Support Aspen schools, and vote ‘yes’ on 2B | AspenTimes.com

Support Aspen schools, and vote ‘yes’ on 2B

Dear Editor:

Finally, a funding initiative for Aspen schools and our children’s education! Do you know that the Aspen School District is looking at a funding deficit of approximately $500 per student? It is hard to imagine that in a community such as ours.

Last year, Proposition 103 tried to increase funding to schools by increasing sales and income tax but was unfortunately defeated. While Aspen supported this measure, the rest of the state did not.

Now we have another chance with 2B. We need to look within our own community to help support the Aspen school system and our children’s education. By proceeding on this course, we do not have to wait for state funding – if that funding comes at all.

The school district has already made sizable budget cuts while trying to keep these cuts away from the classroom. In order to realize the $2 million in reductions over the past four years, the district has reduced staff due to attrition, maintained pay freezes for teachers, added three furlough days and decreased funds for travel expenses, textbooks, supplies and field trips. The district also has increased fees for families, such as parking, lunches, sports fees and full-day kindergarten. What will the next budget cuts be? These new cuts could involve reducing staff (teachers) or maybe free bus transportation and a definite reduction in programs offered.

I personally don’t want to wait to find out.

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We’ve already dipped into our school (rainy day) reserve fund in order to maintain our current programs, staff and activities. Do we want to see more cuts? Since the end of the recession, there is a $1 billion gap between what the state can fund and what it should be funding our schools. We can expect this problem to worsen over the next decade as long as our state revenues stay restricted for schools.

How does 2B affect us every day? On a purchase of $100, it would add 30 cents in tax. Please learn for yourself why we need a 0.3 percent sales tax initiative for our schools, and watch this video – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QuOhVt37

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Aspen is an amazing place to live and an incredible community, which, in my experience, has always answered the call when help is required. The Aspen school system needs our help! Education is a precious commodity that should not be compromised.

Please vote “yes” on 2B on Tuesday.

Liz Howie

Aspen

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