Fund Board reviews budget process
Stress has been an often-recited complaint within the ranks of the Education Fund Board lately.
Used to describe the residual effect of long meetings earlier this year during the Fund Board’s revised budgeting process, headaches are something most of the members want to avoid when that process rolls around again this winter.
Most of the Fund Board’s Wednesday night meeting was spent reviewing the budgeting process that annually allocates about $2 million from Steamboat Springs’ half-cent sales tax to public school programs and projects. The process underwent a revision last year in an attempt to give the Fund Board more knowledge and control over the funding requests that each of its three commissions — Technology, Capital and Educational Excellence — bring to it.
While most of the Fund Board’s members agree those goals of the new process were accomplished, opinions differed over how and if the process should be refined for future budgeting cycles.
The new process, which mandates that each commission bring forth its funding requests for first and second readings to the Fund Board before funds are granted, is better than the previous one, in which an equal percentage of sales tax revenue was given to two commissions, Norm Weaver said. But a better process would involve less micromanaging.
“It seems to me there was a lot of brain damage to get to the end result last year,” Weaver said.
Fund Board member Pat Gleason, who is also a member of the Board of Education, said the process could use improvement, but she disagreed with Weaver’s assertion that the Fund Board was micromanaging or overanalyzing.
“It may be a lot of work, but it’s good management,” Gleason said. “For the first time, I think there was enough time put in the process where the Fund Board could sit down and establish some priorities.”
Robin Crossan agreed.
“I went home brain dead every night,” she said. “But I would repeat it again and again to make sure we’re doing the right things for this district.”
Some Fund Board members questioned what they believe have become institutionalized expenses, particularly the salaries of the district’s technology and content standards staff. That some of those expenses should be paid for by the school district to free up Fund Board revenue for other purposes was a possibility raised by several Fund Board members.
Re-evaluating Fund Board priorities also was addressed at Wednesday’s meeting. Superintendent Donna Howell said revisiting district priorities with the community — which is one of her goals as the district’s new leader — should connect with what the community feels the priorities of the Fund Board should be.
The Fund Board will continue to discuss possible revisions to its budgeting process; a task force was formed to help draft process recommendations.
— To reach Brent Boyer call 871-4234
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