Board of Education stalls on kindergarten mill levy decision |

Board of Education stalls on kindergarten mill levy decision

Teacher Carol Harris works with kindergarten students on an art project in 2013.

— Steamboat Springs Board of Education members were unable to agree Aug. 15 on whether to pursue a mill levy override to fund free all-day kindergarten.

After a lengthy discussion on whether the district should move forward with the ballot initiative this year, the group decided to table the issue and call a special meeting to resume discussions Aug. 23.

“I really hoped that we would not be split on so many votes,” said Margie Huron, board president. “I’m disappointed.”

Following a familiar pattern of disagreement , veteran board members Joey Andrew and Roger Good leaned one way, speaking in opposition of the mill levy override, while newer board members Sam Rush, Michelle Dover and Huron leaned the opposite direction, speaking in support.

Andrew repeated his earlier concerns about whether asking voters to approve a mill levy this year would affect the work of the Community Committee for Education, which may recommend a bond measure next year. He also expressed concern about who would run the campaign for a kindergarten mill levy.

“I can’t support it at this time,” Andrew said.

Good said he wanted assurance on whether the Education Fund could be the long-term funding source for all-day kindergarten.

“The reason the Fund Board exists is to fund things not financed by the state finance formula,” Good said.

The Education Fund in 2015 used a portion of the city’s half-cent sales tax proceeds to fund a district request to help pay for all-day kindergarten.

District leaders this spring again asked the Education Fund to help pay for all-day kindergarten but later — at the direction of the school board — amended the request to ask for items other than kindergarten.

Dover and Huron said Monday they believed the Education Fund Board was not interested in the fund being a long-term funding source for kindergarten.

“Just kicking this back into their arena I don’t think would work very well,” Huron said.

Dover implored the board to come together unanimously to support the proposed mill levy.

“This is the right thing to do for our community,” Dover said.

Ultimately, Good suggested the board hold a special meeting to discuss the mill levy with the Education Fund Board before voting on whether to put the levy on the ballot this year.

The group agreed to table the issue and invite members of both the Education Fund Board and the Community Committee for Education to a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 23.

The board must decide whether to move forward with the mill levy override by Aug. 31.

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

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