Letter: SSSD Board of Education looks to future | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: SSSD Board of Education looks to future

There are many great places to live in Colorado, but it is rare to find a community that has so much to offer — exceptional quality of life, mountain activities at your doorstep, and schools that rank among the very best in the state.

Steamboat is that community. We, your board of education, are proud to be the ones ensuring that Steamboat's students receive the best education for the tax dollars spent.

In recent years, school funding in Colorado has become more and more challenging.

  • Steamboat Springs School District has consistently secured its place among the top school districts in the state academically;
  • We rank in the bottom quartile for Colorado Department of Education per pupil funding — 134 out of 178 school districts in the state;
  • Since 2009, our district has been shorted $19 million to the state's budget stabilization factor (formerly known as the negative factor)

Within the next several years, our schools will require a significant investment from taxpayers to keep pace with Steamboat's population growth and to set the pace for learning environments that support the skills and experiences required for our students to compete in the global economy.

The board feels strongly that the district should take more time to work with our educators and valued community groups, such as CC4E. We need to continue the research and engagement necessary to advance long-term, comprehensive infrastructure planning, as well as address programming, enrollment and facility issues tied to the district's strategic plan.

What is prudent today is a practical approach to critical projects that just cannot wait, one that is driven by four core values: safety, student success, transparency, and longevity. On Aug. 28, 2017, the Steamboat Springs School District Board of Education unanimously voted to approve a ballot question that will appear before voters on Nov. 7.

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This November, voters in our community will consider a seven-year $12.9 million bond to fund the three major and most costly capital improvement projects: roof replacements in five facilities; installation of a comprehensive heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system in Steamboat Springs Middle School; and the restoration of Gardner Field as a classroom, athletic facility, and central community gathering point.

Additionally, a $1 million ongoing capital construction mill levy (the fixed mill will generate $1 million in year one; the funding in future years will fluctuate based on the assessed value), if funded, will be a permanent source of funding that will allow the district to promptly address capital construction maintenance projects.

The board acknowledges and respects the variety of views on infrastructure improvements and plans that have been formally and informally expressed to us by members of the community over the past 18 months.

We especially want to thank CC4E, which has been an ever-present, dedicated and independent voice in raising awareness within the community on the issues and challenges faced by the district. It has presented thoughtful solutions and recommendations, some of which are reflected in the November 2017 proposal, while others will be carefully considered as part of the next phase of planning.

We look forward to continuing our collaboration with the community around long-term solutions and strategies for the school district's infrastructure that, beyond bridging critical gaps, will serve the needs of Steamboat's students far into the future.


Steamboat Springs School District Board of Education