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Community Committee for Education Summer Communication, July 20, 2016

Community Committee for Education - Summer Meetings Update - 2016

The Community Committee for Education (CC4E) is continuing its work throughout the summer. Meetings were held on June 14, June 28 and July 12. The primary focus of the summer sessions has been to finish compiling community comments collected in the spring and early summer, build Task Forces subcommittees to work on the topics identified in the community forums and to respond to actions of the school district and Board of Education.


On June 14, 2016 the committee formally adopted a timeline for the year leading up to the November 2017 election. The timeline was presented to the Steamboat Springs School District Board of Education on June 24, 2016. Click here to review the timeline.



Student Surveys and results from staff meetings at each school are being compiled and categorized. A meeting with the Rotary group will take place August 2. The goal is to have all comments updated and posted website in early August after the Rotary meeting. 


Committee members are still working towards holding a series of Educational Forums in the fall and identifying outside speakers for each topic. The first in the series will take place sometime in late September or early October and will focus on School Funding in Colorado and the tax laws related. The second forum will focus on Demographics including growth and projections in our school district and Routt County. 



The committee received 14 responses to the request for volunteers on the Task Force groups. The following Task Forces groups have been working this summer on research, timelines and preparing to share findings and recommendations to the public. 


Facilities Task Force

We currently have nine volunteer members of the Facilities Task Force including Kevin Sankey (chair), Karl Bunker, Jim Darcy, Todd Raper, Suzanne Sayle, Niki Struble, Tammy Lake, Collin Kelley and Deb Ginesta. The Facilities Task Force had their first formal meeting in early July. The subcommittee discussed short vs. long-term needs as they pertain to the demographic analysis, program needs including flexible spaces, academics, extracurricular activities, technology, STEM/Makerspace and cafeterias, various types of facilities, and site availability including building footprints, infrastructure, traffic/parking, campus flow and snow removal. The subcommittee is reviewing the master plan book put together by the district and separating out costs of projects, buildings and schools within each option. There are still lingering questions about programming and evidence-based research regarding best practices on grade configuration. The goal is to have basic recommendations that can be vetted in community forums early in 2017. 


In addition to the subcommittee work but related to facilities, the Board of Education has authorized an appraisal of all SSSD properties which will be shared with members of CC4E and public after the next board meeting. Committee members also toured the Christian Heritage building in early June. 


Demographics Subcommittee

Mary Darcy has volunteered to spearhead a subcommittee on district demographics. In addition to Darcy, other volunteer subcommittee members include Beth Wilhelm, Claire Sollars, and Ed Miklus (former New Jersey Superintendent). Subcommittee members are reviewing the previous demographics report commissioned by the district as well as other information relevant to deciding what sort of new analysis is needed.

In addition to the subcommittee work, state demographer Elizabeth Garner has prepared Routt County population projections, net migration counts by age, and an inflow outflow report for primary jobs.  Preliminary research from the state indicates that while Routt County is 24,970 now, projections are 30,239 in 2025; 34,000 in 2030; 48,000 in 2050.


Finance Task Force

Jeanne Mackowski has volunteered to work on the Finance Task Force along with Dean Vogelaar, Adonna Allen and Karen McRight. Jeanne is doing preliminary research on school funding in Colorado as well as detailed information on the district budget. The group will meet in early August.


Policy/Accountability Task Force

Robin Schepper and Chris Johnson along with Jodie Sandelhave volunteered to work on the Policy/Accountability Task Force. The group will be working on its goals and objectives in the coming weeks.



Clark Davidson gave a quick financial update. He informed the group of a budget deficit after all the invoices were paid for the committee startup costs and costs associated with the Community Forums in the spring. A number of committee members made contributions to CC4E after this announcement. If you are interested in helping to fund the efforts of CC4E please visit our website and contact us directly.



Board of Education President Margaret Huron spoke to the committee in late June regarding current discussions by the Board of Education to find a way to permanently fund full-day kindergarten. Huron pointed out that funding full-day kindergarten has always been on a topic of discussion for the BOE as long as she can remember. A Mill Levy specifically to fund full-day kindergarten would finally settle the issue.


Committee members agreed that there is no debate the merits of full-day kindergarten. Some members expressed concern about going to voters two years in a row with kindergarten Mill Levy this fall and potential bond or additional mill levy next fall. Committee members also commented on the effort it would take to get a kindergarten mill levy passed and wondered who would be working on this effort. 


Further discussion will take place in August.


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