Letter: Schools need committed representatives | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Schools need committed representatives

It was with some amusement that I read the letter to the editor from Lara Whitley suggesting that the length of the terms, the number of, length and time of day of the meetings somehow amounts to a “form of disenfranchisement, revoking the privilege to serve on the school board” (“District requires too much from school board members,” The Aspen Times, Aug. 30). Her letter seems to imply that only people who do not work for a living can actually serve on the board.

As one who served on the Aspen school board for 12 of the past 20 years and who has had a full-time law practice for the past 35 years, I can attest that serving on the board does require a serious commitment. There were many weekends and nights that I dedicated to my practice in order to serve the school district. However, it never felt like a sacrifice. I was working hard to advocate for the best possible school district, and that was reward enough. During my 12-year tenure, I served alongside several other board members who also had full-time jobs, yet they managed to serve for four or more years, attended all meetings and were always prepared.

As to the length of the terms, those are dictated by state statute, not the district. The length of meetings is a direct reflection of the amount of work to be done and the efforts of the board to address all issues in a comprehensive and thoughtful manner. Meetings held during the workday are specifically done for the benefit of teachers so they may attend meetings during their contract hours without impacting their non-contracted time.

I would submit that the limited section of the community that is willing to serve on the school board for four-year terms (or more) and for long, weekday meetings are the ones who exhibit a truly serious dedication and commitment to their school district and are not afraid of hard work. Those are precisely the people you want representing the district’s consumers, our children — not those who are looking for a part-time commitment. Maybe the state legislators understood this when they determined term lengths.

Fred Peirce