South Routt upset with resolution

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Some South Routt school officials are upset with the Steamboat Springs Fund Board's recent resolution to spend funds only in Steamboat.

The South Routt School Board tonight will discuss that resolution, which says funds from the half-cent sales tax for education will stay in the Steamboat Springs School District.

"I just thought, first off, they weren't really listening at all. They were giving us lip service," retiring South Routt Superintendent Steve Jones said. Jones was referring to how the South Routt and Hayden School Board members were treated when they appeared before the Fund Board on May 4.

Members of the South Routt School Board asked for the meeting to discuss whether some proceeds from the sales tax could benefit all Routt County students.

At that meeting, Fund Board members agreed to find ways to share resources, but said they did not plan to write checks to fund needs in other districts. At its next meeting, the Fund Board passed the resolution to keep funds within the district.

Fund Board president Jim Gill said he was "confused and disappointed" by the South Routt school officials' reaction.

"We thought we were very hospitable," Gill said. "(We) created a mechanism to share resources."

Attorney Mike Holloran drew up the Fund Board's resolution based on documents related to the half-cent sales tax. The resolution represented legal advice that the Fund Board decided to take, Gill said.

Hank de Ganahl, president of the South Routt School Board, said he, like Jones, was surprised by the Fund Board's resolution.

"I understand why they did it," de Ganahl said. "I thought the timing was poor."

It would have been better to allow a committee made of one member each from the Steamboat Springs, South Routt and Hayden school boards to meet first, he said. That committee, formed as a result of the Fund Board's May meeting, was supposed to allow discussion on how to share resources among the school districts.

In Jones' memo about tonight's meeting, he stressed his surprise at the Fund Board's resolution.

"I was under the impression that they were interested in what we were saying and that they were interested in working together in the future," Jones' memo states. "Their action at the June meeting indicates that they were not respectful of what we were saying and were more interested in waiting until we weren't there so they could have their lawyer draft a resolution further digging into their old position. Not only close-minded -- but gutless as well."

In other business, the School Board will discuss a survey about interest in before- and after-school programs and a planning grant to the Department of Local Affairs to fund a study of a new preschool facility, and will consider approving next year's budget.

The South Routt School Board meets at 7 p.m. at the district's administrative offices.

-- To reach Susan Cunningham, call 871-4203 or e-mail scunningham@steamboatpilot.com

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