Steamboat Education Fund Board ups grant funding to local schools by 18 percent | SteamboatToday.com
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Steamboat Education Fund Board ups grant funding to local schools by 18 percent

The Steamboat Springs Education Fund is a nonprofit, independent corporation that administers the proceeds of the half-cent municipal sales tax for local public schools. The sales tax was originally approved by Steamboat voters in 1993 to fund “public K-12 educational purposes.”

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – The Steamboat Springs Education Fund Board voted unanimously May 2 to increase the grants  it awards to school districts around the county by 18 percent for the 2018-2019 school year.

The grants, which will total $4.15 million in the coming year, have been made possible for 25 years by the willingness of voters in Steamboat to approve and renew a half-cent sales tax devoted to education. The tax is not collected by the Steamboat Springs School District but managed by the autonomous fund board.

“Thanks to increased sales and use tax revenues from Steamboat Springs, each school district in Routt County saw a double-digit increase in funds granted,” fund board member Jeanne Mackowski said.



And if there was a conclusion to be made from the funding requests from the Hayden, Steamboat Springs and South Routt County schools, it’s that the districts need more revenue to keep up with technology — hardware, networks and software.

Education Fund Board Treasurer Cristina Magill, who also  represents the board on its grant commission, said the 11 members of that recommending body reached an epiphany part way through their month-long evaluation of grant requests.



The Steamboat Springs School District was asking for $130,000 to increase its technology staff, double what it asked and received for 2017-18.

“We did our first reading in February,” Magill said, “and we cut it back to last year’s level ($65,000). We had two months to think about it before (the final reading) in April, and one of the items that came up with Steamboat was that, the first time around, we did not fully fund the tech staff position.

“We realized that to get the most out of our devices, we need staff to teach and trouble shoot,” Magill explained. “Really, in today’s world, the way our children are receiving their educations is so different from what (today’s adults experienced). We took a pencil and paper to a state test, and now, it’s all done on computer. It’s a very different way of taking a test.”

When the members of the grant commission reconsidered that technology staff is needed to ensure the school district gets the most out of its investments in technology, Magill said, they  restored the staff funding in Steamboat. And the Hayden and South Routt school districts’ funding requests were weighted heavily on technology needs as well.

The Hayden schools were awarded a total of $199,762 in grants, and of that, $165,762 went to its technology budget. The total  was up 18 percent over last year.

In the South Routt County school district, $96,800 of its $178,800 in grants went to tech hardware and its network. This year’s grant total was up 17 percent from last year.

The Steamboat Springs School District was awarded $3,295,596, up 17 percent from $2,816,500 in 2017-18. 

Mountain Village Montessori was awarded $145,000 in grant funding.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1.


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