agenda and they care about the money.

The current levy ($38,650,000) only makes up 11% of their approx. $350,000,000 budget. The other 89% (or approx. $311,350,000) is state and federally funded with your tax dollars. We fund the entire $350 million (but you only have a say over this $38 million or 11% levy). How do you effect change when an entity is not doing its job effectively? By voting down the only portion you have any power over (the levy). Sadly, it’s what needed to be done for the right reasons.  When you “Do the Math”… approving it only continues the perpetual funding of poor education. When will we wake up?

Gary Wilson


    1. Victoria Bradford

      It was the citizens committee. Gary has vastly over stated the amount spent. It was just over $30,000. All can be verified with the PDC.

      1. Gary Wilson

        OK – I stand corrected, more like $50 to $1. Any candidate or levy with that kind of advantage should still win by a landslide. That should tell you something Victoria.

  1. Scott Hooper

    Excellent description of how our elections work. In general, there are only three strategies:

    1. Convince people to vote for you (or ‘yes’)
    2. Convince people NOT to vote for someone else
    3. Try to control who can vote (gerrymandering, burdensome voting laws)

    This is why Citizen’s United is so dangerous: corporations can overwhelm and win any election they want. When it comes to propaganda and ‘training’ people, money is all that matters.

    I have nothing to say about ESD as my child isn’t in it, but the disparity in Math seems startling.

  2. Stacy Bonnett

    Let’s do the math Gary.
    Cash Donations: $31,246.00 Expenditures: $31,611 (All verifiable on the PDC website)
    4,500 phone calls with more than 280 volunteer shifts
    12,500 walk/knock doors
    29,701 text messages
    Over 500-yard signs
    Social Media campaign
    Columbian banner ads
    Sounds like a well-run campaign to me!

    1. Gary Wilson

      You must have agreed with the other points made in the article since you were only correcting the cost. Glad you agree ESD is providing sub par education as proven by the % of students meeting standards. All parents should demand better.

  3. Mike

    The question everyone should be asking is how many new “Executive Director” positions did Evergreen create in the last two years and what are their “duties”? You can bet that someone is responsible for “Social/Emotional Learning” and “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” training in your district.

    Battle Ground has created two in the last year – one of the positions is “school Improvement” and he has been conducting “Equity Training” for district and school administrators since last year. This is coming at the expense of school safety and teaching.

    One last thing – how many more “counselor” and “administrative” positions need to be created to improve state test scores?

    1. Gary Wilson

      Spot on Mike.

      I know Karissa Hightower is Evergreen’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director making in the realm of $180K/year. Add that to the last Superintendent’s salary of $305K being paid to him for this whole year for the privilege of being fired ‘without cause’ because they did not want him to have his day in court.

      That’s about a half Million ($500K) right there. Quality teachers, not high priced administrators are what this school district needs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *