School board will reserve space on November 2016 ballot
Steamboat Springs — The Steamboat Springs Board of Education will reserve a space on this November’s ballot, but the group will hold another meeting before deciding what the ballot initiative might pay for.
The board met Wednesday to discuss and vote on whether to reserve a place on the ballot for a mill levy override to fund full-day kindergarten but instead opted to approve a more vague motion proposed by board member Roger Good.
Good said the district might want to consider a general operational mill levy, rather than a mill levy that can only be used for kindergarten, a move Good felt would give the district more discretion with its spending.
“I’m still fundamentally more in favor of mill levy overrides that gives the superintendent and the board the opportunity to make decisions,” Good said.
Board member Michelle Dover said she believed the community would be more supportive of a specific mill levy for a specific purpose, which would allow for better accountability with the community.
Good proposed that the board hold a workshop with fellow stakeholders, including members of the Community Committee for Education, or CC4E, and the Education Fund Board.
CC4E is working toward a possible ballot measure in 2017, and the Education Fund’s half-cent sales tax expires in 2019, meaning that group might ask voters to the renew the tax as early as next year.
The board Wednesday held a thoughtful discussion on the pros and cons of proposing a ballot measure to fund all-day kindergarten or anything else this year, versus waiting to include kindergarten in a larger ballot question next year or as part of a phased-in series of ballot initiatives once CC4E has made recommendations.
“We’re basically making a calculation of what is the threshold of pain for property owners,” said board member Joey Andrew.
Despite widespread support for early childhood education, Andrew questioned who in the community would drive an initiative for all-day kindergarten, considering many community members are busy with other commitments, including those serving on CC4E.
“Does the community have enough bandwidth of people who aren’t tied up with other committees that are going right now to run and push and drive an initiative like this?” Andrew asked.
The board plans to hold a workshop at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 1 to discuss with various stakeholder groups whether to move forward with a ballot initiative this year.
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It is going to be a hot week in Steamboat Springs.