Letter: Why funds are needed for schools | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Why funds are needed for schools

As a former Roaring Fork School District boardmember, I want to highlight the importance of supporting the district’s efforts to pass a $122 million bond issue to address safety, overcrowding and facility needs throughout our schools while also ensuring that our teachers can continue to live in the communities where they work. We must ensure that we are able to provide our children with an education that will set them up to be successful after they graduate and move onto their next adventure in life. These funds will be used to address critical projects throughout our district that were identified through a communitywide facilities master-planning process completed in 2014.

1. Enhancing the safety of our facilities.

Securing school entrances is critical for the safety of students, teachers and staff. Improvements are needed to ensure all RFSD school entrances are as secure as possible. Traffic circulation issues at Basalt Elementary and Basalt Middle School also will be drastically improved, making me rest easier as my own children go to and from these schools.

2. Affordable Roaring Fork School District employee housing in all communities. Affordable housing is vital to attracting and retaining high-quality teachers and other RFSD employees in each of our communities. I have personally seen amazing staff move as a result of the expense of living in this valley. This by no means rectifies this problem, but it is a start.

3. Glenwood Springs Elementary School remodel.

The school received a $9.1 million BEST grant from the state for facility upgrades. This grant to Glenwood Springs Elementary School represents nearly 20 percent of BEST funding for the entire state due to the dire needs of this aging facility. The school district must raise the additional $20 million to complete this project this year in order to receive the $9.1 million granted by the state.

4. Updating aging middle schools in all three communities.

Revitalizing the middle schools in all three communities will create much-needed flexible learning spaces that will be designed for creative and collaborative learning. Fixing energy inefficiencies and mechanical failures in these

buildings also will save taxpayer dollars and provide comfortable classroom conditions for all students and teachers. Having a child at Basalt Middle School, I understand the importance of creating an environment that inspires

and engages our children while connecting them with the beautiful environment we call home.

5. A new school for pre-kindergarten through­ eighth grade. Providing a new school for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade on land already owned by the school district between Glenwood Springs and Carbondale will relieve overcrowding in schools that are filled beyond capacity and address growth expected in this area over the next five to 10 years. For a homeowner with a $500,000 home, your property taxes will increase about $23 per month.

These projects are critical to providing the best education possible for our children. I hope that we as a community can come together to support the passage of this bond. For more information or to donate, please visit


Richard Stettner