School ballot initiatives get attention

South Routt residents invited to explore issues at meetings

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If you go

What: South Routt schools ballot initiative meeting

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Phippsburg Community Center, 25890 Pine St. in Phippsburg

Other: Meetings also scheduled Thursday in Oak Creek and Oct. 9 in Stagecoach

— The Improve Soroco Schools Committee is pushing hard to make sure two South Routt School District ballot initiatives are approved by voters.

The committee is hosting a community meeting at 7 p.m. at the Phippsburg Community Center, and subsequent meetings are Thursday at 7 p.m. at the South Routt School District administrative office and 7 p.m. Oct. 9 at the Stagecoach Firehouse.

South Routt Superintendent Kelly Reed said the committee, which is a nonprofit organization independent of the school district, has kept in close contact with district officials to ensure the right information is presented to voters on two ballot initiatives.

In July, the district received a $1.57 million capital construction grant from the Colorado Department of Education to help fund the purchase and installation of new boilers at Soroco High School, Soroco Middle School and South Routt Elementary School in Yampa. The grant is contingent upon the district raising an additional $1.57 million in matching funds. That money would be raised through the proposed bonds.

If voters approve the bonds, Reed said work on the boilers would begin in the spring and be finished before the 2008-09 school year.

The district also is asking South Routt voters to approve a mill levy override of 3 mills - a property tax increase above what state regulations allow - to generate an additional $360,000 per year.

Reed noted that the net mill increase would be only 1 mill - or a tax of $1 for every $1,000 of assessed value - if voters also approve the bond purchase to replace the boilers.

Oak Creek resident Russ Garrity is spearheading the committee's efforts to reach out to voters and develop a marketing campaign to drum up support for the initiatives.

For more information about the community meetings, call the South Routt School District at 736-2313.

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