Capital funding gets OK
The Education Fund Board approved the expenditure of $380,000 on Capital Commission projects Wednesday.
The Capital Commissions asked for - and received - $300,000 in funds for the 2007-08 school year to finish the middle school expansion. The project already has been gifted $950,000.
The other $80,000 the Capital Commission asked for was to help fund the grant writer position for this school year.
Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board members are willing to share funds with neighboring school districts, but not at the risk of alienating voters.
During Wednesday's meeting, Fund Board members expressed overwhelming support for gifting half-cent sales tax dollars to the Hayden and South Routt school districts, but Fund Board members were equally vocal about the role Steamboat Springs voters play in that decision.
Originally passed in 1993, the half-cent sales tax for education was created - and approved - for the Steamboat Springs School District.
The Fund Board, which administers the tax, is considering whether to renew the tax in November.
Only residents within Steam-boat Springs city limits can vote on a city sales tax, so the Fund Board is conducting a survey to gauge voter opinion on, among other things, sharing the half-cent sales tax with South Routt and Hayden.
"Bringing up the other communities both economically and educationally is very good for everyone," said Fund Board member Michael Loomis. "But I'm not willing to do anything to jeopardize this tax or funding."
Representatives from South Routt and Hayden attended Wednesday's Fund Board meeting to explain why they want to be included in future funding cycles.
South Routt School Board President Tim Corrigan noted that residents in South Routt and West Routt build Steamboat homes, eat in Steamboat restaurants and shop in Steamboat stores, so the community of Steamboat extends countywide.
Fund Board attorney Mike Holloran attended Wednesday's meeting to answer legal questions about the half-cent sales tax. The current language and the intergovernmental agreement between the Fund Board and the Steamboat Springs City Council states the half-cent sales tax dollars are for the Steamboat Springs School District.
Although survey results will give the Fund Board guidance on the inclusion of South Routt and Hayden in the future, the City Council will decide whether to include the half-cent sales tax renewal on November's ballot.
Holloran reminded Fund Board members they need to make sure they could legally gift money to the other districts per the city's rules and regulations.
City councilman Paul St-rong, who also is the Fund Board's accountant, was at Wednesday's meeting and suggested Fund Board members survey council members on where they stand on sharing city tax money with the county's other public school districts before checking into the legality of it.
"Is the City Council interested in going there?" Strong asked. "If not, then there's no point investigating the legal issue."
Results of the Fund Board's survey are scheduled for review in May.
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