Steamboat Springs The Education Fund Board will have one commission next year but will leave decisions about most of the details until later.
A majority of members of the volunteer group that allocates the city of Steamboat Springs half-cent sales tax for education agreed Wednesday night to shift from the Educational Excellence and Technology/Capital commissions to one commission. The commissions hear requests, research them and present them to the Fund Board for consideration.
There wasn’t a formal vote, just an agreement to move forward with the idea.
Fund Board members cited issues with having two commissions this year. They said it was difficult to split one pot of money between two groups that didn’t necessarily know what the Routt County school districts’ priorities were.
Fund Board member Mark Andersen said having just one commission would eliminate the competition between the commissions and make things simpler.
“You’re putting it on the table, and it’s an even playing field,” Andersen said.
Fund Board member Scott Berry, however, raised concerns about the one commission idea.
“I don’t think it would be healthy for the commission to have everything so dialed in then when it comes to the EFB, it’s rubber-stamped,” he said. “That concerns me.”
Berry added that the commissions could vet which requests for funding were most important.
Fund Board President Kristi Brown said commission members will research the specifics, such as how many members will sit on the commission and whether it will have subcommittees to vet requests, before the next meeting in August.
She said it is the Fund Board’s intention to have the single commission in place by next school year.
Fund Board members also discussed whether they should fund programs that are considered core or extras. They didn’t reach a consensus.
Several Fund Board members said that historically, gifts were provided for extra programs, but that has changed the past few years as statewide K-12 education funding has been cut.
Fund Board member Don Schwartz offered a different perspective.
“It seems to me, philosophically, it’s not necessarily core versus extra,” he said, “but what’s in the best interest for students.”
Brown started the meeting by recognizing outgoing Fund Board members Andersen, Schwartz, Jill Boyd and Sue MacCarthy during their last meeting.
“Those are some pretty big shoes to fill,” Brown said. “Each of you have made significant contributions to the commissions and the board. Thank you for your service, and I encourage you to come back to the meetings.”
Brown also recognized Steamboat Superintendent Shalee Cunningham, who also was at her last Fund Board meeting. Her last day is June 30; she will become superintendent of the Novato Unified School District in Marin County, Calif.
In other action, the Fund Board:
■ Approved officers for 2011-12. Brown will remain president, and Dean Massey will serve another term as treasurer. Roger Good will become vice president, and Paige Boucher was named secretary. Terms start July 1.
■ Approved a 2011-12 contract for Fund Board accountant Linda Johnson that will pay her $900 a month, up from $750 this year, based on a better understanding of the work involved.
■ Approved shifting $851.86 from reserves to make up for the Fund Board overspending its administrative budget this year.
To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com