Steamboat Springs School District requests $672,000 for technology grant

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— Wednesday’s Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board meeting isn’t expected to run long, President Kristi Brown said, but much of the evening’s attention will be spent on analyzing a sizable grant application from the Steamboat Springs School District.

This spring, the district will begin implementing its purely online Transitional Colorado Assessment Program standardized testing, much like most of the schools across the state. District Superintendent Brad Meeks said the rest of the district’s grade levels will follow suit next spring, but a good chunk of money is needed to fund the move.

Brown and the board will be doing first readings on the $672,000 grant request, known as the Technology Grant. The money requested would go toward facilitating the online-only testing system.

About 300 computers and 50 additional monitors have been requested, and temporary workers for setup and breakdown are expected to cost about $5,000, costing the district about $240,000 in all. Remodels to the middle school’s HVAC system for overheating concerns as well as possible renovations to district computer labs also are factored into the grant application.

“It’s first reading, so we’ll just hear the concept and we’ll ask them questions,” Brown said. “We’ll hear the details. We all will have reviewed the application.”

Hayden and South Routt School Districts already have enough to facilitate the online testing move, but Steamboat doesn’t yet, Brown said.

“Part of what we’re asking for is what would get us through this spring and then next spring as all the grades will be tested,” Meeks said. “We’re trying to get it done right the first time, but as you can see it’s quite an impact on us to get ready.”

Brown said she and the board expects to at least hear from District Technology Director Tim Miles at the meeting. On top of the district’s already submitted application is an online Q-and-A document, which needs to be fully responded to by Friday.

The board will reconvene Jan. 15 to review the completed Q-and-A document then go from there.

Brown also said Sunday that the Education Fund Board will have almost $2.7 million to grant to the districts for the 2014-15 school year.

“It’s about $125,000 more than we granted last year,” she said. “Part of that is we changed our forecast methodology. We are now forecasting the sales tax revenues will be up 5 percent over the next year. Last year, we forecasted flat.”

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the board will be interviewing candidate Sam Jones for its vacant at-large member seat, which runs through June 30, 2015. Last month during its annual meeting, the Education Fund Commission was able to fill out its full 11-person roster, appointing Cristina Magill to its final vacancy. Chuck Mitchell also filled an open vacancy on the fund board in December.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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