Education Fund Board Grant Commission to vet requests Wednesday night |

Education Fund Board Grant Commission to vet requests Wednesday night

Scott Franz

2014-15 Fund Board grant requests

Steamboat School District: $2.84 million

Hayden School District: $187,284

South Routt School District: $221,220

Collaborative (grant writer, innovation grants):$130,000

Administrative expenses: $30,000

Total: $3.48 million

Approved education group funding

Yampatika Environmental literacy: $15,000

Rocky Mountain Youth Corp Science School: $20,000

Partners in Routt County Middle School Mentors: $35,000

Steamboat Springs Ensemble: $5,000

— A group of volunteers Wednesday night will start to embark on the always tough task of weighing millions of dollars worth of grant requests from Routt County’s three school districts.

The Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board received $3.5 million in requests this funding cycle and will have to trim that down by nearly $700,000 to meet its budget of $2.8 million.

Community members who want to hear more about all of the requests from the three districts would benefit from attending the meeting of the Fund Board’s Grant Commission, which starts at 6 p.m. at the George P. Sauer Human Services Center, 325 Seventh St.

Many of the requests are being driven by all three districts’ needs for new technology, especially computers needed to facilitate the upcoming transition to digital testing on the state’s standardized test.

Fund Board President Kristi Brown said the technology grants would have other benefits, as well.

“The majority, if not all, of the technology being requested is going to be utilized by students outside of the testing period,” Brown said.

“These are computer terminals and network upgrades that the districts will be using on a daily basis,” she said.

The Grant Commission has two meetings to vet the grant requests before narrowing down the list and sending it to the Fund Board for a first reading April 9.

After that, the requests will be up for a second and final reading in May.

Brown said the Fund Board this year is starting to see some of the benefits from the procedural changes it has made in recent years.

The changes were aimed at making the process more efficient without losing the valuable debates and discussions about what the districts were requesting.

Brown said the applications from the districts are more detailed than they have been in the past and filled with more data, meaning less time is spent at meetings requesting more information.

The Fund Board also already has approved $75,000 worth of funding for education-oriented community groups, a move that prevents the competitive process that was seen in previous years when the groups were competing for dollars with the school districts late in the spring.

Also, the Steamboat Springs School District was better able to prioritize its grants knowing that it will receive a minimum of $2.05 million in funding next school year.

It marks the second time the Fund Board has set a minimum level of funding for the district.

“We feel confident that based on the applications they sent in, there are more than enough worthy requests to get to that $2.05 million,” Brown said, adding that the baseline was set after applications were turned in.

The $2.8 million is the highest funding amount in recent years the Fund Board has had to award from the half cent sales tax for education.

It awarded $2.6 million last year, and $2.5 million in 2012.

For a full list of grant requests, visit the grants page.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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