Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Sandra Smyser listens intently as the Routt County Board of Commissioners lambast the district's funding request for cameras and other security equipment.

Photo by Brian Ray

Steamboat Springs School District Superintendent Sandra Smyser listens intently as the Routt County Board of Commissioners lambast the district's funding request for cameras and other security equipment.

School officials blasted

County Commissioners decry $266,000 request for security funding

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— Routt County Commissioner Doug Monger said Tuesday that he was "shocked and flabbergasted" by the Steamboat Springs School District's request for $266,000 to help match a federal school security grant.

Showing his frustration at the commissioner's table in the Routt County Courthouse Annex, Monger told interim Superintendent Sandra Smyser, facilities director Rick Denney and Steamboat Springs School Board President Robin Crossan that he would not support the request for a supplemental item to the county's 2008 budget and would consider only up to $20,000 next year.

"I was not only shocked and flabbergasted, I was actually offended by the amount of contribution requested here," Monger said, adding that the South Routt and Hayden school districts could use the funds more than Steamboat Springs schools.

"As far as I'm concerned, the Steamboat (Springs) School District is the richest governmental entity in the county," he said. "That is quite evident by the spending habits by a previous board. : When you can buy out the superintendent for $250,000 and fund a football field, then I guess there are some value judgments that need to be taken care of as to what is more important than security."

In December, school officials received a $533,000 federal "Secure Our Schools" grant to help boost security measures at all four schools in the district. To help match the grant, district officials have set aside $245,000. Superintendent Sandra Smyser hoped commissioners would partner with the district to contribute the additional funds.

Commissioner Nancy Stahoviak said Tuesday's request was almost 10 times larger than any request ever granted by county commissioners for a capital project.

"We have never contributed to any entity for any kind of capital project more than $25,000," she said. "I'm pretty strong in telling my department managers that they shouldn't come to us with supplemental budgets, : and we need to hold to that."

Security questions

With no chance of commissioners coming close to matching their funding request, school officials are left looking for new funding sources, such as the city's Education Fund Board.

The new security equipment could include external and internal school surveillance cameras, electronic key card access systems, hand-held and mobile radios, and bi-directional radio amplifiers to improve communications.

The School Board voted Dec. 3 to authorize Smyser to direct district staff to acquire the 800 MHz radios, which will cost the district $145,284. The bi-directional radio amplifiers were also approved, but the School Board continues to debate the need for internal security cameras.

Commissioners questioned why school officials requested funds Tuesday, before the School Board has decided on what security hardware would be installed. Smyser responded that due to construction of a new Soda Creek Elementary School, some expenditures, such as the electronic key card access systems, need to be ordered as soon as possible.

"The School Board has not thrown their full weight behind the (interior cameras) idea yet, and it will most likely be on their agenda for next week," Smyser said. "There doesn't seem to be much discussion at all about exterior cameras. That seems to be something that everyone wants."

Denney told commissioners that the security hardware was recommended to school officials during a 2007 school security audit.

"The hardware they described in their recommendations, I didn't think we had a ghost of a chance of putting in during the next two years," he said. "I thought it was five to 10 years out based on the magnitude of what their recommendations were."

Monger said he sees a lot of "want versus need" in the security hardware, and he is unwilling to contribute such a large amount of money toward security measures when county buildings are facing the same concerns.

"We have all the same funding needs and priority needs you have, and a lot of your funding is irrelevant if we don't take care of the things we have to do," he said. "Don't come back and put the blame on us when we have similar security interest in our government buildings as well."

- To reach Mike McCollum, call 871-4208

or e-mail mmccollum@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

bcpow 6 years, 11 months ago

I have nothing to say since Doug hit it on the head.

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Mckoby 6 years, 11 months ago

Are these individuals called County Commissioners or Hayden/Oak Creek Commissioners? Why ask for Steamboat agencies to submit requests if they are only going to honor requests from Hayden/Oak Creek? I question whether the commissioners disrespectful/rude responses will inspire others to ask for funds. Maybe that is the point that they were trying to make. If so, point well taken. It sounds like it could have and should have been handled with a little more class and professionalism than what Monger and Stahoviak displayed.

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JustSomeJoe 6 years, 11 months ago

Monger is prone to overstatement and amplification. He called a local group "terrorists" when they opposed the the courthouse move. Why use a simple and polite "no thank you" when you have the opportunity to denigrate someone in public and the paper?

I wonder what percentage of the county's revenue comes in through Steamboat Springs versus unincorporated Routt, Hayden and the OC? I don't have an opinion about the amount of money the school asked for, but you would think the county commissioners would be more considerate when a couple of the representatives of their largest revenue base come before them.

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

there is no shame when it comes to the liberal elite asking for money, as long as they ask, the get, as long as they get they ask, it grows on the backs of the citizens anyway..... absolutely no shame what so ever, they think they are right and entitled, you will never convince them otherwise.........

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andymanout 6 years, 11 months ago

May I ask Who performed the security audit?

Andyman Out.

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letomayo 6 years, 11 months ago

Smyser works at the boards whim expecially now as an interim. She has no power to speak of after all their advertizing her job. should Crossan and Denney have known to talk with the commissioners ahead of time and shouldn't they have known what the amounts were given in the past before going to the county? you have to have power to be a megalowhateveryousaid. Theres enough of those people in town. wasn't Howell one and the board that gave her the no-cut contract?

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Bog 6 years, 11 months ago

Condoguy: Didn't know the school board was the "liberal elite". Must be nice to just paste a generic comment into numerous posts on different topics.

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

bog, check it out, pay attention, there are no more arrogant, elite, and pompus in the whole country, and these teachers unions are not typically conservative. talk about an agenda, there is no shame, they are elite and entitled as a group could be, check your tax bill...................

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sandmountain 6 years, 11 months ago

The Steamboat Springs School District RE2 receives a 1/2 cent sales tax on everything that is purchased in the City of Steamboat Springs. Residents of Yampa, Oak Creek, and Hayden pay this tax but receive no benefit from it whatsoever.

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80488mom 6 years, 11 months ago

I appreciated Doug's comments.........and sorry if you felt he appeared a bit abrasive. He's "old" Steamboat and I like it. ....actually, I love it! He's just saying it like it is ...no interpretation necessary.....so everyone can understand and there's no way of spinning it either. Keep up the good work Doug and don't change your delivery because a few noses are put out of place or someone gets their panties all in a wad.

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80488mom 6 years, 11 months ago

Last I knew there was a percentage of the local sales tax that went directly to Steamboat schools. Where do you think the folks in Hayden, Oak Creek, Phippsburg and Yampa buy their groceries folks??? What about the tax that is generated through Walmart alone??? Don't you think those kids should get a piece of the pie??? It's ridiculous that it isn't shared proportionally.

Do you really think that Steamboat needs a sophisticated security system? I'd rather see the money spent in the classrooms and on increasing teachers' pay so they can continue to afford to live here. Take a look at the starting salaries for police officers, sheriff's deputies and fire fighters........those guys could use a good hike too. We should be ashamed at what we pay them. Those wages in THIS county are poverty wages.

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

80488, exactly, we need more people to stand up to this crowd in that same way, we have been blackmailed long enough over the "making of our childrens minds", i've seen the future as well, and it is that we get less and less for our public education dollars, give me a break........................

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80488mom 6 years, 11 months ago

I think the Pilot could have done better on the caption of the above photo.......I'd have put a bubble above Ms. Smyser's head that read, "...and I thought if the cowboy was just sitting still I could rope him in."...and Doug could have said, "This isn't my first rodeo honey."

Anymore????

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

I would bet what she was thinking in that photo could not be printed here, if more of these folks knew such a stupid, caught in the cookie jar look would be published, they would think twice about making such ballsey arrogant requests. next time she will wear sunglasses and a mustache.

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mominboat 6 years, 11 months ago

The county commissioners invite local agencies to present at meetings what their needs are and how the county can be of assistance. They invite all the school districts, county extension, etc. as these are all part of Routt County.
For those of you making judgment on Dr. Smyser by this outlandish act of Doug Monger, you are clearly mistaken about her work ethic, her demeanor and her character. There probably wasn't anything given to the board members or Dr. Smyser about budget request limitations, protocol, etc. These presenters were blind-sided and crucified for asking for what they need. Rather than support these volunteers and say, "Well, we've never been asked for quite that amount, but...." they were ridiculed and are now being labelled for going to a meeting to which they were invited to present.
I feel as if Mr. Monger was out of line to lambast the board and Dr Smyser. These volunteers and an interim superintendent remained professional despite the extreme tautological tirade of an elected local official. Since when did being local mean being rude? Sorry, Dougie, but you just lost my vote big time. I miss Ben Beall......

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

mom this is it, Ms Smyser is salaried to the tune of $145,229 per year, but I understand your typical liberal "volunteer" would be paid $145,229 per year, as a "volunteer", now wouldn't they? Where do you get this crap??????????

