Steamboat Springs Challenge Fund set to distribute 1st set of grants

Funds will support new curriculum, tech tools

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If you go

What: Steamboat Springs School Board meeting

When: 4 p.m. Monday

Where: Strawberry Park Elementary School, 39620 Amethyst Drive

— Money collected from the inaugural Steamboat Springs Challenge Fund soon will equip students at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools with new iPads, robotic Lego kits and a traveling planetarium.

The money also will introduce some new curriculum into their classrooms.

“It feels good to get to this stage,” said Summer Johnston, a parent who helped found the new fundraising drive that netted nearly $52,000 for the elementary schools this year. “It has been a really long time in the works, and there has been a lot of support and work from so many parents"

She said teachers at the two elementary schools have been busy applying for the funds this fall.

Their applications were vetted by a committee that included parents, teachers and the principals from both schools.

The first round of grants from the fund will support items ranging from a pottery lesson to a video project of famous Coloradans.

“It was definitely interesting to see what requests came in, and I'm excited to see where it all goes,” Johnston said.

Johnston, along with nine other parents, founded the Challenge Fund in January and the fundraising drive replaced the elementary schools' more conventional annual fundraisers that included bake, cookie dough and gift wrap sales.

In June, organizers of the fund said 131 households, or about 18 percent of the total households who have children attending the local elementary schools, donated to the fund that is being distributed equally between Strawberry Park and Soda Creek. Contributions from businesses accounted for about 20 percent of the fundraising total.

The Steamboat Springs School Board will sign off on the nearly $40,000 worth of grant requests when they meet at 4 p.m. Monday.

Johnston said the grant vetting committee is planning to accept more applications this month and next month to finish awarding the $52,000.

Also at Monday's School Board meeting, Superintendent Brad Meeks will update the board on the district's enrollment numbers.

As of Oct. 1, the district had 2,321 students, up from 2,284 students last school year.

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

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