Monday letters: support fire district; Fotion, Teitler for school board; Teitler asks for votes; yeses on 5B; some Re-2 candidates disappoint; airport |

Monday letters: support fire district; Fotion, Teitler for school board; Teitler asks for votes; yeses on 5B; some Re-2 candidates disappoint; airport

Yes to fire district question

Support the Colorado River Fire Rescue mill levy.

The mill levy supports the local fire department and your first responders. Is it a tax increase? Yes. However, will your insurance (fire and health) go up if the fire department needs to close fire stations, reduce staffing and sell equipment? Certainly so.

Your local fire department is also your EMTs and paramedics. They patronize your businesses, respond to your emergencies and boost the morale of the community. Any money (and the mill levy isn’t asking for a lot) will go back into the community via patronage by the firefighters themselves and through the services they provide.

Who would you rather give your money to anyway ­— the local firefighters, EMTs and paramedics or the insurance companies?

Monique Rodriquez

Glenwood Springs​​

Fotion will challenge things

I am writing in support of Steve Fotion for the Re-1 school board. Steve is undoubtedly the candidate who will listen to parents and work with the administration. He will challenge the district to be fiscally prudent and look at COVID-19 policies from a health and science perspective.

One of my friends has a daughter in kindergarten. I had asked her how school was going, and she mentioned that she had to wear her mask all day and really did not like it, as it’s hard for her to breath and talk through. She then told me that they are allowed to take off their masks, but need to ask for permission first, and then have to sit in a designated “mask off” corner. In addition, recess minutes are lost if the students don’t abide by the mask rules. How healthy is wearing a mask all day for a 5-year-old or any school-aged child? This is not only unhealthy for physical health but for mental health as well.

The children have no choice in a mask mandate, yet when a child gets COVID-19, their chance of getting severely sick is 0.004%. Who are we protecting? Most of our teachers and staff are vaccinated, the greater community is 72% vaccinated, while 10% of the community has reached natural immunity.

We are teaching our children to live in a state of fear, and school has now become a fear-based institution.

I support Steve Fotion, as he is the only candidate who has questioned the school district’s COVID-19 policies. And let’s face it, there are a lot of questions that should be asked. Please vote for Steve Fotion and stand up for the children.

Mary Jane Knolls


Vote for Kenny

Please join me in voting for Kenny Teitler for school board for the Roaring Fork School District. I’ve known Kenny for nearly 20 years, and in that time I’ve been continually impressed with his commitment to children and their families.

He’s smart, capable and knows that investing in our school system is one of the best investments we can make in our local community. Given his extensive experience teaching children, he knows what’s best for them and understands what teachers need in order to provide that experience day in and day out.

Kenny’s got what it takes to help the board and administration provide the best education possible for our children. He’s got my vote, and I hope he’ll get yours as well.

Marc Bruell


Outgoing director for 5B

As a two-term member of the Roaring Fork School District Board of Education, I ask you to vote yes for 5B to support our teachers, kids and community.

Our community has always stood out as a place where people can have different views and opinions yet still share strong common core values. These values include an overwhelming support of each other, our children and our local schools. Although the current political climate and pressures from outside influences, such as the pandemic, have done their best to try and divide us, we remain a vibrant and cohesive community.

I ask us all to take a step back from our busy lives to reflect on how one very important group in our community, our teachers, need our support now. RFSD, serving kids and families from Old Snowmass to Glenwood Springs, is in the midst of a staffing crisis that is threatening the quality of our kids’ education. Our teachers give their heart and soul each day yet are barely able to make ends meet. Many work two or more jobs.

Our district has the third highest cost of living in the state yet is ranked 23rd in average pay. RFSD has lower per-pupil mill levy override funding than all four neighboring districts: Re-2 (Rifle, Silt and New Castle), Garfield 16 (Parachute/Battlement Mesa), Eagle and Aspen. Your yes on 5B is the necessary step to allow RFSD to be funded on par with neighboring districts and be able to offer competitive salaries.

