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Campaign finance reports reveal top donors for Steamboat school bond campaigns

Top donors

Yes 2 Steamboat Schools:

$1,500 Michael Morris

$1,017.77 Scott Bideau, primarily in-kind software services

$1,000 Colorado Education Association

$1,000 John Moyer

$750 Mark Rydberg, district finance director

$500 Haselden Construction

Citizens for a Better Plan:

$5,000 Sara Craig-Scheckman

$1,000 Boyes Rental Account

$750 Susan Robinson

$750 Neville Living Trust

$500 Nelson Building

$500 Richard Trabulsi

— A $5,000 donation from philanthropist Sara Craig-Scheckman to the anti-school bond group, Citizens for a Better Plan, dwarfs all other donations made to that group or the pro-bond group, Yes 2 Steamboat Schools, according to campaign finance reports due Tuesday.

Craig-Scheckman’s donation was among 18 contributions totaling roughly $9,700 received by the group as of Oct. 8. Other significant donations to Citizens for a Better Plan included $1,000 from Boyes Rental Account and $750 each from Susan Robinson and Neville Living Trust.

Craig-Scheckman said she and her husband and their foundation support schools across the county and don’t feel the plan fully considered all Routt County schools.



“We fully understand that the Steamboat Springs School District needs to consider future facility and space issues, however, the current plan doesn’t thoughtfully consider the full breadth of issues and concerns that will impact the entire county,” she said.

The Yes 2 Steamboat Schools group gathered less than its counterpart but attracted more individual donors, collecting $7,000 from 24 donors through Oct. 8.



The largest donations to the group were $1,500 from Michael Morris, a parent and owner of Talon Grips, $1,017 of in-kind software service donations from Scott Bideau, co-chair of the group and a Steamboat Springs School Board member, and $1,000 each from the Colorado Education Association, a statewide school labor union, and John Moyer.

The group also received donations from a handful of district administrators and school board members.

Expenses for the two groups were difficult to compare, as most were not included in the report submitted by Citizens for a Better Plan because they were charged on a credit card and paid off Oct. 9, according to filing agent Mary Darcy.

Citizens for a Better Plan’s report only included expenses totaling $2,100, all for postage fees.

Darcy said Wednesday the group used a credit card to purchase more than $6,000 of advertising with the Steamboat Pilot & Today and about $800 for yard signs. She said the group was generally spending down the money as it received it, although members did plan to keep the group going if the bond fails.

Yes 2 Steamboat Schools reported $6,721 in expenses, with the largest amounts being $3,020 for newspaper advertising, $1,300 for printing and postage, $840 for radio broadcasting and advertisements and $800 for door hangers.

The group also disclosed costs for yard signs and banners and a fee to open a post office box.

School board candidate finance

The five candidates for the Steamboat Springs School District’s three open, four-year seats also turned in campaign finance reports, revealing large disparities in both amounts raised and expenses.

Candidate Anne Lowe received $200 from two donors and contributed $1,500 of her own money to her campaign; however, she spent $2,555, likely meaning she contributed more of her own money or received a donation after the Oct. 8 deadline, but spent the money prior. Lowe’s largest expenses were $1,062 for advertising signs and $1,258 for online and print ads with the Steamboat Today.

Candidate Michelle Dover received $2,310 in contributions, boosted by a $1,750 donation from a group of local teachers given via a CEA small donor committee, and $400 in individual donations from six school district teachers. Dover spent $1,250 to hire a campaign manager and $250 on a newspaper advertisement.

Candidate Margaret Huron received $1,950 in contributions, largely from a $1,750 donation from local teachers via CEA and $200 from herself. She’s spent just $540 on yard signs, a newspaper advertisement and website fee.

Candidate Lindsay Wert took in $1,150, including $500 from himself, $400 from Albert Dowden and $200 from Bideau. He’s spent most of the money on $825 in digital and print newspaper advertising and $465 in yard signs.

Lastly, candidate Joey Andrew contributed $300 of his own money to buy campaign signs and an ad in the Steamboat Today. He also recycled 15 campaign signs from his last campaign.

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


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