Voters deliver ‘very good night’ for Steamboat schools
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs School District and the Board of Education received a much-needed vote of confidence from their voters Nov. 7 with the passage of two ballot measures devoted to putting the district back on solid financial footing when it comes to taking care of what it already has.
“It’s a very good night,” Board of Education member Margaret Huron said. “I’m very happy this community has chosen to support those initiatives. I think the voters appreciate that we’re taking a very measured approach to move forward with the issue of the school district.”
Board of Education President Joey Andrew agreed.
“I’ll admit, I’m emotional about it,” Andrew said. “I’m very excited for it. But it also means we’ve got more work to do.”
It was just two years ago, in 2015, that district voters rejected a $93 million bond issue intended to build new schools and tackle the same maintenance issues addressed in the 2017 bond issue by a 79 percent margin.
Yet, Referendum 3D, which allows the district to take on $12.9 million in bonded indebtedness to replace five roofs and more, passed comfortably with 63 percent of the vote.
It was a similar story with Referendum 3C, an ongoing mill levy that is expected to raise $1 million in the first year alone toward creating a stable fund for ongoing maintenance of the district’s facilities. It passed by a slightly smaller margin.
“The ongoing mill levy will allow us to promptly address deferred maintenance and future capital construction maintenance projects going forward,” Superintendent Brad Meeks said in a written statement.
Andrew said the Board of Eduction already has a future agenda item to begin assembling a citizens committee to advise the school district on how best to spend the proceeds of the mill levy in caring for the district’s assets in the future.
And there is little doubt in the minds of school officials that this is just the beginning of upgrading the district’s facilities.
Meeks wrote that the district hopes to build on the current momentum by forming several advisory committees to “tackle looming issues like growing enrollment, overcrowding, larger class sizes and a lack of space for specials like art, music, physical education and athletics.”
“I think the voters think that schools create community, and the community creates the schools,” Board of Education member Michelle Dover said.
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