South Routt voters vote to renew tax for school funding
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The South Routt School District has been granted permission to extend an existing mill levy that was scheduled to expire in December 2021 with the passage of ballot measure 5A on Tuesday. Taxpayers will not see an increase in taxes, rather a continuation of an existing tax.
“We wanted to take an opportunity that would not raise taxes,” said Rim Watson, South Routt School District superintendent.
The funding will be divided to support technology, transportation, infrastructure and teachers salaries between the three schools in the district.
About $800,000 is collected annually from the tax, Watson said. The revenue will be used to pay off construction bonds and “properly fund the ongoing maintenance of district facilities and continue a proper replacement cycle of the transportation fleet to improve safety and enhance reliability; and properly fund computer and technology access for all district students.”
Watson said the district’s school buses particularly need an upgrade, as the newest bus was purchased in 2009 and has 200,000 miles on it.
“These needs are pretty important,” said Ciara Bartholomew, the school district’s business finance manager.
In addition to new buses, the fund will support buying computers for each student, which Bartholomew said is necessary to prepare students for the modern world and compete with other school districts.
“In the world that we’re in, providing computers for all of our students and staff is paramount,” she said. “In the digital age, computers are not going to go away, so in setting our kids up for success, we need to make sure that our students have that competency.”
About $200,000 of the revenue will support staff salaries, which Watson said is important to compete with neighboring districts and retain quality staff.
“We want to retain the incredible staff that we have and keep our salary schedule more competitive,” he said.
Residents will continue to pay $9.11 per year per $100,000 of assessed valuation under the existing mill levy. The tax was originally approved by voters in 2000 and refinanced to a lower amount in 2014 due to lower interest rate.
To reach Alison Berg, call 970-871-4229 or email aberg@SteamboatPilot.com.
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