Aspen, Carbondale charter schools to celebrate with May online auction |

Aspen, Carbondale charter schools to celebrate with May online auction

The Aspen and Carbondale community schools will hold a mid-May fundraiser that they hope will set them on the right financial path for 2021-22.

“We had to have the support of children and families in order to stay open,” said Michael Hayes, executive director of Compass, the nonprofit that runs the two K-8 schools, both of which stayed open the entire academic year by offering in-person classroom learning. “We functioned as a community and we rose to the occasion.”

In keeping with that spirit, the organization is soldiering onward with an adapted version of its annual Family Hoedown fundraiser. It’s impossible this year to invite the public into a horse arena for dinner, games, contests and rides on the mechanical bull, but there is still a way for families to support the school financially and score great deals on meals, vacations, gift certificates and other goodies.

It’s an online auction scheduled to run from 8 a.m. May 15 to 10 p.m. May 25 at Among the items up for bid are IKON ski passes, a two-week stay for your dog at Cottonwood Kennels, and a recycled vintage art bike from Dirt Snowmass, among many others. And the proceeds go directly to the schools.

Last year 250 businesses and organizations contributed to the auction and the schools raised $45,000. Sponsors such as Alpine Bank and Hometeam BBQ have lined up this year, along with newcomers too.

“Our schools were community-based before the pandemic, so our families were used to coming together for fund-raisers, meals and all-school plays,” said Jenny Jones, a parent and Compass board member.

Despite the daily health screenings, the masks, the social distancing and all the pesky pandemic restrictions, staff and families at the campuses in Carbondale and Woody Creek erected tents on campus and sprucing up outbuildings in order to accommodate all their students. They held weekly virtual all-school meetings on Zoom and took field trips when the weather permitted.

Both schools even staged their spring musicals, although this year they produced films instead of live theater.

The Aspen Community School will host an outdoor premiere their pre-recorded production on May 14 for families and students in fifth through eighth grade and on May 15 for families and students in kindergarten through fourth grade. The event is not open to the public.

The Carbondale Community School will host a virtual viewing event for their production, titled “It’s a Mystery,” on May 24.