Letter: Allowmore time for review of donor policy | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Allowmore time for review of donor policy

Dear Aspen School District Board,

We are writing today to request that you delay a vote on the donor-recognition policy, scheduled for your Oct. 3 board meeting, due to failure to adequately alert constituents about this major policy change and to allow more time to study the issue.

As you may recall, I wrote to you on behalf of a group of concerned parents about our opposition to the change in the donor-recognition policy as well as questions about ambiguities in the policy language. I subsequently spoke with Board President Susan Marolt on Sept. 22. From that conversation and several recent conversations with local parents, it became clear to us that the policy change proposal has not been given adequate study nor enough opportunity for public discussion.

Susan mentioned that the board has not circulated the results of a survey about the policy change from earlier this year. That should have been done, both at the time the results were available and prior to the more

recent board discussions, to spur public discussion and contemplation of those results.

There has been no communication from the board or district personnel about the scheduled Oct. 3 vote, and as of today, three days prior to the meeting, the agenda is not yet posted on the district website. If this proposed policy change is indeed a “major change,” as Susan described it, from the district’s current policy of no physical donor recognition at all, efforts should have been made to make sure all parents are aware of

what is happening and given ample opportunity to be part of the discussion.

Furthermore, the proposed policy language is totally ambiguous and leaves several questions unanswered, including the location of the wall, who would bear its cost, what the “set of strict criteria and standards” are

to be recognized, and how exactly a donor wall would meet the district’s standard that “each and every student feels valued and equal.” We believe that not including at least some of these specifics in a new policy opens the door too wide to unintended consequences, but also makes the policy pointless if all those decisions are to be kicked down the road.

Finally, I sense that there is some reluctance on the board to implement this new policy, or at least not great enthusiasm. From my conversation with Susan, I understood that it is moving forward primarily because of

pressure from the Aspen Education Foundation and because of the results from the aforementioned survey, without further study from the board as to whether a donor wall would actually be an effective fundraising tool.

Specifically, it was questioned whether a donor who would not give without permanent recognition would even meet the rigorous standards that you are contemplating.

Please allow us to have a full and inclusive public discussion of this very important issue.

Thank you for your consideration.

Catherine Lutz


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