Aspen School District planning town halls for March |

Aspen School District planning town halls for March

The Aspen School District Board of Education plans to hold two town hall-style meetings in early March as part of an ongoing examination of the staff’s climate and culture.

“We’re working on a format with some type of community, town-hall outreach,” Susan Marolt, a member of the Board of Education, said at its meeting earlier this week.

The forums will be open to the public, and board members will be on hand as well, Board President Dwayne Romero said.

Dates for the forums have not been set but will be scheduled for a time when the Denver firm Wilson Foxen, which the board hired in December to lead the study because of its neutral position, will be winding down its work.

The firm’s Liz Wilson has been in Aspen meeting with various individuals, including the staffs at the elementary, middle and high schools this week, as well as employees in the district’s food services and transportation departments. Speaking to the board at its meeting, Wilson added she also has met one-on-one with certain individuals.

The board decided to conduct a climate and culture study following an autumn semester that saw the exit of its human resources department’s director and assistant, and the board’s decision not to renew Superintendent John Maloy’s contract past its expiration date of June 30, 2021.

Next month’s forums, Romero said via email, are intended to “seek additional input from community members, share out info and updates on progress and to continue to build stronger relationships.”

The forums also will provide an opportunity for district residents who have not been part of the ongoing study, which also has included input from an advisory committee, to express themselves, Marolt said. Marolt and board member Sandra Peirce have been working on the organizational aspects of the study.

As well, Wilson told the board she plans to send surveys to the school district’s staff today. Wilson said the surveys are “not based on something coming out of thin air,” and they will address “trust and leadership culture and workplace culture. There are plenty of benchmarks where you can ask very specific questions.”

So far Wilson Foxen has accumulated about $26,000 to $27,000 in billing for its services, including travel and expenses, according to Tuesday’s board discussion.

The study should be completed by the time the district embarks on the spring holiday, set March 25 to 29. The study’s results will be shared with all staff members of the district, Marolt said.

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