No guarantees with 3B | AspenTimes.com

No guarantees with 3B

Dear Editor:This is in response to the recent letters written by the proponents of Issue 3B, which would allow for five additional classrooms in the elementary school. This would definitely benefit the current student body and teaching staff greatly.My issue is that increased capacity could possibly lead to increased enrollment and all that it brings. Over the last 23-plus years, I have had the honor to care for hundreds of our community children. My intention is advocacy for children; a child is a child no matter where they come from. Our school’s resources have indeed been stretched thin with the current enrollment, overcrowded, and using classrooms not intended to be classrooms, with approximately 20 percent of our student population enrolled from out of our school district.Is it fair to use out-of-district “choice” students as a “cushion” to maintain a budget, while over the 13 years of their school career they have to reapply annually and there is always a possibility of a rollback? One cannot help but be wary of what the additional space (capacity) may be used for in the future. We are an Open Choice Law state, and future administrations’ opinions could indeed change. Departing from the current board’s vision and commitment to class size limitations and responsible enrollment. Placing $8K per student (overenrolling) as more valuable than a high-quality education for our community children. Consequently, placing us back in the same situation of being overcrowded without appropriate classroom space once again. With significantly more debt to Aspen School District taxpayers. There are no guarantees.Over the last two years, I had the opportunity to participate in the Choice, Capacity & Class Size Task Force, as well as the Budget Review Committee. It is prudent to note that we have been overcrowded, utilizing the auxiliary gym and other spaces not intended for classrooms over the last several years, before the adopted class size limitations were implemented in the fall of 2004. That, coupled with the turnover of our current board next month (three of the five current board members will be leaving with 35 years total tenure), has me concerned indeed. I have been referred to as a skeptic and would like nothing more than to be proven wrong.While I appreciate the direction our current administration has taken and their commitment to high quality education, there has not yet been a public board forum to introduce the five candidates running. The first forum is Oct. 20; early voting begins Oct. 17. I look forward to hearing the candidates views, vision, intent and running positions.Vote yes on Ballot Issue 3A: Mill Levy for Programs, Teacher Salaries and Benefits. On Ballot Issue 3B, there are many unknowns, i.e. the current shortages of lumber, fuel, steel and concrete, the cost and availability of materials needed, turnover of our current board, what the increased capacity may or may not bring. Perhaps we should revisit this as a community and try again next year.Mare Wolfer-JenkinsAspen

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