Steamboat Springs The Steamboat Springs School Board honored local attorney Paul Sachs on Wednesday night as its 2007 Friend of Education.
The annual award is given to an individual or group who has contributed significantly to the Steamboat Springs School District.
"I was thinking, 'who is this person who fits into this category, that serves the district and does a lot of volunteer work,' and (board President Denise Connelly) mentioned Paul Sachs," School Board member Jerry Kozatch said. "Well, I thought, he's the exemplary volunteer."
Sachs serves as chairman of the Educational Excellence Commission, one of three commissions that reviews requests and makes recommendations for spending revenues from the city's half-cent sales tax for education.
"Fourteen years ago, my daughters were 2 and 3, and one of my principal motives was my kids going to the schools," said Sachs, who has served on the commission since its inception.
"The other part was that it was an exciting time when the half-cent sales tax was started," he said. "They were heavily recruiting people from the community to get involved at that time, and it seemed like a good thing to me, and it has been."
Sachs said he is reluctant to leave the commission since he's the board's last original member.
"There is something to be said for having some kind of institutional memory of where the sales tax has come from, where it has been and where it has been going," he said. "I think it's helpful trying to keep that perspective."
Sachs, who took a four-year leave of absence from practicing law to head the Yampa Valley Legacy Education Initiative, said he has spent innumerable hours working with school district personnel.
"Doing this takes a lot of time, but I think the best people in the community are involved in education," said Sachs, who has returned to his law practice. "I've had great experiences working with the School District."
Sachs' daughters - Amber, 15, and Camille, 14 - are now students at Steamboat Springs High School, but he doesn't anticipate winding down his volunteer efforts. His 1-year-old daughter Chloe soon will be in the school district.
"I believe very strongly in public education and its primary importance in our society and our community," he said. "I truly think people should support it, and there is nothing more important."
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