Charles VeDepo: Show the money

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The voters of Steamboat Springs approved (by a 73 percent vote) Referendum 2B, which asked if they wanted to share revenues from the half-cent sales tax for education with other schools in the county. Yet recent events indicate the Soroco and Hayden school districts have little or no voice in Capital Commission decisions.

South Routt made a request of $48,000 to remove years of coal dust from the gymnasium, and the commission decided it should come from the district's own budget, not from sales tax revenue. Do the commissioners not think South Routt would have already addressed this health risk if it has the money in its budget?

Hayden requested funds to help make payments on the Babson-Carpenter Career and Technical Education Center, a new regional vocational facility. Capital Commission member Kristi Brown was quoted as saying it's not typical of the Education Fund Board to "come in during the 11th hour and try to save the day." The Hayden district simply asked for help with a new building that is an incredible learning resource to all students in the Yampa Valley.

However, the Fund Board had no problem funding a new turf football field at Steamboat Springs High School, and it recently supported a request for a $50,000 boiler to heat the Strawberry Park Elementary School playground. The Fund Board justified the turf field as an educational benefit, claiming that school days were lost while athletes practiced elsewhere because of snow on the grass field.

If the Fund Board can justify a direct educational benefit of installing artificial turf on Steamboat's football field, how is it unable to correlate the real needs of the South Routt and Hayden requests? If the Fund Board and its Capital Commission have no problem supporting a request for a boiler to keep snow off a playground, but have an issue supporting requests to prevent a potential health risk from soot and dust in a gymnasium, or helping young adults who struggle in traditional classrooms, would the voters still support 2B? A suggestion I propose is that a flat percentage of the tax revenue (30 percent) funnel directly to the "other" districts so they can apply the funds to projects they know need attention, while the lion's share can continue to fund the "wants" of window coverings and floor rugs in the Steamboat Springs School District.

Charles VeDepo

Hayden

Comments

smart65 5 years, 11 months ago

Like I said in the past. Make it a County wide tax.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 11 months ago

The logic given by the Fund Board is not consistent. How can they say they are not going to come in at the 1tth hour and save the day when they came in at the 11th hour to buy the boiler for the Strawberry Park playground?

Cleaning the SOROCO gym would be nice, but even the school district admitted it was a low priority project. I do not recall them claiming it was a health hazard, just unsightly. That project would also seem to be something that volunteers could do much of the work over time.

It is too early to come to any serious conclusions regarding the fairness of the Fund Board. Nor can controversial approved projects be used as a basis for expecting future grants. The turf field was probably a mistake because of the failure to adequately plan for snow removal has resulted in far fewer additional use than originally projected.

I think the real test of fairness will come with the funding of technology requests. I think it is obvious that all students in the area should have equivalent computers, software, Ipods and support. (It would probably make sense if there was a regional tech dept that set up all the area schools the same way. The cost is in designing and setting up the overall system structure. It costs comparatively little to add a few more machines).

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housepoor 5 years, 11 months ago

I would like to know what % of people living in Stagecoach and other parts of the County outside of SS school district drive thier kids to Steamboat everyday to attend school?

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Russell Orms 5 years, 11 months ago

Here we go. First let me say I was and am opposed to sharing the ed fund tax. It is a Steamboat tax and should go to Steamboat schools-period. The argument that people from Hayden pay into the fund misses the point. Lots of people from lots of other towns pay into the fund and we don't share with them either. Now Hayden want a large, set percentage allocated to them with their people deciding with projects they want to fund. Here we go.

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shoe_Z_Q 5 years, 11 months ago

This is exactly what Obama wants to do. It's just "Spread the wealth around" Most of Routt County, Most of Colorado voted for the guy. Your debating the very issue on a sliver of the scale the Nation is going to deal with this . Oh well, to late to change your vote now. It is always a real bummer when we don't do our research.

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upstream 5 years, 11 months ago

yeah, well the whole "buy local" campaign by the steamboat chamber is pretty much bogus in the mind of this lifelong south routter. i recently gave up trying to support steamboat businesses since you've made it pretty darn clear we aren't to be included in the reciprocal "local" benefits. if i can't buy it in south routt, i may as well go on down to the I-70 corridor and get it cheaper than i could in steamboat. good luck with the home rule initiative in Hayden- hopefully Oak Creek will one day do the same so we can raise a little revenue of our own and not be beholden to the beautiful people of SBS!

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monkeygirl 5 years, 11 months ago

Thank you Chuck for expressing the feelings and frustrations that seem to be simmering under the surface for Hayden, South Routt and Steamboat residents who supported the tax to aid in educational support to our children, our future.

I believe the frustration stems from the feeling that Hayden,(where I live) South Routt and Steamboat residents, believe the intent of the sharing of the funds would be a win-win for all the children, and in the long run our country.

Why are the residents of the outlying towns and county area made to feel that our children's educational needs aren't as important as the Steamboat's kids. Only after the funds have been distributed to the already well financed, comfortable and healthy schools, are we ALLOWED to ask for the funds, but at all times are reminded that we are not guaranteed a single cent. That "attitude" shows and is felt deep in our hearts, it would be wonderful if the compassion and empathy were what showed through. It's hard for struggling citizens to watch the more fortunate ones spending money as "necessary" on things that really seem frivolous when other educational needs are neglected in surrounding areas.

It is wonderful that most of the voters in Steamboat appreciate the support that the outlying towns' citizens provide to keep OUR VALLEY such a desirable place to live, work and if there is time and energy left, to play in. They (you) are willing to share in the bounty that you receive from the tourists as well as the valley residents, although the residents may not have the discretionary funds to buy much more than food and more affordable goods in Steamboat, (the taxes collected in Hayden on sales is far less than is needed to support some of the needs of our children).

Hayden's property taxes are higher than most towns in the state, and that is where alot of our educational funds come from. We don't have extra funds to support tech. needs, extra activities such as arts, drama, sports equipment, etc. We are blessed with wonderful volunteers who make some of these things available to our children.

Please, let's not short change the children in the outlying areas, their education is just as important as anyone else's.

Even though I live in Hayden and have for 20 years, as well as another 10 in Steamboat and Milner, I have worked in Steamboat all that time, and feel as though I am part of the community here. I believe I spent plenty of my hard earned money where I worked, as do many commuters.

Bill Hayden and Chuck Vedepo are very active in the Hayden community and give alot of themselves to better things for our town. Their emotion and passion are appreciated and understood by the people they represent- thanks for looking out for us all!

Keep it positive! It's going to be a rough enough future without all the negativity!

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oldskoolstmbt 5 years, 11 months ago

smuzy Q- huh?...your too far out in right field to even see who's up to bat...

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