Frequently Asked Questions
Why can’t we just build additions to existing elementary and middle schools to meet our capacity challenges?
There is not enough space on our current elementary and middle school sites for adequate solutions that gain enough classrooms and allow for the necessary expansion of spaces such as the cafeteria and library. Additionally, drive lanes for drop-off and pick-up would need to be extended on two sites that are already severely congested from traffic.
What are alternatives to dealing with the district’s capacity issues at the elementary and middle school level that don’t include building a new school?
As an alternative to building a new school, school districts often deal with overcrowding in three ways:
- They realign school boundaries. This option is not available to us because both of our elementary schools are full and we currently only have one school that serves middle school-age students.
- They buy or rent modular trailers that are installed on school property. Soda Creek Elementary School currently houses two modular trailers (4 classrooms), which were always meant to be a temporary solution until there is space for the permanent, indoor classrooms. These classrooms are located adjacent to the building and are not equipped with bathroom facilities.
- They go to a multi-track, year-round system. A school using a multitrack, year-round calendar divides the entire student body and staff into different tracks. In one example of this model, one track returns from vacation and one track leaves every 20 days. This expands the seating capacity of a school facility.
Why does Steamboat Springs School District offer a preschool program?
Many districts throughout Colorado have preschools in their elementary schools, which minimizes transitions especially for students with special needs and their families. This was the case in Steamboat from 1987–1997. Colorado preschool programs housed in public elementary schools are required to serve students with disabilities ages 3–5. Our program model serves students with special needs, Colorado Preschool Program (known as CPP) students, and general ed, tuition-based students learning together in the same classroom.
What are the advantages of bringing preschool into the elementary schools?
Moving pre-K into our elementary schools will foster improved communication, planning, and coordination for our youngest learners. Children and their families will have better awareness of the connections between past and future learning experiences, and supports will be uninterrupted from one level to the next.
If the district is having capacity issues, why does it allow for out of district enrollment?
The percentage of open-enrollment students (non-employee children) in our four traditional schools is 4.1% of our entire student population; the equivalent of one student per classroom throughout the entire district. Across all grade levels and classrooms in our four schools we accept open-enrollment students on a case-by-case, grade-by-grade, and year-by-year basis, only where there is space and programming to serve them. In SSSD we manage school choice tightly; it does not impact our district's capacity.
Since 1994, Colorado families have had the option under state law of enrolling their children in any traditional public school or public charter school in the state, as long as space is available.
Note: This analysis excludes the 92 students who attend North Routt Community Charter School
Will adding a new school allow the district to accept more open enrollment applications from families who live outside of our district boundaries?
No. The school district is planning for facilities that will serve students within our boundaries. Enrollment projections are based on in-district students as are all staffing decisions. Out of district open enrollment applications are considered in August and are only approved if there is space to serve a student under the staffing and program structures that are already in place for the school year.
What is the District’s debt load?
By State Statute a school district’s debt capacity is calculated at 20% of the district’s current Net Assessed Value. The following table illustrates Steamboat Springs School District RE2’s current Debt Capacity.
Assessed Valuation: $875,154,232
State Statute Rate: 20%
Legal Debt Limit: $175,030,846
Current Outstanding Debt: $33,745,000
Debt Margin: $141,285,846
When will the current bonds or debt be paid off?
The bonds from the 2006 Bond Issuance (Soda Creek) will be paid off December 1, 2026. The bonds from the November 2017 Bond Issuance will be paid off December 1, 2024. The following chart illustrates the bond principal repayment schedule.
How is enrollment growth impacting Steamboat Springs School District?
Enrollment in Steamboat Springs School District has increased 21% over the past 10 years. The district is currently at 101% capacity.
Steamboat Springs High School is nearing 95% building capacity, while the middle school is currently at 96% of capacity, and elementary school enrollment is at 112% of capacity.
Enrollment is expected to continue to grow .
The capacity of our facilities affects the programs and services we can provide including makers spaces, STEM labs, science classrooms, small group instruction, and special education rooms. In some cases, dedicated space for these programs is a hallway.
Exceeding the capacity of our facilities not only affects instruction, it also impacts common spaces such as the cafeteria and library and puts a strain on parking and drop-off/pick-up traffic.