Fund Board needs volunteers

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A shortage of volunteers willing to serve on the Education Fund Board and its commissions continues to plague the nonprofit group.

In September, the Steamboat Springs School Board appointed 11 volunteers to fill openings on the Fund Board and its three commissions. Although the appointments filled most vacancies, two openings remain on the Capital Commission, including one seat that has been vacant for nearly two years.

Last month, the Capital Commission was forced to cancel its meeting because one of its three members wasn't able to attend; all three members are needed for a quorum. The openings are especially troublesome because the Fund Board is nearing the beginning of its annual budgeting cycle, Capital Commission member Tom Ptach said at Wednesday's Fund Board meeting.

"We've got a fairly dire situation with the Capital Commission," Ptach said. "We need somebody to fill at least one of the positions."

The Education Fund Board, a 13-member group responsible for annually spending about $2 million in revenue from a half-cent city sales tax for education, always has relied on community volunteers for its operation.

But 11 years after Steamboat voters approved the sales tax, Fund Board President Jim Gill worries that the well of community members willing to give time to the group may have dried up. The constant shortage of volunteers prompted some Fund Board members to discuss the idea of downsizing the commissions and the Fund Board.

Fund Board commissions bring spending requests to the Fund Board, which approves or denies those requests.

Some members also sought to clarify whether Steamboat Springs School District teachers can serve on the Fund Board and its commissions.

After reviewing the Fund Board's bylaws Gill said the notion that teachers and staff can't serve on the group is an old myth that needs to be dispelled.

"There's nothing in here that says if you're an employee of the district you can't sign up," Gill said.

However, a teacher who recently applied for a Fund Board commission was turned away by the School Board in favor of a community volunteer. School Board President Paula Stephenson said the board prefers to appoint community volunteers rather than district employees when there's a choice to make between the two.

The School Board always has had the duty of appointing Fund Board members.

Also Wednesday, the Fund Board approved a $68,000 gift to the school district that covers the salaries of three full-time classroom aides and one half-time English for Students of Other Languages aide. All four positions have been filled, and the district will be responsible for slightly less than $1,400 of the cost of the aides.

-- To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234

or e-mail bboyer@steamboatpilot.com

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