What about out-of-district students?
Editor’s note: As part of its election coverage, The Aspen Times asked candidates for the three open seats on the Aspen School Board five questions. The final question and candidate profile will be published Saturday.Today’s question: Is there a situation that you could imagine in which current out-of-district students should be excluded from continued attendance in Aspen School District schools? Please explain.Bob LangleyNo. The current administration has commenced “gatekeeping” at the kindergarten level. It is my philosophy that if “you’re in for a penny, you’re in for a pound.” Once you are in, you are in. Hard cases make for bad laws, but I cannot foresee a situation that would tell a current student that they could not return.Elizabeth ParkerAccording to current district policy, any situations that result in the district exceeding its “defined capacity” can result in the “rollback” of enrollment of out-of-district students. The district may look at a number of factors to define capacity, including the availability of space and existing teaching staff, and the limitations on class size set forth in the policy governance manual. A community of parents and teachers participated in the formation of this policy, which was adopted by the school board in 2004, and I support it. It is particularly effective in that it clarifies the expectations of out-of-district parents, which had not previously been the case. However, it is important to ensure that the district makes careful, well-reasoned and compassionate decisions concerning initial enrollment, and conscientiously manages enrollment and staffing annually so that students who come to our schools can remain a part of the community. Charla BelinskiCan I imagine it? Sure – however, the possibility is remote, and I do not see it necessary to roll back any out-of-district students in the near future and would hope that any vacancies in enrollment would be handled through natural attrition. Our school board made an obvious statement in limiting the class size, and I will uphold those objectives in the future.Andrew KoleNo! I don’t want to be the one to tell a student who has attended Aspen schools for grades K-10 they now have to finish their last two years of high school in Basalt. I believe it is the responsibility of the school board to keep close tabs on our student population so this never happens. To “use” these out-of-district kids as budgetary pawns and then throw them out is an insult to the integrity I associate with Aspen. As a member of the school board, I will refuse to let it happen.Ernie FyrwaldNo, existing out-of-district students should be grandfathered in.
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