Tom Sharp: What happened to the Education Fund Board’s Capital Commission?
October 10, 2017
To supplement the excellent letter to the editor from my good friend Jim Gill, which appeared in the Steamboat Today on Wednesday, Sept. 27, I was also a member of the Steamboat Springs School Board and the Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board from 1999 through 2003.
At the beginning of that four-year term, the Education Fund Board had two operating commissions, consisting of community volunteers who met and provided recommendations to the fund board for uses and expenditures of money received by the fund board from the city's half-cent sales tax referred to by Jim Gill.
One was called the Educational Excellence Commission, designed to fund certain teacher salaries and benefits in order to keep low class sizes, i.e. a low student-teacher ratio in our schools.
The other commission was called the Technology Commission, whose objectives were the purchase and acquisition of new computers and high-tech equipment and software so that the school district could stay ahead of the fast changes in the high-tech world in which we live.
Early on in my tenure on the school board and fund board, several of us pushed for the creation of a third commission under the fund board, a Capital Commission, whose mission was to receive a portion of the half-cent sales tax proceeds and provide recommendations and funding to the school board for improvement and maintenance of the physical plant and buildings and properties of the district.
This third commission was in fact created, members were appointed, and it began to operate. I still have a copy of the agenda for a January 2002 fund board meeting at which the Capital Commission was recommending expenditure of half-cent sales tax receipts for architectural work on an expansion at the middle school, for gym/cafeteria separation at the Strawberry Park Elementary School and for study of mechanical air exchange systems.
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Shortly, after I left the school board at the end of my term, half-cent sales tax funds in the Capital Commission were used by the school board to enlarge and improve the middle school building.
The long-term financial plan for the Capital Commission as recorded on March 6, 2002, called for the commission to receive 23 percent of Education Fund Board budgets on a going-forward basis. The Capital Commission funding was to be extended through 2009 and included a projected expenditure of $450,000 to purchase North Routt land in 2006.
Several years after finishing my term on the school board, I inquired of a new board member about the Capital Commission. She said she knew nothing about it. It didn't exist. The fund board only had two commissions.
I do not know whatever happened to the Capital Commission and its mission to receive 23 percent of funding from the half-cent sales tax proceeds for the capital needs of the district. I am guessing that the commission was disbanded by the fund board or the school board, and the future half-cent sales tax proceeds then divided only between the Educational Excellence Commission and the Technology Commission.
I wonder, if the Capital Commission had been retained and 23 percent of the half-cent sales tax revenues from 2002 to the present time had been allocated to that commission, whether the current district capital need for building maintenance, upgrade and repair could have been paid for out of that commission's allocations, instead of a future bond issue.
Steamboat Springs School Board and Education Fund Board, 1999 to 2003