Commission denies funding requests

Fund Board subsidiary declines to grant money to Hayden, South Routt proposals

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What: Meeting of the Education Fund Board, which administers the city's half-cent sales tax for education

When: 5:30 p.m. today

Where: Basement of the George P. Sauer Human Services Center on Seventh Street

Agenda

5:30 p.m. Call to order, public comment

5:36 p.m. Small class size discussion

5:50 p.m. Financial report, auditor's report

6:15 p.m. Fund Board report and board comments

6:30 p.m. Capital Commission recommendations, first reading

7:25 p.m. Other business

7:30 p.m. Adjourn

— Funding requests from the Hayden and South Routt school districts failed to make it past the Capital Commission in the first phase of budgeting for the next school year.

The Capital Commission, one of three commissions that make recommendations to the Education Fund Board, declined requests from the outlying school districts in the first year they could consider such proposals. The Fund Board administers the city's half-cent sales tax for education, which voters renewed in November along with approval to share revenues with Hayden and South Routt schools.

Capital Commission members will present recommendations to the Fund Board at a meeting at 5:30 p.m. today. Capital Commission representative Kristi Brown said Hayden and South Routt proposals were considered on equal footing with proposals for Steamboat Springs schools, but failed to meet the commission's criteria on a case-by-case basis.

Hayden Superintendent Greg Rockhold requested funds to make final payments on the Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center, a newly constructed, regional vocational facility on the Hayden middle and high school campus.

Brown said it's not typical of the Fund Board to "come in during the 11th hour and try to save the day," and the commission decided it would prefer to be involved in projects from the beginning.

South Routt Superintendent Scott Mader, along with South Routt School Board President Tim Corrigan, made two requests - for funds to pave a parking lot in the district and for money to clean and repaint the Soroco High School gym, dirtied by years of soot from the old coal-powered boilers.

Brown said the board did not see enough direct educational benefit to pave the parking lot. The gym renovation was a closer decision, she said, but the four commission members ultimately decided the gym cleaning should be included in the district's regular budget.

"What we liked about it was it was potentially a safety issue, but we felt it was a routine maintenance issue," she said.

Mader said there is no money in the district's budget to repair the gym this year to the level it requires. The initial bid for the comprehensive cleaning was $47,959.

"We wanted a thorough job here for that old gym because we've switched away from coal," he said. "We may take another run at that next year."

Other benefits

Even though the direct requests from South Routt and Hayden were not approved, the districts potentially could benefit from three other requests that were passed. Among the requests given the go-ahead is $30,000 for a project manager for the School Safety and Security Task Force. The manager, in a six-month contract, will help all Routt County schools develop a safety plan and checklist.

The Capital Commission also is requesting $10,000 in small grants, which can be disbursed directly by the commission for teacher projects in all three districts. This is the first year the Capital Commission will use grants, and Brown said she envisions the money will be used for window treatments, area rugs or bookshelves in classrooms.

The commission also will request $80,000 for the continuation of the grant writer position, currently held by Ruth McBride. The grant writer is available to prepare grant applications for all three school districts.

Coming requests

The requests made by Hayden and South Routt to the Capital Commission represent a small portion of the funding requested this year. Most of the requests will fall to the educational excellence and technology commissions.

Mader said that although all applications were important, the cleaning of the gym was the lowest priority for his district.

"Our hopes were always in technology. Always. That would just be a huge benefit to us," he said.

Recommendations from the Technology Commission will come Jan. 28, and the Educational Excellence Commission will make its recommendations to the Fund Board on Feb. 4.

The Fund Board is scheduled to approve its final budget March 18.

- To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

Comments

Malcolm_Reynolds 5 years, 11 months ago

The citizens of Steamboat Springs voted to share the funds, but there was no mechanism to allocate them. So now the other school districts have to convince (i.e.: plead / beg) the Capital Commission, then the Almighty Fund Board that their projects are worthy of the funds.

What needs to be arranged is that funds are allocated to Soroco and Hayden School Districts at a set percentage every year and let them decide how those funds are distributed. The Fund Board (or the other THREE commissions) is dictating what projects are worthy for funding to those districts.

Cut the check and let those districts decide were the funds are directed.

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JustSomeJoe 5 years, 11 months ago

Malcolm - sorry, that's not how it works. Groups and/or individuals come into the different fund board committees (technical, capital, educational excellence) and make their case for a specific project, why it will help the school/educational effort. The boards/committees are stewards of the public's money (the half cent sales tax) and have to decide how the money is spent.

If you think it should be different, then I suggest a ballot inititiative or getting involved yoursel over a snarky web post in the Pilot. Work with it or get involved. The folks that are involved on the committees and the Fund Board are volunteers, and the vast majority of them are not it in for the "Almighty" ego boost.

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