Education Commission members sought

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Want to help spend $2 million?

Have an interest in local education?

Need something to do one or two weeknights a month?

If so, the Steamboat Springs School Board wants you. It wants you to serve on the Education Fund Board or one of its three commissions.

The School Board, which appoints community members to the Fund Board and its commissions, is looking for applicants to fill as many as 10 vacancies in the nonprofit group.

"We're looking for people who have an interest in continuing the improvement in education that the Fund Board has helped to create," Fund Board President Jim Gill said. "How can we make it better? Challenge the status quo. We're not looking for 'yes' men."

The vacancies include a community representative seat on the Fund Board, the 13-member group that allocates revenue from the city's half-cent sales tax for education. Revenue typically approaches about $2 million a year.

Four seats on the Technology Commission, two seats on the Educational Excellence Commission and three seats on the Capital Commission also are open.

Commissions bring forward funding requests to the Fund Board for various education programs primarily for the Steamboat Springs School District. Fund Board members discuss and debate the various requests presented to them each spring before voting which to approve and provide with funding. The School Board, however, has the ultimate say in whether the district will accept Fund Board money for a particular program.

Each commission meets once a month, as does the Fund Board. Meeting frequency can increase during the spring, when the Fund Board goes through its budgeting cycle.

Most of the commission members whose terms have expired -- thus creating the vacancies -- have asked to have their terms renewed. But School Board President Paula Stephenson said the School Board is encouraging new applicants as well as renewal requests from Fund Board veterans.

"We want everyone to reapply, we want new people to apply, and we'll look at all the applications," Stephenson said. "We really felt it wasn't fair to rubber-stamp everyone when their terms ended."

On the other hand, new applicants often are hard to find. One vacancy on the Capital Commission has been unfilled for more than a year.

Participating in the Fund Board is a great opportunity for community members who care about education to have a direct impact in how half-cent sales tax revenue is spent in the school system, Stephenson said.

Those interested in applying are asked to send a letter of interest to the Steamboat Springs School Board, P.O. Box 774368, Steamboat, CO 80477. Applicants will be interviewed at a future School Board meeting.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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