Letter: Aspen schools depend on your vote
The Aspen School District is at a financial crossroad. Please vote for the passage of ballot measures 2A in Snowmass Village and 2D in Aspen.
Three years ago, it became apparent to the Board of Education that for the foreseeable future the state of Colorado would be unable to fully fund its monetary obligation to the school districts of the state. That realization led the board and the administrative staff of the district to develop a budget-reduction task force and a three-pronged funding approach to offset the $2.1 million and growing annual state funding shortfall.
The three-pronged approach relies on local funding. Its success ensures the continuance of those educational programs and attributes that our community has stated it most values college counseling, International Baccalaureate, outdoor and experiential education, gifted and talented programs, robotics and coding classes, highly qualified staff, up-to-date technology and exemplary special education.
We are extremely grateful to our voters that the first prong of the plan was accomplished with the passage of the 2015 mill-levy ballot measure. To ensure the continued ability of the district to provide the excellence in education, we have come to expect and to protect those programs and attributes we most value; however, the passage of 2A in Snowmass Village and 2D in Aspen is critical. Ballot measure 2A in Snowmass Village provides for a mill-levy increase of $8 per $100,000 of valuation and over the next five years will raise $500,000 each year for our schools. Ballot measure 2D in Aspen will extend the existing 0.03 percent sales tax for an additional five years. Over the past four years the Aspen sales tax has raised an average of $1.7 million annually.
The voters of the Aspen School District have long recognized the benefits that excellence in education brings to our valley, and for their support we, as parents, community members and board members, cannot thank you sufficiently. Now is the time, however, to ensure that our children continue to receive a quality education with diverse offerings that address the needs of the whole child. Now is the time to implement a local solution to a state created problem. Now is the time to vote “yes” for ballot measures 2A and 2D.
Sheila Kennedy Wills and Margeaux Johansson
Aspen Board of Education
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