Ferndale School Bond – 2018 Fail

The 2018 Election is essentially in the books now and it seems certain that the 2018 Ferndale School Bond has failed, just as past Bonds failed.  For days now I’ve been reading all over Facebook about what bad guys the NO voters are, and how the NO voters just don’t realize how bad FHS is, and how petty the NO voters are to deny the kids a quality school for just $44 per year savings in property taxes.

Well, I have news.

It’s not the $44 dollars per year, and it’s not that the NO voters are bad people, and it’s not that NO voters don’t understand how bad the schools are; because $44 isn’t that much, 43% of the people in Ferndale are simply not “bad people” and I don’t hear anyone disputing FHS’s dismal condition.  I personally don’t think the 2018 Bond has anything wrong with it at all.

The problem is that a significant number of people in the Ferndale School District(FSD) still don’t trust the Ferndale School Board/Ferndale School District to do the right thing when no one is looking, they have no track record; why do you think there was a Bond Oversight Committee as part of the bond package?  The Oversight Committee was added in an attempt to mitigate the ongoing trust issue that we have when it comes to the School Board.  The School Board knew this but they continued to waste our time and theirs trying to again explain the costing structure of the new bond, guiding “Rat Tours” around the district schools, and polishing up their message in a vain attempt to pressure sell voters on the new bond.  All of that circus was going on while at the same time they were quietly in the process of closing Windward without informing the Bond Committee, raising the District Superintendant’s already outrageous salary as if she were doing an outrageously fantastic job, and accepting awards for the great job they are not doing.

OMG, FSD does not need to give themselves consoling pats on the back, nor give each other sweet boo boo hugs and they do not need to wait 6 months for another survey to tell them what happened.

7 out of 10 voted against the 2014 Bond, over 4 out of 10 voted just voted against the 2018 Bond.

All these NO voters live right here in Ferndale, they are our neighbors, they are us.  FSD needs to listen to these people and take appropriate actions for the sake of all the students coming up through the District and FSD need to do it now, not later, now.

I started out on the Bond Committee and was at the time cautiously optimistic that this time around things might be different.  If you read that post you might recall a few of my concerns:

  • Ferndale School District acknowledged that they have a communication problem with the community at large and that their last post bond poll seemed to also confirm the problem.  Yet, even yesterday’s bond meeting appeared to be hidden from the everyday person.   If I hadn’t gone looking for it I am sure I’d have no idea it had happened.

  • Those in attendance were heavily weighted towards district employees, teachers, and their families.  I give them credit for showing up because most of them were there on personal time, however the demographics are a bit skewed from the everyday Ferndale community.


  • I was perhaps the only person in the meeting who voted against the last bond, yet 70% of the community voted against the last bond.  How do you convert roughly half the NO votes from the last bond run, to YES votes in this bond run, if the NO voters are not part of the process?  To me, this is possibly the biggest red flag.


FSD could bury their head in the sand, polish their sales message, buy more signs, rewrap and regift the same bond and they might squeeze out a pass on the next try, especially if they act quick while there is momentum and pay to get it on the ballot in Feb 2019.  But polishing the sales message in hopes of getting every last potential YES voters to the polls, while at the same time ignoring the concern of the NO voters doesn’t really build strong overall community support for the schools, it tells the 40% that their concerns don’t matter.

This is about District leadership; words and actions must be consistent if they expect us to trust and follow.

The best thing Ferndale School District could do to ensure support on this and future Bonds is talk to all the people who continue to vote NO.  Find out why they don’t support the Bond, then make some fundamental changes to the way the District operates, no matter how unpleasant or unnecessary they may seem.   The District Administration, especially the School Board, should strive to represent everyone in the District, not just the 60% that they hope will vote for this Bond.  If the District strives to represent everyone, the 60% majority will soon become a non-issue.

Link to my 2018 Election Recap

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Garin

Poor as my writing might be, I still like to write. I’ve written a blog or two in the past, but at one point or another they each became a chore rather than a joyful pastime. C.S. Lewis said, regarding writing, “Write about what really interests you, whether it is real things or imaginary things, and nothing else.” I will be following Lewis’ advice so this blog, which bears my name, will remain a joyful pastime. Hope you like bikes.

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