Thursday, February 17, 2005
For Tim Corrigan, the issue about whether some of the revenue generated by Steamboat Springs' half-cent sales tax for education should be spent on the South Routt School District is black and white. And he's not alone.
Corrigan and other members of the South Routt School Board agreed Thursday to move forward with plans to bring the issue directly to members of the Education Fund Board, the group responsible for allocating money generated from the sales tax.
After years of watching the Steamboat Springs School District benefit from the millions of dollars generated by the tax, the South Routt School Board wants to see some of that money spent on its students.
"I refuse to believe that rational people wouldn't recognize the fundamental fairness issue," Corrigan said during the South Routt School Board's Thursday night meeting. "I'm shocked that they just don't get it."
Steamboat's half-cent sales tax for education generates about $2 million annually, almost all of which is spent on programs and projects for the Steamboat Springs School District. Steamboat voters approved the tax in 1993, 1996 and 1999. The tax expires in 2009.
Revenue generated by the tax is gifted to the Steamboat Springs School District for specific items proposed by the Fund Board's three volunteer commissions. The nonprofit Fund Board must approve the spending requests from its commissions before they are gifted to the Steamboat Springs School Board, which has the right to refuse any gift.
Like Corrigan, many people within the South Routt community think that because they spend significant amounts of their money in Steamboat, their children also should benefit from the sales tax.
But Fund Board President Jim Gill has said the revenue must be spent in accordance with what Steamboat voters were told when they voted for the tax -- that the money would go toward the needs of the Steamboat Springs School District.
Legal issues also could play a factor in the debate, particularly as it relates to whether a city of Steamboat Springs ordinance and an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the Steamboat Springs School District prevents the tax revenue from being spent on other school districts.
On Thursday, the seven members of the South Routt School Board agreed to try to get on a future Fund Board meeting agenda to discuss the matter with Fund Board members.
"Let's see if we can at least get them to put it on the table and vote on it," Jones said.
It's an issue South Routt School Board members don't plan to give up on.
"I think we need to keep talking about it and keep it out there," Corrigan said.
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