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fish 6 years, 11 months ago

momintheboat! now we now where all the good drugs are.

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ijustlookhi 6 years, 11 months ago

Monger is out of line, why pontificate and grandstand and embarress us all...your acting like a needy child..."look at me"!

I wish the adults in this community would give our children better examples of how to problem solve and work together...its a fricken joke...shame on you.

Doug, they had to get a match, a set a mount, they had the grant...they had to ask somebody...help them out, if they can't at least ask you and expect a helpful answer even if you can't give them 200k who should they ask...you know they are new to the process...jeeze.

I am disgusted by your reference to county buildings needing the same security as our childrens schools...how clueless and out of touch...does Columbine or the name Randall Nelson ring a bell...?

Doug your a horses rearend in my book.

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mominboat 6 years, 11 months ago

School board members are not paid for their service, their time, their energy. They spend so much of their own money on their campaigns because dealing with education is their passion. Any wonder why so many leave after only a few months of disgusting treatment from the community? It takes a lot of fortitude to deal with the public and even more with difficult issues. I am thankful for their service. Smyser does not make $145,000. Her salary is reduced as an interim. ($108, 000 or something like that) Check the public records.

I feel the commissioners acted subjectively and had not properly informed their invited presenters as to what the expectations are.
If a cap existed on funding, it would behoove the commissioners to inform county agencies ahead of time.

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letomayo 6 years, 11 months ago

mominboat, the district should of done their homework and asked questions first before going with a lawndry list. Why don't the district ask the city for some money?

ijustlook, "its a fricken joke...shame on you." Fricken is the way to say things? thats just a substitute for another word and I don't allow my kids to use either word cause they are the same meaning. If the board members are new to the process and can't get it straight and the administration doesn't tell them to ask questions before going to the meeting then who's fault is that? Board members run and say they know everything and then they don't. did they lie to us to get my vote. Crasson was chairman on the 1/2 cent tax group and now board president doesn't she know how to do it?

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

oh what liberal pollyanic garbage mom, they are working out of their passion, they are spending their own money, baloney, they are working for money and their need to participate in the process of telling everybody else how to live, taking and taking so they can dole a little back and say look what we have done, you should be beholden to us, if you don't think a $108.000 interim salary is a payment you must be mentally ill and, not just out of touch...... there are to many men and women risking their lives everyday, making unbelivable sacrafices so we can live in our perfect little world that we need to "thank" for their service, not to go overboard with those who are WELL paid, under worked, and whinining all the while, give me a break................

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ijustlookhi 6 years, 11 months ago

I don't see any whining by the school board here...should they have just dismissed the subsantial grant they have and need a match for, sure they could have asked questions do they deserve this treatment???

I see them being unneccasrily humiliated for trying to serve our schools....Doug your a horses A$%^$

condo...dude your way off base and talking about irrelevent stuff...

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

sbc, I believe the board positions in Steamboat are unpaid positions with fairly generous expense reimbursement, I am referring to paid positions including administrative positions in my remarks, we are discussing employees not volunteers, the board president got blind sided by administrators not having done their home work, this whole incident could have been avoided with a few phone calls in my opinion, the idea anybody could assume the commissioners were going to hand over $266 grand is naive and arrogant.........

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

justlookhi, see sbc above................. please.

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steamboatsconscience 6 years, 11 months ago

condo well the administrators are overpaid, unless you consider getting anonymously bludgeoned in these forums as eligible for hazardous duty pay!

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shadow 6 years, 11 months ago

The school boards ignorance is no excuse for commissioners tirade!

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

sbc, I agree that is the hazard of these public positions you are going to get a lot of criticism, I respect them for taking it as well as they do.

shadow, that's what you get when you mix the pc, mamby pamby, feel good, don't hurt my feelings sector, with the kick butt spend the peoples money wisely, stand up for what's right sector, sometimes there is no way to say the obvious than to say it, those people are there to do what is right, this is Routt Co. not SF Co. and if you are not clear, they just keep coming back with more costly drivil...........

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shadow 6 years, 11 months ago

Condoguy, My comment was intended as a sublte reference to apparent traits of the parties.....

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

I git ya, kind of like oil and water............

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bloggyblog 6 years, 11 months ago

Hooray!! general condo-guy is gonna lead us, the butt-kicking conservatives, against the mamby pamby,feel good liberal socialist pigs!!! we'll clobber them with our big words, like...pollyanic! that should show em.

