Districts to make funding requests to Educational Excellence Commission | SteamboatToday.com

Districts to make funding requests to Educational Excellence Commission

Jack Weinstein

— Tonight's Educational Exce­llence Commission meeting is the first step for Routt County school districts and local community groups to receive funding from the Education Fund Board.

The Steamboat Springs, Hayden and South Routt school districts and other community groups presented an overview of their funding requests last week to the Fund Board, which allocates revenues from the city's half-cent sales tax for education. Those same districts and groups will make their formal requests to the Fund Board's Educational Excellence Commission at 5:30 p.m. today at the George P. Sauer Human Services Center on Seventh Street.

The Fund Board's Tech­nology/Capital Com­mission will hear requests for funding Jan. 21.

Both commissions will evaluate each request before determining which ones to recommend for full funding from the Fund Board. The volunteer Fund Board ultimately approves and disburses the funding for the individual requests.

At last week's meeting, the Fund Board set a preliminary budget of $2.3 million based on projected revenue from the half-cent sales tax. Of that total, about $110,000 will pay for a school district grants writer and Fund Board administrative costs.

Fund Board President Mark Andersen last week stressed that the preliminary budget was set merely to provide each commission with an idea of how much they'll be able to gift. He said the budget could change by the time it's approved in March based on updated sales tax projections.

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The approximately $2.2 million will be divided between the two commissions, with 57 percent going to Educational Excellence and 43 percent going to Technology/Capital based on the ratio of requests.

The allocation set by the Fund Board allows the Educational Excellence Commission to gift about $1.25 million. The initial requests from the three Routt County public school districts and various community groups total more than $1.5 million in Educational Excellence funding. That includes $1.4 million from Steamboat, $47,346 from Hayden, $32,346 from South Routt and a combined $87,500 from Yampatika, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Partners in Routt County and 5th Quarter.

Steamboat Springs Super­intendent Shalee Cunni­ngham said at last week's meeting that Educational Excellence requests were the district's first priority because they fund programs and services that are closest to the classroom.

The Steamboat Springs School District's largest request was $800,000 to keep class sizes small. Another requests was professional development for staff. Others included English Language Learner teachers, Spanish teachers and gifted and talented teachers.

Hayden and South Rou­tt's requests were primarily to the Technology/Capital Commi­ssion.

Hayden's Educational Exc­ellence Commission requests are for a para-educator intervention specialist for the middle school and to upgrade the high school's auditorium. South Routt's requests include training for teachers in a reading program and stipends for teachers to work on curriculum alignment and review during the summer.

Each district has said some of their requests could be reduced by the time they're presented to the commissions.

At last week's meeting, the Fund Board told each commission to prioritize their recommendations, which they will make in February.

If you go

What: Educational Excellence Commission meeting

When: 6:30 p.m. today

Where: Downstairs conference room of the George P. Sauer Human Services Center on Seventh Street

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