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Aspen schools need financial help

Dear Editor:

Did you know our schools are facing a state-imposed funding crisis? The Aspen School District is earmarked to lose roughly $1 million from its operating budget this year, and maybe more next year.

Dr. Sirko and her team have been doing a tremendous job educating our children, and you may think you are paying for all of this through your taxes. The answer is yes … and no.

Yes, you are paying for the lovely buildings that house our classrooms, but taxes do not cover the ideas that flow within those walls. The funding for teachers, books, supplies and professional development is limited by the state of Colorado to an amount that is approximately $1,900 per student below the national average. Simply put, we need $1,900 per student to get us to average! There is no substitute for a good teacher, and the knowledge imparted to our children within these walls translates to high-achieving, inquisitive and well-adjusted kids.

Do you believe that the education of our children is one of the cornerstones to their success in life and the future of our country? I do. The current funding we have to educate our children is not sufficient. We all feel the pinch of our country’s current economic situation, but shouldn’t education be the last to get cut?

Statewide organizations such as Great Education Colorado (greateducation.org) and others are fighting these cuts, but it will be a long and difficult battle. How can you help? Start by supporting your local school! Locally, the Aspen Education Foundation (AEF) raises money for the Aspen School District with support from parents, second-home owners, local businesses and concerned community members. Even 40 percent of the district’s teachers themselves make donations, which speaks volumes for their dedication to their jobs and the futures of their students.

AEF’s main fundraiser is May Madness. Just last year, more than 500 people participated; AEF was able to raise almost $300,000 for the school. This year, May Madness will be held at the St. Regis on Friday, May 7. Please join the fun and help support the cause! There will be delicious food and drink, and a rockin’ band to keep you entertained all evening.

If you will be out of town or otherwise engaged on the evening of May 7, please consider a donation to AEF. There are multiple ways to give: attend the event and bid on auction items, make an annual donation, or set up a payment plan for small monthly deductions. Every little bit counts. Call (970) 925-3760, ext. 2260, or visit aspenaef.org to purchase your tickets now. Event tickets are $125/person.

Mark Leydecker

president, Aspen Education Foundation


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