Grant applications due Monday for Steamboat’s half-cent sales tax money |

Grant applications due Monday for Steamboat’s half-cent sales tax money

Steamboat Springs High School student Jacob Taulman uses a small tractor while working on a new outdoor stage and learning area behind the Steamboat Springs High School last May. The project was funded, in part, by a grant from the Education Fund.
Courtesy Photo

— Routt County school employees have just a few days to put the finishing touches on Education Fund grant applications for innovative ideas to improve the educational experience.

Innovation grants, paid for through the city’s half-cent sales tax for education, are due to the Education Fund Monday, along with community group and school district grant applications.

The Education Fund Board is estimating it will allocate $169,000 to fund community groups and innovation grants this cycle, about 5 percent of the Education Fund’s estimated available granting money for the year.

Education Fund Board President Sam Jones said he was looking forward to innovation grant applications that think outside the box and show creativity.

“We want people to take a risk,” Jones said.

Innovation grants awarded last year included funding for a student-designed mobile science lab in the Hayden School District and 3D visualization equipment for Steamboat Springs Middle School, which allows students to visualize a geometry equation in 3D.

“It had a novelty factor that I think was pretty big,” Jones said.

Another innovation grant helped fund an outdoor stage and classroom at Steamboat Springs High School — a project that brought together students in English, construction and art classes, among others.

Jones and Education Fund Board member Jeanne Mackowski said the board is hoping to encourage more teachers and school employees to apply for the funds, which can be used for any innovative classroom project, large or small.

The board has discussed rewarding the initiative of teachers who apply for the grant with some type of innovator of the year designation that could include bonus funding for the teacher to spend on professional development or another use.

Jones said it takes a lot of personal initiative to think creatively and apply for the grants, and educators should be recognized for that.

After grant applications are submitted next week, the Education Fund Board and Grants Commission will vet the requests over the spring and make final award determinations in early May.

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

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