Fund Board to set priorities

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If you go

What: Education Fund Board meeting

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Where: George P. Sauer Human Services Center board room on Seventh Street

Board to certify mill levy

The Steamboat Springs School Board will meet for 15 minutes at 5 p.m. today in the George P. Sauer Human Services Center on Seventh Street, to certify the Steamboat Springs School District's mill levy for property tax year 2008 - to be collected in 2009 - to the Routt County Board of Commissioners. The mill is assessed at 21.909 for a total of $19.55 million in taxes, levied on properties with a net assessed value of $892,169,232. The property tax includes a 1.595 mill override that totals $1.42 million.

According to estimates given to the commissioners by the Colorado Department of Education, the funding projected to be received from the state for fiscal year 2008-09 is $250,596.

— The Steamboat Springs School District is prepared tonight to request $3.15 million in funding from the Education Fund Board for the 2009-10 school year. That total is about $1.25 million less than what the Fund Board granted the school district last year.

The decrease in requests, even as district revenues are slipping, largely is because of the completion of capital projects and long-term planning.

District Technology Director Tim Miles said that has been the plan all along. By putting technology in place during the past several years in a strategic way, the district will not have to spend as much money to maintain and upgrade the system.

"My whole goal was to get this technology budget moving forward, to stay flat or decline instead of rising every year," he said.

To do that, Miles implemented a system to stream programs across the network to "shell" computers. Because the requirements on the computers are lower, Miles purchased about 100 computers this year secondhand from corporations at about $70 apiece, instead of new computers at several hundred dollars each.

Last year, the Fund Board allocated $453,929 for hardware replacement in the district. Superintendent Shalee Cunningham's request this year is for $130,600.

Even with the decrease in computer costs, some new items were added to this year's request list, including a $180,000 evaluation of the Steamboat Springs High School theater and $50,000 in design work on the heating and air conditioning system at Steamboat Springs Middle School.

The district also is requesting $37,500 from the Fund Board to cover half of the cost of the high school resource officer after the city requested the district pick up half of the tab.

A negotiation between the entities resulted in the district paying slightly less than half of the benefits for the officer and half of the salary.

One of the largest increases to this year's budget is for the English as a Second Language program. Last year, the Fund Board granted $155,000 for the program. This year, the district is requesting $243,000.

The Fund Board will not vote to approve any of the requests from the school district tonight. Those funding requests must come from the Fund Board's three commissions - Educational Excellence, Technology and Capital - before any action can be taken.

The Fund Board also will hear a financial audit from Anne Barbier regarding the financial health of the organization, and it will elect new officers.

The Fund Board is a volunteer group that disperses revenues from the city's half-cent sales tax for education. The tax typically generates about $3 million a year.

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