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flotilla 6 years, 11 months ago

Doug needed to say it. The board and their volunteers/admin/whoever should do their research and discover what lies beneath these costs and what they are asking for. That kind of money, especially when doubled, as the grant would be, is ridiculous, either way you view it. There is enough $ in this community that if people feel their children need to be taped while in school they can have a fundraiser or a gala to support that. just like the rec center. if people REALLY feel it is necessary, they will find a way to do it. i know, i know, the rec center is totally different from cameras in school... or is it? parents need to start taking responsiblity for their kids behavior and hopefully get their kids help before they behave so selfishly to harm fellow students. In light of Randall's trial and outcome, are any of you foolish enough to think those kids wouldn't have harassed, pushed, run their mouths, oh i don't know, a block away from the school and their cameras, out on the astroturf? how about during the weekends? TEACH YOUR OWN KIDS HOW TO BEHAVE- all of these threats and gun-toting children were non-existant before 1997. What will the future hold if everything we do is video-taped. Take a good look about how you all want your grandchildren's children living and start the change within yourselves and your families. Quit expecting the city government to pick up the pieces of your wants and desires... people could learn something from Doug's brave statement that isn't coated in organic, sugar-in-the-raw. Wouldn't it be refreshing to see just this down to earth honesty in our upcoming presidential election? This absolutely is class and faction related. This is your world, folks, you chose the direction you see fit, but I, for one, will enjoy the fresh breath of reality while it lasts. once again, THANK YOU, Doug. And you don't think they are paid enough? Cry me a river. none of us are. bring it.

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

flotilla, some good thinking there, thank you............

bloggyblog, who said anything about socialist, and who said anything about pigs, a little touchy today, are we? worried about a stipend.......

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letomayo 6 years, 11 months ago

Its interesting how little most of you who post know about anything. crossan and the other board members don't get paid and I think they have little expenses if any unless you call getting money back for conferecnces they pay out of there pockets.

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

letomayo, it may be you who knows little, read all of the above posts, the discussion is of the administrators, salaried personnel, not so much Robin, who I think was in a bad spot due to the lack of diligence by the paid people, IMHO these folks could have averted this embarrsment had the facilities director, Dr. Smyser, and their team executed a little good old fashioned exploratory due diligence..................

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letomayo 6 years, 11 months ago

Crasson should of asked her cronies. why would she who is board president not do her homework isn't she the district leader who runs the board and it's actions? If the president isn't aware enough to do her homework why wouldn't someone else be president. I thought if you were president you would be smart enough to do whats smart like talking to the people who are lending the money about the loan you want before you do that. Isn't that what you do when you want a loan from the bank you talk to you're friends and find out what you need to do to make sure you get it. Didn't she ask the other board members what they thought. Is Denney clueless about the process and what about the cops are they giving money to the schools to meet the grant after all it is there program they want. Ask the city for money too. who cares anyway because maybe there is more important ways to spend our money instead of on cameras.

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raver 6 years, 11 months ago

When are ya all gonna realize that the board is running the show,particularly one board member,it's all about the power for him.

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thecondoguy1 6 years, 11 months ago

letomayo, you have all good points there, good questions, maybe raver just posted the answer, I don't know........

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letomayo 6 years, 11 months ago

one person is still running the show with three people who ran against him and were elected? Three beats two with nothing to say about one expecially when three ran against that one? That doesn't hardly make sense.

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stompk 6 years, 11 months ago

Dear Lord, what is the world coming to?

Security cameras, keyless entry?

Is it a school, or a prison?

I think the radios are a good idea, because I tried to

call the middle school a couple of months ago,

and the phones were off. No message, no nothing.

So I called the Elementary, and the High School.

Same thing.

So then I was a bit worried, so I called the chamber of

commerce. They didn't know anything. So then I called the

cops. They said, "oh, they'll be down till Monday"

And I was like WTF. What if there was an emergency?

So I went to the school and found Mr. Buelter, and asked him.

He didn't know the phones weren't working...

Now Mr, Buelter is a good man, so I'm not blaming him.

(hope I'm spelling your name right Jerry)

But I never saw anything in the paper, and the lack of a message when calling the school was very disturbing indeed.

The smug face and reaction from this Sandra Smyser makes me think she needs to go.

I nominate Mr. Buelter as the new Sup.

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stompk 6 years, 11 months ago

And by the way, I think I could supply the whole school district with radios for around $40,000. Some high tech stuff.

Who the hell are they buying the radio system from. The CIA?

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