Steamboat Education Fund Board to start vetting requests |

Steamboat Education Fund Board to start vetting requests

— The Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board on Wednesday will start to vet the $3.5 million in grant requests it received for the 2012-13 school year.

"Now the tough work starts," Fund Board President Kristi Brown said, noting the wish list from Routt County's three school districts and other education-oriented groups is $1 million higher than the $2.5 million the Fund Board projects it will be able to award this cycle.

The grant requests for next school year all were reviewed by the Fund Board's grant commission last month during a five-hour meeting where the commission approved all of the applications it heard except for Steamboat Springs School District's $2.6 million "effective classroom" grant that district officials said would support about 42 full-time district employees who would work in programs ranging from special education to Title 1 reading. The commission agreed the request should be significantly pared down. It will be reconsidered at the group's March 21 meeting.

After hearing the Fund Board's input Wednesday, the grant commission will begin a two-month-long process of selecting which grants will be awarded and for how much. The Fund Board will then vote on the approved grants in May.

Brown said this year's pool of grant applicants includes more community groups than she has seen apply in previous cycles. New applicants this year include the Steamboat Arts Council, which is seeking $11,500 to support its "Young at Art" youth art camps and a video production at Steamboat Springs Middle School, and New Frontiers, which applied for $1,000 to support its Girls to Women program.

"We've had more community groups apply than I can ever recall having, and I think that's the nature of the economy," Brown said. "Everybody is struggling and looking for more funding at the same time the districts are having their budgets reduced. It's an interesting situation trying to balance our intention to enhance the educational experience of kids in public schools with what the community groups offer."

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Other community group applicants include Yampatika and Partners in Routt County.

No go on literacy grant

Routt County's three school districts learned last week they were not selected to receive a $150,000 literacy grant from Mile High United Way.

The school districts together applied for the $150,000 grant in November, saying it would be used to hire a literacy coach in each of their elementary schools next school year.

"It was a disappointment, of course, but with all grant funding it's always a risk," South Routt Superintendent Scott Mader said.

Mile High United Way last week awarded $2.6 million in grants to 11 educational groups across the state. United Way officials said there were 38 applicants for the grants.

The Fund Board in January approved $150,000 in matching funds for what would have been a one-year grant. Brown said the matching funds will be absorbed back into the Fund Board's budget.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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