School Board to look at gift policy | SteamboatToday.com

School Board to look at gift policy

Group will consider current procedures at meeting to guide funding acceptance

— When and how the Steamboat Spring School Board accepts gifts from outside agencies, and particularly the Education Fund Board, is an increasingly contentious topic as school board members will discuss the official policy at a meeting tonight.

The board almost always accepts monetary gifts from the Fund Board, but board member Lisa Brown will present a policy suggestion tonight that will guide board action. Even so, the policy is scheduled for discussion after the board is slated to accept the newest round of funding for $2.55 million from the Fund Board.

The new policy would lead the School Board to accept “gifts or grants that provide a benefit rather than a detriment to the Steamboat Springs School District.”

The policy, based around previous discussions by the board and a piecemeal policy compiled in previous years, would guide the board to answer a series of questions, including “was the gift or grant solicited?” and “what happens if the board does not accept the gift or grant?”

The board has been faced with decisions in the past where funding from the Fund Board would require the school district to continue funding projects after the initial year, as with personnel and extensive projects.

The new policy would require “a clear financial picture of the proposed use of the gift or grant :” and “a definite understanding with the regard to the use of the gift, including whether it is intended for the use of one particular school or for all schools in the district and a timeline for using the gift or grant.”

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The School Board also reserves the right to accept or decline any grant. That allows the School Board to control the funding provided by outside sources and predict the impact to the budget in future years.

The issue became concrete this year when several school district employee positions, including English Language Learner and Gifted and Talented teachers, were not renewed by the Fund Board. The School Board must determine whether it wants to continue funding those positions by redirecting money from other areas or cutting the positions entirely.

Calendar

The board also will consider a revised school calendar for the 2009-10 school year as proposed by Superintendent Shalee Cunningham at the last meeting.

Although originally suggesting the school year begin Aug. 31 and extend until June 11, Cunningham responded to concerns from parents who spoke at the meeting that the school district would continue too long into June. The new calendar would shorten the traditionally weeklong Blues Break to become a four-day weekend.

The proposal would instead start the school year Aug. 24 and extend until June 4. Teachers would report Aug. 17 and leave June 7, with a total of 12 staff workdays and 173 student days in the calendar.

The board at the last meeting approved the start and end dates for the calendar but postponed the approval of the full calendar until this meeting.

– To reach Zach Fridell, call 871-4208 or e-mail zfridell@steamboatpilot.com

If you go

What: Meeting of the Steamboat Springs School Board

When: 7 tonight

Where: Centennial Hall, 124 10th Street

Agenda

6 p.m. Executive session – negotiations regarding Steamboat 700, personnel policy and negotiations, discussion regarding lawsuit with Steamboat Pilot & Today

7 p.m. Community comments

7:15 p.m. Monthly financial report

7:25 p.m. Consent agenda items: acceptance of gift letter

7:35 p.m. Action items: possible action regarding lawsuit with the Pilot & Today, approval of 2009-10 school year calendar, request for sabbatical leave, adoption of resolution regarding employee safety and incident management training, gift acceptance policy

7:50 p.m. Board member comments and update

8:05 p.m. Adjourn