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School board election may see more interest

Jennifer Davoren
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Lack of candidates and interest led to the cancellation of the past two elections of the Aspen School District board.

But times have changed. In November 2001, Pitkin County voted to retain term limits for school board members, meaning the imminent ouster of veterans Augie Reno and Jill Uris. In 2002, a controversy involving parents, faculty and school officials erupted over job performance. Community involvement in the schools spiked, and scores of interested parents packed board meetings.

These factors will likely make this November’s school board election one to watch.



The district needs two new board members to serve four-year terms. The newcomers will replace Reno, the current board president, and Uris, the board’s vice president. Incumbent board members Alice Davis, Fred Peirce and Jon Seigle will likely hold a vote next year to elect new board leadership.

The school district kicked off its election season Wednesday, the first day school board nomination packets were made available to the public. According to state law, the packets must be available to potential candidates at least 90 days before the election – in this case, Nov. 4.




Administrative assistant Angela Rittenhouse, who issues and collects all of the nominations for board candidates, hinted Wednesday that the district will not suffer from a lack of competition in the election.

“I’ve already had several people contact me about it,” and two potential candidates picked up the necessary election information early Wednesday, she said.

Potential school board members must meet a couple of requirements before declaring their candidacy. Each candidate must be a registered voter, as well as a resident of the Aspen School District for at least 12 consecutive months before the election.

Candidates must also complete a nomination petition before kicking off a campaign. Petitions must include 50 signatures from registered voters within the school district.

Each signature must be verified by Rittenhouse, with help from the Pitkin County Clerk’s Office, to ensure that endorsements pass muster.

“I would highly recommend they get more signatures than they need,” Rittenhouse said, in case any of a candidate’s signatures are deemed invalid.

Nomination petitions and other election information can be picked up in the superintendent’s office on the east side of Aspen High School, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on weekdays.

Completed petitions and candidate profiles should be submitted to the superintendent’s office by 4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 29.

Other important dates during the school board election season:

Sept. 1: Last day to file as a write-in candidate

Sept. 2: Cancellation deadline (elections may be canceled due to lack of competition)

Oct. 6: Last day to register to vote

Nov. 4: Election day

[Jennifer Davoren’s e-mail address is jenniferd@aspentimes.com]


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