Teacher, tech funding get final OK | SteamboatToday.com

Teacher, tech funding get final OK

Mike Lawrence

Now the real work begins.

The Steamboat Springs School Board accepted nearly $2 million in gifts from the city’s Education Fund Board on Monday night, a final step that ensures funding for several new or expanded academic programs scheduled to begin at district schools in September.

The gift acceptance is the culmination of months — and in some cases, years — of work to get approval and funding for the programs, which include an articulated foreign language curriculum that will coordinate language education for Steamboat students in kindergarten through middle school; expanded English as a Second Language classes and staff; new curriculum for gifted and talented students that is mandated by the state; and two new vocational classes, Medical Prep and Fundamentals of Design, at Steamboat Springs High School.

School district officials now have funding to hire at least six school staff members to implement the programs.

School Board member Pat Gleason recalled a time two years ago when he threatened to turn down Fund Board gifts for a language program that was not articulated.

“I’m very happy to accept this gift now that it is an articulated program,” Gleason said. “Where’s Bette when you need her?”

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Gleason said Bette Van Dahl, a parent of Steamboat students and a member of many school-related committees, was “instrumental” in creating the articulated program. Fund Board member Michael Loomis echoed the sentiment.

“Hats off to Bette Van Dahl and to all the parents and staff who made this program possible,” Loomis said.

Steamboat Springs Middle School Principal Tim Bishop said he hoped Monday’s acceptance of two full-time teachers for gifted and talented students was a sign of lasting support for programs Colorado requires.

“I think strong support for this (program) is essential in order to get very strong candidates for the positions,” Bishop said. “Hopefully it’s around for years to come.”

All Colorado school districts must have a process to identify gifted and talented students in place by June and have educational programming for those students prepared by August 2007.

Board members John DeVincentis and Jeff Troeger were absent from Monday’s meeting. DeVincentis has questioned hiring only two teachers to implement gifted and talented programs at four schools, saying they could be ineffective and place a burden on classroom teachers. School Board President Tom Miller-Freutel said DeVincentis was aware of Monday’s agenda and supported the gift acceptance.

The School Board can take action on items if three members are present, Miller-Freutel said.

The next School Board meeting is May 1.

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 871-4203 or e-mail mlawrence@steamboatpilot.com