On Feb 13th 2018 the final votes must be submitted to approve or deny the $695 million capital bond.
It should be noted that the total amount of money to be spent, based on the statement from the EGSD, is $802 million. This is comprised of $695 million for the bond + $95 million from the State of Washington + $12 million in housing impact fees. So, for accuracy purposes voters are being asked to approve expenditures in the amount of $802 million.
The Pro (Yes) position can be seen at:
Evergreen School District: http://www.evergreenps.org/envision
The Con (No) position is hosted on this page
Note: A Public Information Request was submitted to the EGSD on November 15th, 2017. The district responded with materials on December 22nd. We have been reviewing the materials (there are hundreds of pages). The link to the full document set is: https://evergreenps-my.sharepoint.com/personal/scott_deutsch_evergreenps_org/_layouts/15/guestaccess.aspx?folderid=07992332eeda9477488539e4c9999f9fc&authkey=AUzqUnCSqpAgLcrN2fkY2hE&e=bf14316ace244c04b25dfbc37b35a8f2
Update February 3rd
We filed a Public Information Request with the EGSD to find out how much money they spend on “asset preservation”. This term, according to the EGSD, means:
Per WAC 392-347-023, an Asset Preservation Programis:
(a) A systematic approach to ensure performance accountability; promote student health and safety by maintaining and operating building systems to their design capacity; maintain an encouraging learning environment; and extend building life, thus minimizing future capital needs.
(b) An asset preservation system is a system of tasks or projects that are active, reactive, or proactive in maintaining the day to day health, safety, and instructional quality of the school facility and tasks or projects that are proactive, predictive or preventative in maintaining the school facility over its thirty-year expected life cycle.
So…how much do they spend on maintaining buildings, roofs and other work? Not much. In the attached document you’ll find their full disclosure. We’ll highlight in case you don’t want to open and read it: Evergreen_M&O – Asset Preservation Summary_2010-2017
Sept-Dec 2017 $538,671.46
CAPITAL RENEWAL: The $3-$5M/year includes minor and major projects that 1) change the current design of the building or grounds to address program needs or 2) replacement of equipment that has outlived it’s useful life and therefore adds to the physical value of the fixed asset. Note: We asked for more detail and they would not provide it. $3-$5 million/year is up to a 60% variance.
The 2016/17 general budget was $329,207,668
- If you take the Infrastructure Maintenance at $1,539,950.27 = 0.00467%
- If we look back 6 years we see less than 1/2 this amount spent.
- The lack of investment from 2010-2015 (and the variance) says they were diverting money to other programs/needs
- If you add in $3-$5 million per year for Capital Renewal = $4,539,950 to $6,539,950 = 0.0137% to 0.0198%
- Best case? slightly over 1% to just under 2%.
- What does this mean?
- They are spending almost nothing maintaining the facilities. When those facilities degrade they go to you, the taxpayer, and ask for money in a Capital Bond.
- Some facilities get old and need to be replaced. Functionality changes requiring updates
- In the end, a poor maintenance program costs LOTS of money. Unless parents and taxpayers are vigilant and demand the School Board spend money on facilities they fall apart.
Update Jan 29th
As we get ready to vote yes or no on the Evergreen School District Capital Bond it may be a good time to look at our property tax bills.
http://gis.clark.wa.gov/gishome/Property/ Click on the link and enter your address you should be able to see what you pay. Please note that 2018 will see increases in:
1) Assessed value up a projected 9.4%
2) State school tax rate UP from $1.98/$1000 to $2.90/$1000
3) Clark County Property tax +1%
4) Fire district +?
In our case the 2017 taxes were over $5500 with 2018 going to be over $6000. About 57% of property taxes goes to local and state for schools.
Looking at taxes in total and not just specific items helps all of us determine what we can afford.
When was the last time you checked your tax bill out in detail?
Update January 28th
Wonder how the Evergreen SD compares to Battle Ground since both are running bonds? Other than the size (EGSD is 2x larger) and the bond amounts ($225 vs $695) here are the demographics. Based on this information Battle Ground SD residents are better able to afford a bond than EGSD.
Update Jan 23, 2018
Here’s an article published in ClarkCountyToday that offers information on the Pro and Con
We added some comments at CCT. Here they are in case you don’t get to the article itself:
One of the ways school district can deal with the changing needs of facilities is through proper use of Levy funds. Levy’s are called Maintenance & Operations Levy’s but 80-90% (depending on the district) use the money to pay teachers and support personnel. The remaining 10-20% is actually used for M&O and “asset preservation” (a fancy way of saying roof and other structural replacement needs.
