School board tweaks rec program funding
By Brielle Schaeffer, Jackson Hole, Wyoming
November 15, 2012
School trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to change the schedule the district follows when funding recreation projects.
In the past, school trustees have set the tax for rec programs after the Teton County School District Recreation District approved funding for community, town and school projects. The school board will now levy the tax before the rec district board allocates the dough.
“I’m in favor of changing the schedule so it’s easier for the rec district board to work with,” Trustee Cherie Hawley said.
The school board can levy up to 1 mill of property tax for recreation district programs. Recreation district board members dole out the money to community, school district, town and county projects. The tax, first levied in 2007, has been generating about $1 million a year.
The action means the recreation district board will move up its deadline for grant applications to Feb. 1 instead of later in the spring, trustee Paul D’Amours said.
After the rec board sees how much the school board has decided to contribute, it will provide a general breakdown of programs and costs. Trustees will set the mill at their March meeting. The rec district board will consider and award grants in April, D’Amours said.
The new schedule means the rec district board is “no longer making decisions based on what it thinks this board will do,” D’Amours said.
The timing of the property tax approval has been burdensome in the past, some trustees have said, because the rec district board has been approving projects before it knew money would be available.
The recreation district funds capital projects, programs, supplies and activities for groups that apply for support. The board met in May and approved $1.15 million for 25 requests. School trustees then levied .09 mills in property tax to fund the projects.
Among the programs the tax is currently funding are a winter ice rink at Davey Jackson Elementary School, turf for indoor springtime sports at Snow King Sports and Events Center and equipment, and programming and scholarships for community groups such as Jackson Hole Youth Soccer, Girls Actively Participating and Dancers’ Workshop.
The recreation district is legally separate from the school district, but depends on it for funding. The five-member rec board is appointed by the school board; three of the five members of the rec board are also school board members.