Education Fund Board receives $2.75 million in grant requests |

Education Fund Board receives $2.75 million in grant requests

School districts seek funds to keep class sizes small, add new technology

Scott Franz

2013 EFB grant requests

Steamboat Springs School District: $2.2 million

Small class sizes: $1.2 million

Technology hardware: $408,700

Literacy coaches: $150,000

Network: $225,000

Professional development: $50,000

Software: $121,500

Technology training: $30,000

North Routt Community Charter School: $32,500

Expeditionary learning program: $32,500

Hayden: $249, 966

Tech support: $40,371

Software licensing: $12,463

Middle school interventions: $17,969

Auxiliary lab computers: $15,816

Auditorium upgrades: $79,824

Tablets: $83,523

South Routt: $188,970

Technology: $188,970

Collaborative: Grant writer ($80,000)

Total: $2.7 million

— The Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board soon will embark on its annual task of weighing millions of dollars in grant requests from Routt County’s three school districts.

And this year, the list of requests to fund new technology, bolster curriculum and keep class sizes smaller across the county using Steamboat’s half-cent sales tax for education totals $2.75 million.

“Our task will be to balance about $450,000 worth of requests,” Fund Board President Kristi Brown said Friday, adding that the board projects it will be able to dole out $2.3 million in grants for the 2013-14 school year.

The grant total is about $100,000 less than what was awarded for 2012-13 school year.

Fund Board members are filtering through all the applications so they can send questions to the applicants by the end of next week.

First readings of the applications will be considered April 10, with final approval expected May 8.

And there are a few notable changes to the four-month process the Fund Board uses to award the grants.

Brown said after some contentious meetings last year centered around how much money should be awarded to education-oriented community groups, the Fund Board this year hosted a meeting with Routt County school districts to determine a fair allocation amount for the groups.

The school districts also weighed in on what programs they would support to receive funding.

“The community groups are valuable, but up until now, they’ve been somewhat competitive against the grant requests the school districts have proposed,” Brown said.

She said the Fund Board decided to allocate $70,000 to the three community groups that applied for funding.

Yampatika, which runs an environmental literacy program in the school districts, was awarded $10,000, while the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps was awarded $20,000 to run its annual science camp and Partners in Routt County was awarded $40,000 to support its youth-based mentoring program.

Community group funding accounted for 3 percent of the the Fund Board’s grant allocations last school year.

This funding cycle, the Steamboat Springs School District is requesting $2.2 million in grants to fund such things as smaller class sizes, new technology hardware, literacy coaches, professional development for staff, new software and technology training for staff.

The North Routt Community Charter School is requesting $32,500 to support its expeditionary learning curriculum, while the Hayden School District is requesting $249,966 mostly for technology upgrades, South Routt is requesting $188,970 soley for new technology.

The largest grant request comes from the Steamboat Springs School District and totals $1.2 million. The grant would fund about 20 staff positions and aims to keep class sizes smaller in the district.

Brown said that grant request will be the subject of a March workshop with members of the Steamboat Springs School Board.

“It’s a lot of money, and it translates to a couple of students less per class,” she said about the grant request. “Is that a good use of the money? That will be the gist of the conversation. (Small class sizes) are something the community likes and part of what the half-cent sales tax has been used for. But we want to make sure we’re still using it the way the community wants it to be used. I’m not sure the community understands the price tag of such a small benefit. It will be an interesting conversation.”

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