Levy funds could be used to take care of aging schools and add cafeteria’s, Gym’s, Libraries or pay for repairs and updates. The fact that school boards in SWW choose to use levy money to pay people instead of maintain facilities is a choice.
In the past 10 years the EGSD has taken in $475,046,265 in Levy money (http://www.k12.wa.us/safs/data/reportformatter.asp) An estimated 15% of that going to M&O = $71,256,939 leaving $403,789,932 that went to salaries and benefits of personnel the State did not pay for.
If the EGSD Board of Directors had used jsut 1/4 of the non-M&O funds they would have had almost $101 million for school repairs and construction. Since a new primary/middle school campus runs $25-$30 million they could have rebuilt 3-4 school entirely in the last 10 years.
The fact is that the School Board made the decision to spend money on extra people…but ask them for proof that those extra bodies did anything measureable that was positive and see what they say.
Tell the EGSB NO! Tell them to reallocate levy funds to what they are intended for…Maintenance & Operations. If you vote Yes then you are telling them to keep doing the same old things and come back to you again and again for more and more money. What the heck…it’s just money…right?
Ok…there are so many documents it would take hours to look through them. We’ve distilled everything down to the essentials. Following is our summary along with links to those documents we believe are important in helping voters determine whether to say Yes or No.
The Evergreen SD supplied a series of documents in response to a Public Information Request file on Nov 15, 2017. They were delivered, via a link, electronically on Dec 22, 2017.
In the course of reviewing the documents there are some observations that are worth making:
- There are eleven (11) projects on the list. Of those eight (8) are for replacement campuses. Of those 8, 5 are listed in Poor condition (Sifton; Image; Marrion; Wy’East and the ASC). Three (3) are listed in Fair condition. Eight (8) appear to be eligible for some State funding support.
- There are five (5) campuses (FIR; HEA; SUN; TRA and WAR) that are rated as “POOR” but are NOT on the replacement list. Two of the 5 appear to be eligible for some State money. Why are 5 campuses listed as POOR off the list but 3 listed as FAIR on the list?
- Age ranges of the targeted replacement campuses range from 36 to 59 years. Why the huge variance? Has the district NOT kept up on Maintenance and thus needs to ask the public to foot the bill?
- They want $695mm and then expect to get $95mm from the State plus $12mm in development impact fees over time. That totals $802 million.
- The student population report from Hovee & Co. projects minimal student growth for the next decade and then small growth. The report characterizes Evergreen as a “mature” district – not growing. They ask for a new campus but the numbers don’t support it.
- $72mm of the $695 is for items that should come out of Maintenance & Operations. Indeed, buying musical instruments and furniture by borrowing money for 21 years is fiscally irresponsible. That’s 10.3% of the bond for items that will wear out in a few years. That’s simply wrong.
- Their projections for property values do NOT come from the Clark County Assessors Office so they are suspect.
- The new State School Property Tax is assessed value based. That means that as values increase taxes go up. That MUST be considered in the taxes owed. Clark County increased property taxes another 1%. Vancouver increased car license tab fees $20 plus a new housing assistance tax. Washington State is considering higher taxes. Gov Inslee wants a Capital Gains and Carbon tax. Special district rates are up. So, one must consider all taxes and not just the bond.
- The “survey” they conducted was poorly done and NOT representative of voters. They tried to paint is as such but it’s not statistically valid.
When they talk about new housing construction they imply or state there will be more students but that’s not the case. They use the M&O (Maintenance and Operations) money for personnel costs instead of doing M&O. Indeed 15% or less of the levy goes to M&O. If they used the money for it’s intended uses they wouldn’t be asking for nearly $100 million for purchases that are going to wear out long before the bill is ever paid.
People can’t afford the bill for this bond; there isn’t justification for a number of the projects and they are wasting money. Vote NO and tell them to propose projects that make sense. The economy is good so they are asking for money while people may have it. People on fixed income are unable to pay. Low income earners are ill equiped to pay the growing taxes. By voting no you tell the School Board and District leadership that they need to sharpen their pencils and ask for what’s needed and not send their fantasy wishlist.
Documents from the link we used in our analysis. Please note that when you open the PDF documents there may be some small “bubble icons”. You can run your mouse over them to read the content or you can click each one to read the comments.