Great schools are the cornerstone to a thriving community, and great schools depend on our ability to recruit and retain high-quality teachers. Now’s the time for our community to come together. Vote yes on 5B for great schools. Vote Kenny and Kathryn for great school board leadership

Jen Rupert

Old Snowmass

Disappointed in Re-2 candidates

I was extremely disappointed to discover that Britton Fletchall and Tony May, two of the Garfield Re-2 school board candidates, both signed the petition that accompanied the cease and desist letter presented to the Re-2 board on Sept. 22.

I was especially stunned because I had asked Britton Fletchall in person after the Oct. 7 candidate forum whether he had signed the petition. He looked me in the eye and said he had not. Does he regret affiliating himself with this group and signing the petition? Or does he continue to support them, but feels comfortable lying about his support?

I accept differences of opinion about the recent controversies in our district. However, I deeply resent a blatant lie to my face from someone running for public office. A Colorado Open Records Act request recently verified the presence of his signature on this petition.

Threatening legal action against the school district was a deeply divisive and counterproductive step. A lawsuit would drain precious resources from our schools and serve no purpose beyond political theater.

Fortunately, we have the option to vote for two excellent candidates for the Re-2 board: Jessica Paugh and Caitlin Carey. Jessica has over 15 years of professional experience in education, as a teacher and administrator, with expertise in grants and school improvement initiatives. Caitlin has a law degree and is the parent of a child in our district.

Both Jess and Caitlin are politically unaffiliated, and neither one of them signed the petition. They are not running to promote any political agenda, but to improve student achievement and support our teachers.

Gina Thompson

New Castle

Yes on 5B

I am writing to ask readers to please vote yes on Ballot Measure 5B. In the 21 years I’ve taught at Basalt Middle School, things have changed a lot. We didn’t use schoolwide email when I began, and we hand-wrote our report cards on paper. Now, almost every student has a cell phone, and Tik-Tok challenges abound.

The job has become more difficult, but the reward remains the same. Becoming part of this community has meant so much to me, and having teachers who live in and love the community they serve is crucial. I truly believe we are in a crisis in public education right now, especially in this valley.

I continue to feel the support of our families and communities, but we lack essential funding. Because of custodial staff shortages, teachers are spending time cleaning and vacuuming and often have to sub for each other during our planning time with the lack of availability of substitute teachers. It’s not that we resent doing custodial chores or helping out our colleagues, but there’s only so much time in a day, and we want to, need to, focus our efforts on our students and teaching.

For most teachers, this shortage simply means working harder, not giving up. However, as I see new teachers coming into the job, I can’t help but wonder if they will stay here and stick it out or if they will go to an area or a different career with better pay. Yes on 5B would be a contribution to making our entire community stronger.

Jane Douglass


Conservative for 5B

I’m writing to ask you to join me in voting for 5B, the mill levy override on the ballot in November, to support our teachers and staff in the Roaring Fork valley.

As chairman of Gould Construction and a known fiscal conservative, you’re probably thinking I’m the last person you’d expect to be a strong supporter of a property tax increase. As a commercial and residential property owner, I will see my taxes go up. But we need to support our schools. Our future and our economy depend on it.

I care about having great schools, because I live in Glenwood Springs, where my own children were educated and, now, where my grandchildren and employees’ children go to school. It’s important to every parent that their child has a good teacher and goes to a good school. It’s universal.

My third-generation family business depends on recruiting people who want to live and work in this valley. As an employer, we know that we need to pay a living wage to run our business. Colorado ranks dead last in the nation in paying teachers a competitive wage. Due to the state’s funding formula, the Roaring Fork Schools, where the cost of living is third highest in the state, ranks in the bottom third. The school district needs our help. Unlike private employers, they can’t pass their costs on to the customer. Instead, if we want to save our schools, we need to say yes in the voting booth.

We’re all seeing staffing shortages now in our valley. We have machines that are sitting idle because we can’t find enough drivers. The same is true of our school buses which, due to lack of drivers, can’t bring our kids to school. It’s true of every department in the district: Shortages in food and custodial services, classroom teachers and special education are disrupting services and creating crowded conditions. Our children deserve better, and they need our help. If there were another solution to address the staffing crisis we’re seeing in our schools, I’d be for it.

