Steamboat and South Routt school districts ending finance MOU | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat and South Routt school districts ending finance MOU

Strawberry Park Elementary students wave from a school bus in 2013. The Steamboat Springs and South Routt school districts are ending a memorandum of understanding that allowed South Routt to receive finance services from Steamboat.

— The South Routt and Steamboat Springs school districts have decided to end a memorandum of understanding which included the sharing of a finance director.

The two districts entered in what originally was meant to be a temporary agreement in August 2013, following the departure of South Routt's finance manager at the time.

The MOU currently allows the South Routt School District to contract with Steamboat for payroll, accounting, finance, budgeting, auditing and state financial reporting services, as well as reporting of district data to the state. A part-time office administration employee in South Routt is also paid for through the MOU.

Steamboat Springs School District Finance Director Mark Rydberg has been serving as finance director for both districts since he was hired during the summer and said the MOU isn't proving to be beneficial to either district anymore.

"For both districts' finances, we're doing just the bare minimum and we're not really getting in-depth financial analysis," Rydberg said. "It's hindered both organizations."

South Routt Board of Education members discussed in February whether they supported ending the MOU and acknowledged that they would lose some expertise, which board members felt they had with Rydberg.

Recommended Stories For You

"I think it's obvious we're going to be giving up a lot of expertise," said board member Jamie Hoff in February.

Rydberg said that having a full-time finance manager dedicated to South Routt would be a benefit to that district and allow him to focus more attention on Steamboat's finances.

"This is going to be a win-win for both districts," Rydberg said. "The service, ability of in-depth workflow and knowledge base is going to be improved for both districts."

South Routt Board of Education members last week voted to move forward with ending the MOU and have posted a job opening for a finance/business manager.

The office administration employee position will continue, with South Routt absorbing the salary costs from Steamboat.

The finance manager job posting is open until filled and the start date is negotiable, although it is desired that the new employee start in April.

Rydberg said he intended to help with the transition for South Routt, and would offer support for a full year as certain school district finance practices are performed only on an annual basis.

"We'll make sure the transition is smoother than when it was installed," Rydberg said.

The finance MOU is separate from a technology MOU between the two districts, which will remain in place.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow