Steamboat Springs School District updating budget after mill levy passage |

Steamboat Springs School District updating budget after mill levy passage

Jordyn Lottes smiles at a classmate while the Soda Creek kindergarten class sings a song during the school's end-of-year talent show in June 2015.

— The Steamboat Springs School District is making quick work of updating its budget following the narrow passage of a mill levy to fund full-day kindergarten.

Final election results show that 5,429 residents, or 51.8 percent, voted in favor of the mill levy, compared to 5,050, or 48.2 percent opposed.

District administrators Monday will present the school board with a summary document breaking down how the budget will change thanks to the estimated $510,000 the district will collect during the current fiscal year as a result of the mill levy.

The district expects to collect the first year of the tax in spring 2017, so administrators have already stopped collecting tuition for the current year’s 163 full-day kindergarteners, and tuition, which was already paid, will be refunded to kindergarten families in December.

“There’s $115,000 in tuition we’re not going to collect,” said Director of Finance Mark Rydberg, explaining the budget changes Wednesday.

Among the biggest changes to the budget is the freeing up funds to add $245,000 to the district’s capital improvement allocation for the current year.

District administrators also hope to allocate $500,000 to the capital fund for the 2017-18 budget year and will then use money from the fund to knock off three items from the district’s list of capital needs, which include the purchase of a 72-passenger bus, a 14-passenger activity bus and updated door hardware across the district.

The door hardware will cost more than $350,000 and put the district in compliance with 2018 building codes.

“It will be better overall security for our buildings,” Rydberg said.

The new tax revenue will also allow the district to repurpose $78,000 in Colorado Department of Education READ Act funding, moving the money from helping to fund kindergarten to use for state-specified programs or tutoring services in other grades.

An additional $50,000 will be used to update district curriculum.

District administrators will continue to operate $160,000 in the red for the current year’s budget, not using the kindergarten money to reduce the amount of deficit spending approved by the school board earlier this year.

Superintendent Brad Meeks said discussions that took place around the mill levy involved a commitment to spending the freed-up budget dollars on capital improvement, not on balancing the budget for the current year, so he felt it was important to honor that plan.

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

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