Steamboat Fund Board's vetting process nears end

School districts learn which of their grants made the cut

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By the numbers

Fund Board grants approved by vetting commission:

Total grants: $2,546,197

Steamboat Springs: $2,006,613 (83 percent)

Soroco: $159,000 (7 percent)

Hayden: $148,084 (6 percent)

North Routt Community Charter School: $35,000 (1 percent)

Community groups: $67,500 (3 percent)

The Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board’s three-month-long grant-vetting process is nearing the finish line.

The Fund Board’s grant committee on Wednesday night spent about five hours paring down a pool of grant requests from $2.7 million to $2.5 million as Routt County school districts learned which of their applications will advance to the Fund Board for a final vote next month.

“It went as smoothly as could be expected for this type of work,” grant commission chairman Glenn Airoldi said about the meeting. “I think we did a pretty good job lining up the awards that we approved with the priorities of the districts.”

If the Fund Board approves the grant committee’s recommendations next month, Steamboat will receive $2 million in grants, or 83 percent of the revenue from the city’s half-cent sales tax. The North Routt Community Charter School will receive $35,000 for professional and curriculum development, or 1 percent of the revenue; the Hayden School District will receive $148,084, or 6 percent; Soroco will receive $159,000, or 7 percent; and education-oriented community groups will receive $67,500, or 3 percent of the revenue.

“Every one of the school districts got more money this year, which is great,” Airoldi said.

The Fund Board is projecting it will award nearly $250,000 more than it did last year.

Still, not every request made it with its full dollar amount this cycle.

The vetting process nixed $50,000 from Steamboat’s technology hardware request, $33,000 from South Routt’s request for technology upgrades, $9,000 from Yampatika’s request to support its Environmental Literacy Program, and $15,000 from Hayden’s request for funding to upgrade and renovate its auditorium, among other things.

Wednesday’s meeting followed philosophical discussions the Fund Board has been having this grant cycle that included conversations about the format of Steamboat’s largest grant request and the level of funding community groups receive from the sales tax.

“I think we’re glad this process is closer to being done,” Steamboat Superintendent Brad Meeks said, adding he hopes the conversations about the Fund Board’s vetting process continue. “We’ve been looking for a more objective review of the proposals, and I think that’s something I hope we can have some more dialogue on this summer.”

Airoldi said the many philosophical discussions the Fund Board had this cycle were beneficial.

“It basically ensured we had a more comprehensive vetting process,“ he said. “At two of our meetings we had public comment and we were asked to really keep in mind this tax was put in place to support public education. Obviously, we do take that first and foremost, and when you look at the results of the funding allocations, that’s exactly where we went.”

The Fund Board will decide whether to approve all of the grants at their next meeting May 9.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

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