Thank you for investing in the future of education
The holidays are upon us, and in this challenging and uncertain year, it is a time to reflect and be grateful we live in such an amazing community. Today, we want to say thank you for your support of our local schools.
Just two years ago, Steamboat Springs voters approved the renewal of the half-cent sales tax and a 25-year commitment to invest in the future of education. Since 1993, Steamboat Springs Education Fund has granted more than $67 million to public schools in Routt County. As a result of your generosity, we’ve been fortunate to award these funds directly to school districts to support teachers, technology and programming.
We want you to know we take our responsibility to be stewards of these funds seriously. We are a volunteer-run organization contracted by the city of Steamboat to grant the funds and ensure that your tax dollars are spent productively and effectively through a robust, transparent accountability process.
This year, we reduced our grant budget by $1 million, a decrease of more than 25% from the previous year due to COVID-19 and its anticipated impact on sales tax revenue. Despite these reductions, we granted $2.8 million to public schools in Routt County while providing more flexibility for districts to use the money where it is needed most. For Steamboat Springs School District, that represents 10% of the teaching staff.
Support for technology in our schools has been instrumental to community connectivity and tech literacy and has better prepared us for a time of hybrid, asynchronous and distance learning. Funding for programming in our schools has supported increased mental health services and enhanced professional development for teachers.
The fund also supports critical school-based community programming through our community grants. This year, the focus of community grants was to help reduce inequity and equip at-risk students to meet high standards of success. Community nonprofit groups included Partners in Routt County’s school-based mentoring program, Integrated Community and Northwest Colorado Health youth resiliency.
A collaborative grant also funded a grant writer for Steamboat, South Routt and Hayden school districts. The grant writer typically secures over $2 million per year in additional funds for the school districts. While the board voted to give the school districts additional flexibility on how they spend the grants, we continue to require districts to provide detailed accountability reports at the end of the school year.
Finally, we want to thank our incredible teachers, staff, administrators and substitute teachers for your efforts to provide a quality educational experience under challenging circumstances. Your work executing the intent of the funds is critical to the success of our students.
Thank you, Steamboat, for investing in the future of education for our students.
Sam Jones, Jeanne Mackowski, Cristina Magill, Norbert Turek, Kandise Gilbertson, Jon Wade, Jill Brabec, Adam Alspach, Julie Tourigny, Jim Beers
Steamboat Springs Education Fund board members
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