Letter: Funding for excellence | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Funding for excellence

Our community values small class sizes, highly qualified teachers and innovative programs, and the Aspen Board of Education believes passage of question 3A is fundamental to the district's ability to continue to provide these for our children. Colorado ranks a dismal 43rd in the nation for school funding. Since 2009, the state of Colorado has been unable to fulfill its financial obligations to the school districts across the state. For the Aspen School District, that annual revenue gap is currently $2.2 million and will not decrease in the future. Because of this, whenever possible, our district has worked together with the community to raise money through local funding sources. Mill levies through property tax and a sales tax initiative with the city of Aspen have helped us fund these gaps. Without passage of the mill-levy override, we will be faced with a projected budget shortfall of about $1 million for the 2016-17 school year. According to budget projections, operating expenses, coupled with capital maintenance, will result in annual deficits increasing to $4 million within five years. In order to maintain the high-quality education that our community values, including small class sizes, highly qualified teachers and quality programs, we need to raise additional dollars by passing the proposed mill-levy override, question 3A, in November. This mill-levy override would cost approximately $3 per $100,000 of residential value and would then increase our mill-levy dollars to cover 25 percent of our district's total program budget. Please join us in our quest for sustainable local funding and continued excellence in education for our children. Vote "yes" on 3A!

Sandra Peirce, Susan Marolt, Sheila Kennedy Wills, Annie Cassidy and Bob Glah

Board of Education, Aspen School District