Gift for the gifted students?

Board to hear committee update about $100,000 proposal

— With all the balls it has up in the air, the Steamboat Springs School Board might need juggling lessons.

At its second study session of the month tonight, the board is scheduled to continue discussions about how to best meet the needs of the school district's long-term Strategic Plan and how to better attract and retain quality school staff. The board also will hear an update from the district's Gifted and Talented Committee -- which includes four teachers -- in the context of a proposed $100,000 gift from the Education Fund Board that would pay for two full-time teachers who would split their time among all four district schools.

Meanwhile, the board is working to create a plan to improve aging district facilities, discussing a proposed $950,000 Fund Board gift for an addition to Steamboat Springs Middle School and reviewing the $3.3 million 2006-07 Fund Board spending budget approved by that board March 1.

The School Board decided to schedule two study sessions this month to get a handle on the heavy workload.

The board cannot take action on any items until its regular meeting March 27.

The middle school addition, which would add nearly 4,000 square feet of office space to the front of the school along with a heated walkway and renovated entrance, is the only proposed Fund Board allocation that has been approved by the Fund Board.

The addition may not be on the School Board agenda March 27. At its meeting March 6, the School Board reached no initial conclusion about the addition after several board members, including president Tom Miller-Freutel, questioned whether the addition is the best use for such a large sum of money.

Rick Denney, director of facilities for the district, said improvements need to be made at the middle school regardless of the funding source.

"If we don't do this administrative area improvement in front of Steamboat Springs Middle School, I'll be coming to you later on for money from the (district's) Capital Reserve Fund," Denney told the board last week. "I don't think that's the best way to spend that money when this (Fund Board) gift is here."

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