School board studies sales tax dispersal

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— The Steamboat Springs Board of Education discussed how to best distribute money generated from the half-cent city sales tax within the local school district at their meeting Tuesday night.

The Education Fund Board will vote later to decide on which educational items will receive funding through the city sales tax.

The expansion of Steamboat Springs Middle School, acquiring land for children's safety in the parking area at Soda Creek Elementary, maintaining technology needs and improving academic accountability and assessment standards are all areas people want to have secured through additional funds allocated by the Education Fund Board.

Superintendent Cyndy Simms said that in deciding what proposals are the most important for the school, board members are encouraged to use criteria proposed by the Education Fund Board.

The criteria is a determining factor of how money raised through the city sales tax is spent through the vote of community members on the fund board.

The criteria include endorsing small class sizes, improving technology, a pay-for-performance teacher pay incentive, improved student performance and future school sites.

Items wanting to be approved for funding such as air conditioning for the schools and the addition of land in the parking area at Soda Creek Elementary were debated by board members because they did not fully comply with the fund board's criteria.

Simms said deciding what would have the most impact on students in the next school year should be considered over long-term projects that don't provide the direct education results wanted by the community.

Multiyear items such as pay- for-performance and technology posed a dilemma to board members because money is available only on a yearly basis.

Cathleen Totten, director of technology, said a five-year plan was needed to maintain the current technology infrastructure and continue the success of the technology program.

To support an area in the school even when sufficient funds cannot be supplied, smaller amounts of money can be given to accrue until the proposed educational item can be funded.

The school board members also sit on the Education Fund Board. That board will vote to decide how to spend the money raised through the half-cent city sales tax.

The education board's goal is to have a cohesive idea of where everyone sits on the board before final votes are cast, Simms said.

Even with a unanimous decision by the school board, an additional three votes from community members are needed to approve the use of fund board money for an educational item or program.

The Education Excellence Commission, Technology Commission and Capital Commission will present to the fund board their needs for the 2002/2003 academic year.

The Education Fund Board will then vote on proposed items.

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