The Evolution of D49: “Sunlight Disinfects” by Ivy Liu
Throughout my 2.5-year tenure on the D49 School Board, I have been a personal witness to a series of most unethical and deplorable misconduct.
When I joined the Board in April 2021, they advised me against rocking the boat or being disruptive. Previous boards failed to confront the administration’s declining academic scores and stewardship of finances.
Peter Hilts, a former high school principal of 500 students, became the D49 Superintendent ten years ago and ran the district of about 15,000 students alongside lawyer Brad Miller and eventually BOE member John Graham.
Academic scores dropped by 20-25% from twelve years ago. According to the Colorado Department of Education (CDE), 55-70% of D49 students do not perform at grade level in reading/writing and math respectively. Low-income and minority students fare worse.
The Gazette recently published that D49 with 25K students ranked third from the bottom in the Pikes Peak region, beating only Hanover SD and the School for Deaf and Blind with 300 and 160 students, respectively. Separately, Niche.com awarded D49 a grade of C in “Academics” and a C- in “Administration.” 
Last year, D49’s “Post-Secondary and Workforce Readiness” plummeted to 27%, marking a new low for the district according to CDE. This poses a significant challenge whether students are heading towards skilled trades, white or blue-collar jobs, or college.
I disclosed these CDE statistics to the community in my board presentations and social media to emphasize the dire need for immediate mitigation. My behind the scenes efforts fell on deaf ears.
In response, I was viciously maligned, attacked, and defamed by Hilts, Miller, Graham, Van Wieren, and Thompson for accountability from the Superintendent. Gaslighting escalated as I was falsely accused of “attacking teachers” and “creating a negative culture,” with the intention of deflecting from the Board’s true responsibility to hold our district to the measurable educational accountability our students and families deserved.
With cancel culture on steroids, this “Gang of Five” censured and stripped me of my board treasurer
With cancel culture on steroids, the “Gang of Five” censured and stripped me of my board treasurer office and committee liaison positions WITHOUT due process or just cause in April 2022. This was supposed to force me to quit my elected office out of embarrassment.
Coincidentally, an outspoken board member was dealt a similar ambush in another school district where Brad Miller was attempting to secure a lucrative contract. She quit to protect her family business.
Mob rule. But I refused to succumb to the bullying and cancel culture.
Next, this “Gang of Five” orchestrated a much scale censure on 10 November 2022 in the form of a colossal public humiliation and harassment by leftists imported from elsewhere with coverage from three new Media. 
With Brad Miller as legal counsel, eleven bogus criminal and civil allegations were announced in this orchestrated media blow-up. This censure once again infringed on my freedom of speech and violated my right to due process. They have yet to present any evidence, one year later.
Mob rule continues in D49. But I refused to succumb to the bullying and cancel culture.
Brad Miller and Peter Hilts are adept at targeting those who challenge their authority. The next ambush was a gerrymandering scheme that effectively ensured I could not run for school board in November 2023.
I circumvented that devious move by relocating in compliance with State Statutes. Miller proceeded to interfere with my petition process which included perjury by the Designated Election Officer. We have direct evidence that Miller is the source of a leak of privileged information to the leftists about my “disqualification.”
As the sole exception in El Paso County, D49 is the only board without a conservative majority in a community with over 65% conservatives.
Miller charged the district $200/hr to stalking opposition on Social Media. Mr. Hilts devotes so much time targeting me that I wonder how often he asks about the kids’ academics.
Taxpayers deserve an explanation and plans for scraping D49 off the dirt, given his new annual salary of over $250k, compliments of John Graham, Rick Van Wieren, and Lori Thompson.
The district has lost numerous quality senior leaders and staff these last few years. We have lost numerous families to home schools, charter schools, or other school districts. A significant number of new families in the school district are opting to enroll their kids elsewhere. 
But everyone is trained like robots to exaggerate how well the students are doing.
A federal lawsuit was filed against BOE President John Graham for violating constituents’ freedom of speech, resulting in substantial costs for D49. Despite Miller’s billing of over $220K this year alone, the board hired an external lawyer to represent Graham, who refused to take responsibility for his misconduct. Miller flies under the radar. The district should not bear the cost of one person’s inappropriate behavior. This constitutes waste and abuse by one person’s decision to abusive power and unethical legal counsel.
A lawsuit for defamation has been filed against Graham, Van Wieren, and Thompson For the false bogus allegations they made against me last November. Myy requests for a retraction and reconciliation were ignored. The only recourse left was legal action. The district should not bear the cost of board members’ vindictive lawlessness.
Graham, Hilts, and Miller implemented a ban on three other community members that could have turned into a lawsuit. D49 taxpayers are not aware of these violations of constitutionally protected rights and potential cost to the district.
John Graham is known for his bullying conduct in board meetings and through email. Graham lawlessly isolated two elected board members from normal board processes, effectively silencing the conservative community represented by these two board members. 
Graham, Van Wieren, and Thompson incessantly gloat about being “conservative Constitutional Christians” while following marching orders to vote through the superintendent’s progressive policies.
Fifty some years ago, my dad made a tremendous sacrifice by moving his family to the U.S. away from the influence of Communist China. The irony is that I am witnessing a totalitarian regime in D49 from which my family escaped. The gestapo’s lawless practices, cancel culture, and oppression in D49 need to stop. We the People will make it stop.
THANK GOD more and more community members are learning the truth and stepping up to expose D49 and fight for kids being failed by adults with subversive motives. We the people are not repeating two more years of chaos, bullying, lawlessness and corruption.
If Board members do not finally step up to do what’s good for the children, they need to resign or be recalled. The conservatives will not need to stoop to the tactics of importing protestors to hold up laughable signs demanding resignation.