2nd readings go to Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board today

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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 on Seventh Street

Agenda highlights

5:30 p.m. Call to order

5:31 p.m. Public comments

6 p.m. Consent agenda

6:05 p.m. First readings

6:10 p.m. Second readings Technology/Capital Commission

6:25 p.m. Second readings Educational Excellence Commission

6:40 p.m. Prioritization of second readings

7:40 p.m. Approve 2011-12 annual budget

8 p.m. Adjourn

— The Education Fund Board has some tough decisions to make.

The Fund Board, which allocates the city of Steamboat Springs’ half-cent sales tax for education, will consider second readings from the Routt County school districts and community groups tonight for the 2011-12 school year.

The Fund Board has a tentative 2011-12 budget of $2.34 million for requests. It will consider about $2.45 million in requests on second reading after the Technology/Capital and Educational Excellence commissions reduced their requests from an initial $2.7 million.

About $400,000 of the initial requests won’t be funded.

Depending on what the Fund Board allots each commission — unlike in previous years, an amount hasn’t been set — some requests could see substantially less funding or none at all. For example, requests from community groups Yampatika, Partners in Routt County and Rocky Mountain Youth Corps could go unfunded.

Youth Corps Executive Director Gretchen Van De Carr said with less funding for the Yampa Valley Science School, an overnight camp for county sixth-graders, the program might change.

“We still need to do some fundraising, but what we’ve been doing is talking to (Steamboat) about a reduced format that will reduce expenses and costs to kids. It’s still overnight, but not three nights. It’s one or two. We’re still working out the kinks. We’ll make it work for sure,” she said.

Funding requests from the Steamboat, Hayden and South Routt school districts also could be reduced or not funded.

Fund Board President Kristi Brown said in the past couple of years, the board has allocated money for core programming instead of extras such as Science School that it provided in the past — a trend she’s not happy about.

“That’s an interesting shift, but probably not one that’s unexpected with the state budget cuts,” she said. “It’s something that we’ll probably see for the next few years as well, but I’m hoping it’s temporary. It’s a little bit disappointing because the Fund Board was created for different reasons.”

At tonight’s meeting, the Fund Board is scheduled to consider first readings for the grant writer who benefits all three districts at a cost of $80,000 and two new requests from South Routt. The district has requested $13,500 to provide stipends for summer curriculum work and $23,346 for an interventions support paraprofessional.

Fund Board members also are scheduled to approve the 2011-12 budget, but if that discussion hasn’t started by 8 p.m., Brown said it would be considered at a special meeting March 30.

— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com

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