Vail Daily letter: My choices for school board
I attended the Eagle County School Board Candidate Forum last week and would like to applaud the nine candidates vying for seats on the school board. We have four of the seven districts up for election with all four seats being contested. The goal of having multiple districts on the school board is to ensure a balanced representation of the schools throughout our county. I am worried this intent may be undermined in this upcoming election. This is because in Districts A, C, and E there are candidates whose children attend or have attended the Eagle County Charter Academy, specifically Ryan Geller, Mary Cotton, and incumbent Carrie Larson. I commend these parents for their desire to serve their community. However, I believe their success could be a disservice to the district as a whole. If these candidates were elected, there would be a saturation of ECCA representation on the school board and therefore an underrepresentation of the other schools, teachers and students within their district.
This troubles me especially in light of the Oct. 9 Vail Daily article concerning demographics at ECCA, and their inability to follow the binding agreement whereby they are required to reflect the demographics of the school district in their student population. The demographics at the neighboring schools who are particularly affected by ECCA having a 94 percent white population are Avon Elementary School at 85 percent Hispanic and June Creek Elementary School with an 81 percent Hispanic population. The entire district is well balanced with a 52 percent Hispanic population and yet, ECCA is only 3 percent Hispanic, not even remotely resembling the demographics of the school district, as stated in their charter.
I am also worried that by electing officials that represent ECCA, they will get a stronger grip on the board to advance their school’s agenda. This would inhibit just representation on behalf of the teachers, parents and 6,800 students in the district. The issue is that ECCA has an unexpected advantage in that their students are not bound to a single district. Instead they attend ECCA from all the districts making it possible for heavier ECCA representation on the school board. We need to keep a balance on our board to ensure the interests of all schools in the county are represented.
Let’s be diligent in making sure that our schools and children are fairly represented on the Eagle County School Board. The candidates vested in their diverse districts are incumbent Tessa Kirchner, Carolyn Knox Keep, incumbent Felicia Battle and Kevin Kottenstette. Please cast your votes for these candidates to keep the future of our Eagle County School District moving forward for all 6,800 students.