Vancouver resident Gary Wilson shares his reasons why voters should not support Evergreen School District 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 School District is attempting another voter approved levy just two months after 57.2 percent of the voters rejected their last levy Feb. 8 (by over 3,600 votes). They say it is not an increase as the levy rate is the same as the current levy, however, that is disingenuous thanks to our ever increasing property values (11 percent average increase this year). This tax will increase an estimated 24 percent over the next three years and produce an additional $25 million for a school district whose enrollment declined by 4,000 students (17 percent) since the last levy passed in the 2018-19 school year. Approving this levy will increase inflation for each of us including renters.
Let’s look at the current levy’s operating results…
Per OSPI’s website: Far less than half of ESD’s students met standards for English 39.2 percent, Science 45.5 percent and Math 20.5 percent (that’s 4 out of 5 failing to meet Math standards). Any operating company with these failure rates for their services would be out of business overnight, yet in our state run government school system these numbers are not only tolerated but totally ignored. I have been to 10 of the last 11 ESD school board meetings and spoken out several times concerning this to No Response. (Note: in contrast the Camas School District which is next to Evergreen has on average almost double the percent of students meeting standards with English 70.3 percent, Science 73.0 percent and Math 54.4 percent, which granted, Math is still low but at least well more than half are meeting Math standards in Camas compared to only 1 in 5 at Evergreen). Until a more concerted effort on stressing academics, no more money is warranted.
These percentages should be an embarrassment to every school board member, teacher, and administrative employee. Students and Parents deserve better and we already pay for better with our state and federal taxes totaling $15K/student in this district. This funding is in addition to that and will not help the education of our students until a fundamental change and refocus is made on academics. Throwing more money at this is just throwing good money after bad.
The parents of the Evergreen School District do not realize what a poor education this district is giving to their children as less and less class time is devoted to academics (English, Science and Math) while more and more class time is devoted to non-academic lessons such as ‘Social Emotional Learning’ and ‘Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion’ which among other things has children question their gender. Also, ‘Culturally Responsive Trainings’ or ‘Practices’ per ESD, which helps pave the way for “Critical Race Theory’’ which parents of all races and nationalities around the country have denounced as ‘racist’ (judges people by the color of their skin).
The ESD school board has been working on an “Equity Policy” since November which rather than giving all students equal opportunities to succeed, attempts to create equal outcomes, lowering those succeeding to match others (keeping more students from meeting standards). All students are created (and should be treated) as equals and given the same chance to succeed. Sadly, some don’t put in the time and effort necessary, so equal outcomes are not justice, but rather injustice for all.
I was hoping to use the No Vote from February’s election over the following months to convince the school board to refocus on academics as I believe that is what the vast majority of parents decided with their vote.
Please Vote “No” again … Send this school board a message again to “Focus on Academics” (sadly, like most ESD Math students they still don’t get it). Also, did ESD protect a former teacher/convicted child molester? (See ESD Students Instagram page: “youfailedtoprotectus”). Lastly, don’t forget last year’s fired superintendent’s 305K salary still being paid to him for the rest of this year (after all, it’s only taxpayer money).