Education Fund Board delays decision
March 23, 2011
Steamboat Springs — The Education Fund Board delayed second readings of requests for the 2011-12 school year Wednesday night.
Instead of approving funding for the Routt County school districts and local community groups, the volunteer group that allocates the city of Steamboat Springs' half-cent sales tax for education pushed those decisions to its April 6 meeting.
But to do so, the Fund Board voted to suspend its bylaws, which require that it approve its budget by April 1, action that was scheduled for the meeting Wednesday. As part of the motion to suspend the bylaws, the Fund Board agreed to approve the budget before April 15.
Fund Board President Kristi Brown said delaying approval won't set the board back.
Before presenting second readings for the Technology/Capital Commission, Fund Board member and commission chairman Roger Good asked for the delay for Steamboat's requests only. He said Steamboat was trying to absorb $88,000 of Fund Board requests into its schools' budgets but hadn't figured out whether that would be possible.
As part of the motion, Good suggested that the Fund Board move forward with second readings for requests from the Hayden and South Routt school districts. Several Fund Board members said that wouldn't work.
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"Getting South Routt and Hayden through the system I think just hurts Steamboat," Fund Board Vice President Mark Andersen said. "You've got to have it all on the table to say everyone's on an even playing field."
Fund Board member Dean Massey also argued that delaying the requests affected the Educational Excellence Commission, with both commissions asking for dollars from a limited budget.
The Fund Board has been working with a preliminary budget of $2.34 million, about $1 million for each commission with the last $300,000 up for grabs. After a back-and-forth discussion, Good made a motion to delay the Fund Board's consideration of second readings, which was approved.
South Routt Superintendent Scott Mader and Hayden Secondary Schools Principal Troy Zabel said the delay wouldn't affect the districts' budgeting for next year.
Also at Wednesday's meeting, Brown said the panel would discuss in May whether to hire a consultant to study the feasibility of consolidating the county's three districts.
Many Fund Board members suggested getting each district's opinion before proceeding, but Brown said it would just be a discussion to learn what a study might cost and what kind of information it would yield.
"It will be on an agenda for this board to discuss," she said. "It was going to be on the April agenda. Now it's probably going to be May."
— To reach Jack Weinstein, call 970-871-4203 or email jweinstein@SteamboatToday.com