A Message from Dr. Brad Meeks
February 7, 2018
Resolutions and goals are a major focus this time of year, and that's certainly true for the Steamboat Springs School District (SSSD). After last November's successful election, we announced our commitment to continue work on a long-term, comprehensive infrastructure plan. This process will further examine the potential of our existing facilities and the need for renovated or newly constructed facilities to maximize educational experiences for our students. A few months ago, we asked for volunteers to serve on citizen/staff Advisory Committees.
I am excited to share that our Advisory Committees met for the first time this week. Over the next 12 months, 32 people will work in four committees to:
•Identify opportunities to fund projects that strengthen and/or enhance the district's academic programs and provide the space needed for program implementation;
•Identify current and future extracurricular/co-curricular space needs and potential projects that increase community partnerships for the benefit of both students and the community;
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•Identify renovations, additions, and/or new construction that will require additional funding to support SSSD's projected capacity and programming needs for current and future students and staff; and
•Increase communication with community members—especially those who do not have a connection to the school district—with the goal of informing the community of the need for future public funding initiatives.
Building on the work of the Community Committee for Education (CC4E), the Advisory Committees' work will be influenced by feedback from the roughly 865 people who completed the district's perception survey in November 2017. Survey results were shared with the Board of Education this week, made available to the Advisory Committees as a resource, and are available here. More than 90% of parents and nearly 100% of staff say they would recommend that other parents send their children to our district. This is just one of the many data points that positively reflect the remarkable things happening in our schools.
While the survey results give us much to be proud of, they also give us much to focus on. Specifically, we noticed a significant perception gap between parents, employees, and community members in some key areas. For example, there were gaps regarding perceptions of whether SSSD provides good value for money in terms of tax dollars—only 66% of community members agreed or strongly agreed, whereas parents and employees agreed or strongly agreed at rates of 80% to 90%. This trend persisted in response to the question about supporting a larger bond/mill levy increase to fund the district in the future. Additionally, we saw numerous comments about the need to address teacher salaries in relation to the cost of living in our community.
These are all things that the Advisory Committees will tackle this year. On behalf of the school district, we want to thank the Committee members for volunteering their time to develop recommendations for long-term solutions and strategies that address academic programming, enrollment, and facility issues to serve the needs of our community's students far into the future. We look forward to updating you on their work.
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