Right now, all of our neighboring school districts — Aspen, Eagle County and even our more conservative Garfield County Re-2 and Re-16 school districts to the west — are receiving more in locally approved dollars than Roaring Fork. According to state school finance laws, local communities may approve mill levy overrides to supplement state funding up to about 25% of total per pupil revenues. Approving 5B would put the Roaring Fork Schools on a more equal footing with neighboring school districts in being able to pay competitive wages.

No one likes taxes, but this is an investment we can’t afford to pass up. This is about our kids. Our kids deserve great schools. Our community deserves great schools. I’m 100% in support of paying our teachers and staff a living wage so that we can educate our kids today and preserve our schools for the next generation.

Mark Gould

Glenwood Springs

Teitler asks for vote

My name is Kenny Teitler, and I am running for school board in the Roaring Fork School District. I recently retired after teaching 26 years in the RFSD in Basalt and Carbondale. Here are the ABCs of what I would bring to the school board.

A: Accountability, Analysis and Achievement — I have experience working on accountability committees at both the school and district level. I am familiar with analyzing data and looking at best teaching practices. I would use my classroom experiences to help identify educational priorities to increase academic achievement for all students.

B: Bilingual, Balanced and Budget — By being bilingual, I would be able to support our entire school population. I have created bilingual education programs and understand the positive effect of being bilingual. I am balanced in how I process information. I look at information from multiple perspectives, and I listen with an open mind. I have experience analyzing and working with school budgets, and I would prioritize retaining and recruiting quality teachers.

C: Culture, Community and Curriculum — In order to build a positive culture, there needs to be buy-in from the entire community. I will work as a bridge between the schools, parents and the community to build a culture of mutual respect. I will also bring a teacher’s perspective to curriculum and development that will honor teacher’s time, and promote critical thinking for our students.

I would also bring a parent’s perspective to the board, having two college-aged daughters who attended our public schools K-12.

I am excited to continue my educational journey as a school board member. I would appreciate your support and your vote on Nov. 2.

Kenny Teitler


Beware airport ballot questions

The land that the Glenwood Springs airport is on was deeded to the city for the express purpose of an airport. Over the years there have been at least two occasions where the citizens have elected to keep the airport.

The Airport Enterprise Fund managed by the Airport Commission has run and improved the airport without our tax dollars. Funds are raised by sales of gas, plane tie-downs, hangar leases and special circumstances, i.e., helicopter fees (especially needed during the Grizzly Creek fire along I-70). It is true not everyone uses the airport, but we all benefit.

Improvements to the runway cost $340,000, and 90% was funded by CDOT Aeronautics division and other grants. “Private investors would like the opportunity to fund several of the improvements listed in the mill levy question,” quote from Alan Arnold, Airport Commission member.

At the end of the runway are a bunch of huge white semi-permanent shelters for city roads division where the South Bridge road should go and curve around the runway without having to tunnel. The tunnel ($4.7 million) should not even be an airport issue and definitely not an airport tax issue.

I support the airport and know it is a hugely important amenity to the city of Glenwood Springs, and I support South Bridge. I do not support a tax increase when for years the airport has been self-sustaining and actually profitable. The city needs to show actual accounting of costs of the airport in the past and be transparent in its purpose and sudden interest in improvements and upgrades.

To quote Gregg Rippy, “Happy to see you’re (City Council) interested in improving the airport. But you’ve given us a Range Rover when all we needed was a Corolla.”

The City Council’s intent all along is to have the mill levy tax increase fail. With its failure, the City Council intends to close the airport. Contact your council member with your concerns.

Kendall Christianson

Glenwood Springs

Meant to be an airport

I am writing in support of 2A and 2B on this fall’s ballot to keep and support the Glenwood Springs Airport. Though these issues aren’t what I signed the petition for, the council has added more baggage to the petition by throwing in the funding for the South Glenwood tunnel bypass.

Even with these faults, we need to keep the airport more than we need more “affordable” housing. That land was left to the city with the stipulation that should it be developed, the land would revert back to the original owners.

I would hope they would reclaim it rather than let it be taken from an airport and turned into another subdivision. We voted on this in a recent election, and it was clear that the people want to keep it.

Wesley Burke

Glenwood Springs


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