Fund Board to hear requests
December 5, 2007
Steamboat SpringsSteamboat Springs — As the city's Education Fund Board considers more than $4 million in funding requests for 2008-09, one Steamboat school administrator said his building has to be a priority. — As the city's Education Fund Board considers more than $4 million in funding requests for 2008-09, one Steamboat school administrator said his building has to be a priority.
Steamboat Springs — As the city’s Education Fund Board considers more than $4 million in funding requests for 2008-09, one Steamboat school administrator said his building has to be a priority.
“You are going to have three beautiful buildings and a middle school,” Jerry Buelter, assistant principal at Steamboat Springs Middle School, told the Steamboat Springs School Board on Monday. “It’s a pit. I just don’t see the community standing for three state-of-the art buildings and a pit.”
In November 2006, local voters approved a $29.5 million bond issue to construct a new Soda Creek Elementary School and expand Strawberry Park Elementary School. But renovations to the middle school have repeatedly been delayed for reasons such as increased construction costs.
Those renovations account for a large part of requests to the Fund Board from Steamboat Springs School District officials, who will present priorities for the 2008-09 school year to the Fund Board at 7 p.m. today at Steamboat Springs High School.
The Fund Board administers the city’s half-cent sales tax for education. The school district’s leadership team is requesting more than $4.4 million for the next school year – up from about $3.1 million this year.
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The Fund Board is divided into three commissions that address capital, technology and educational excellence needs.
“We’ll be having presentations with the leadership team, and we’ll have reports from the three commissions on how money was spent last year,” Fund Board Vice President Carolyn Peters said of tonight’s meeting. “A financial report will be circulated and each of the commissions starts work on the suggestions or recommendations for gifting.”
School Board members received the district’s funding priorities Monday night. The priorities include $1.5 million for the middle school and $100,000 for textbooks.
Going with Gonder
Peters noted that the school district is not given a free pass for funding on all of its requests to the Fund Board.
“This process goes on for months,” she said. “First and second readings go through the spring and each item is taken and studied individually.”
Commissioners typically complete second readings in April, Peters said.
Fund Board President Robin Crossan, who plans on resigning as president tonight after winning a seat on the School Board, said Fund Board allocations play a huge part in the success of Steamboat schools.
Fund Board revenues have allowed the district to hire teachers, purchase computers, offer an elementary Spanish program, and hire a director of curriculum and instruction, among many other programs.
Fund Board members have hired a public relations firm to help market a renewal of the sales tax, which likely will be put to voters in 2008 or 2009.
A Hill Research Consultants poll conducted in April revealed that 58 percent of respondents said they would vote against renewing the tax.
“If you take a look at the results of the survey, a lot of people don’t know who we are and what we do as a benefit to the school district,” Crossan said.
Crossan and Peters did not know Tuesday how much Westminster-based communications consultant Peggy Gonder will be paid for her efforts. In Gonder’s Oct. 3 proposal to the Fund Board, she told board members that her services cost up to $60,000. The figure includes payment for Gonder’s firm, costs for a city-wide survey and the development of a Web site promoting the Fund Board.
Crossan said Gonder’s pay will be significantly lower because board members determined they could hire firms to conduct the survey and develop the Web site at a lower cost.
“This is something the Education Fund Board has been talking about for several years,” Crossan said. “We have always talked about how to get our message out to the public in a better way. We have a volunteer board that has other things going on in their lives, and no one has volunteered to take (public relations) on as their own.”
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