Our View: Step forward and join School Board
August 21, 2011
Steamboat Springs — With less than one week until the petition deadline, the Steamboat Springs School Board still doesn't have a single declared candidate for any of the three open seats. It's time for community members to step forward and volunteer their names for an important elected position.
Yes, serving on a school board can be thankless work that also involves a significant time investment. You won't get paid for it, either. But there are a number of reasons why being a school board member is critical for our school districts and communities.
School districts receive the largest chunk of our annual property tax bills. The volume of money allocated to our schools puts particular emphasis on fiscal accountability and responsibility. Those duties end with the school board, which annually is responsible for setting and approving a balanced budget.
In recent years, balancing the budget has necessitated significant cuts — to the tune of about $2 million in Steamboat Springs School District. With guidance from building principals, district administrators and the superintendent, the School Board ultimately decides what gets cut and what doesn't. That's an important undertaking, and one that has the potential to affect the quality of education we provide our children. With additional cuts looming in the coming years, it's as important as ever that we have a competent School Board prepared to lead our district into an uncertain financial future.
Our public school districts tell a lot about our community to residents, visitors and those looking to move here. A community that values its schools is one that typically has a high quality of life, higher real estate values and is generally a happier, healthier place to be. We have that here in Steamboat. We have dedicated parents and other volunteers who enrich the lives of school children on a daily basis. We have school accountability committees and district accountability committees. We have an Education Fund Board that doles out dollars from a voter-approved half-cent sales tax for education. We have numerous nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the lives of local children.
What we don't have are three or more community members who are willing to make a four-year commitment to serving on the next term of the Steamboat Springs School Board. Becoming a candidate is easy. Stop by the district's central office at 325 Seventh St. this week to pick up a candidate petition. Check the map and make sure you live in Districts 2, 4 or 5. Then gather the necessary number of signatures from neighbors, friends and co-workers. Turn in the petition by the end of the day Friday.
We've long advocated for contested elections in all local races. This year, we'd be content with one person stepping forward for each of the three open seats on the Steamboat Springs School Board. Let it be you.