Update Jan 6, 2018: We bring you a list of the campuses listed for replacement as well as those in Poor condition NOT scheduled for replacment. We show you the change in student population for each from 2012/13 to 2016/17. Why do we provide this? Because they claim growth when that’s simply not true. Give this a look by clicking on the pdf file: EGSD_School_Population_2018_Bond_Change
We looked at the list of schools for replacement in the bond and found that five (5) are listed as being in POOR condition…BUT…three (3) are listed as in FAIR condition. Next we looked at the remaining schools in the district to see if any of them were in POOR condition and NOT on the list. Result: Five (5) facilities are listed as POOR but NOT on the replacement list. Why? Doesn’t it make sense to replace the POOR facilities first?
Here’s out document with the information broken down in two areas:
- This document lists the student population change for the “listed” and “unlisted schools” so you can see which are growing and which are not: EGSD_School_Population_2018_Bond_Change
- This document shows the schools; age; condition and whether they are eligible for State support funds: EGSD_2018_Cap_Bond_Age_Cond_SCAP
The Evergreen School Board has announced their intent to place a capital bond on an upcoming ballot (Feb 13, 2018) requesting ~$695 million (plus some State matching money).
They conducted a survey of the public. There are two (2) documents we’ve received to date:
Let’s take a look at their survey and see if it holds water:
- Here is a breakdown of the demographics of the EGSD: https://www.point2homes.com/US/Neighborhood/WA/Clark-County/Evergreen-School-District-Clark-Demographics.html
- There are 82,159 voters in the Evergreen School District
- 63,348 total households
- 43,867 family households
- 23,928 households with children
- 39,721 households without children
- Average number of people per household: 2.64
- Average household income: $70,221.
- Median (1/2 above and 1/2 below): $57,045
- Average household expenditures: $54,729. This means that $70,221 – $54,729 = $15,492 left to spend
- Percent increase in income since 2010: 3%
Now lets take a look at the results of their survey:
- 1,674 people completed the survey. That equals 2% of voters or 2.6% of all households
- 1,410 of those responding said they “somewhat” or “strongly” favor the bond = 84%
- 936 said they have children in the district = 56%
- 30% (431) said they are employees of the district = 25.7%
- 1,003 (71.65%) of those who answsered were female
Analysis and Thoughts
- The wording of the questions is clearly biased. Example: Q5 Evergreen Public Schools is considering a facility improvement bond measure to include building a new elementary school, replace five of the oldest elementary schools, an old middle school and an old high school, improve safety and security at all schools in the district, reduce overcrowding, reduce the use of portable classrooms throughout the district, and improve athletic fields. The estimated bond amount is $695 million. If the election were held today, would you favor or oppose the facility improvement bond measure? The way the answers are prepared directed the outcome. This is poorly designed.
- There is no way to verify whether the responders are employees or not.
- The “study” is statistically invalid.
We would like the following at the earliest possible time. Electronic via email to this email address is acceptable. Given the short time frame between the announcement and the election time is of the essence.
1) The complete budget for the proposed bond showing each line item/project with the local and state money (separate) for each item. This should include the spreadsheet, word or other document(s) necessary for any member of the public to completely understand what the ask is and how the funds will be used.
Capital Facilities Funding Evergreen PS 53 101317-1 Note: This is an impact spreadsheet and NOT a breakdown by project as requested
2) The justification, explanation or similar information for the request
3) Any facility assessment or report by school for those that you propose to refurbish or replace. We are seeking to understand the condition, age and functionality of each facility so all information relating to such is requested.
4) Student historical for the last 3 years plus future population growth projections by each school that you plan to renovate, replace or build new
5) A breakdown on the timing for each project (start and completion dates) as they currently exist
6) Maintenance budget history by school cited for renovation or replacement for the past 10 years and in total for the district. Depending on how you budget there may be a total maintenance budget and/or there may be an “asset preservation” budget. We are seeking to understand the amount of money that has been spent over time to determine not just what the amounts of funding have been but what their change (increase or decrease) over time has been.
7) The projected impact on taxpayers. The amount per $1000 of assessed value. The duration of the bond.
8) Are there any existing capital bonds in place for the district and if so what, how much remaining, the current cost per $1000 of assessed value and any other information relevant to taxpayers.
This information will be shared with the public.
Given the size of your “ask” we expect that all of the information being requested should be readily available since the Board and District should have assembled these materials in their planning process to justify the proposed bond.
Please acknowledge receipt of this Public Information Request and indicate the target delivery date.