Letter: Aspen: the brand

Aspen: the brand

Aspen is a brand, world-renowned for its natural beauty throughout the seasons. Aspen is a venue for world-class sports events and international think-tank conferences that invite famous scholars in the fields of science, physics and psychology. Aspen is a patron of the arts that supports artists, musicians and dancers from around the world. Aspen hosts annual cultural events and grand-scale festivals and concerts that attract thousands of visitors. Aspen is a literary guild for writers and poets to share and improve their crafts. Aspen is a Historical Society that preserves artifacts from its Ute culture, pioneer and mining days by housing curated collections of authentic memorabilia. Aspen is a steward that has managed to preserve and yet promote its mountain charisma and ambience while fiercely protecting its natural treasures and character. Aspen is a competitive resort community that continually raises the bar within the ski, restaurant, and hotel and tourist industries. Aspen is home to locals and second-home owners who value the privilege of owning residences in heaven.

During my 14 years teaching here, I’ve seen Aspen go into action to protect and preserve all of the above attributes that make Aspen, Aspen. I’ve been more impressed when this community steps up when called upon in times of education-budget crisis. I’ve seen the teachers join the effort by taking one for the team by losing pay increases and suffering the financial burden of furlough days. Why? It’s because they love teaching in Aspen and it’s worth the sacrifice. I’ve seen the Aspen Education Foundation work tirelessly to patch up some of the budget cracks to maintain and enrich the educational experiences for all students. Why? It’s because Aspenites have a tradition of valuing education and expect excellence and realize that it costs money. A vote for 3A will increase property taxes $3 per $100,000 and add $1 million to supplement the Aspen School District operating budget. Historically, what has been the return on this type of investing in our local schools?

The Aspen School District continues to receive prestigious awards and is recognized as one of the best school districts statewide and nationally. It has a 97 percent graduation rate, and 97 percent (EDS: WAITING FOR CALL BACK ABOUT THIS) of our students go on to post-secondary schools. The word is out, and our schools are part of the brand that Relators say brings families to Aspen. To continue this distinction, we’ll need residents to vote “yes” for ballot issue 3A. The impending and devastating financial deficits in the Aspen School District’s budget would negatively impact what Aspen values — quality education!

Dee Searing

Teacher, Aspen Elementary School