School board seeks donor recogition input
The Aspen Board of Education could soon make a major change to its donor recognition policy — if the Aspen community supports it.
At a Board of Education meeting Monday, three of the five board members present discussed logistics of a survey the board plans to send to the community as part of an effort to gauge public interest in recognizing donors.
A letter sent to the community on behalf of the board would provide readers with context on the issue — where and why this question of donor recognition arose — as well as background on school funding amid a statewide education-budget crisis, said Aspen Board of Education President Susan Marolt.
The board expects to accompany its letter with a few simple survey questions that Board of Education Secretary Sheila Wills and Vice President Sandra Peirce, who was not present Monday, composed.
Peirce and school board Assistant Secretary and Treasurer Margeaux Johansson are currently out of town, Marolt said.
One of the challenges the board discussed is ensuring that the survey poses the right questions and receives enough responses to accurately assess the community’s general thoughts on the issue.
While the board has not yet determined how it will distribute its letter and survey to the community, Marolt said after the meeting Monday she will likely submit the letter with a link to the survey questions online as a letter to the editor in a local newspaper.
The school board’s current donor-recognition policy, which was adopted Oct. 7, 2013, states that the superintendent shall not recognize donors or contributors, whether individuals or businesses, via any tangible, permanent method.
While the school board has looked at the possibility of donor recognition in the past, the board has always ruled against the idea.
The Aspen Education Foundation, a nonprofit fundraising arm of Aspen School District, prompted recent discussion of donor recognition — which also is commonly referred to as “naming rights” — at a March 21 Board of Education meeting.
Within the next week, the board hopes to revise its letter and survey questions by its next board meeting April 25, whereby the board hopes to wrap up the conversation and get the word out to the community.
Marolt said that the community’s position on donor recognition would guide the Board of Education’s decision.
“I’m just hopeful that we are able to come to a clear conclusion about what that position is,” she said.
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