The Steamboat Springs Education Fund (SSEF) is a nonprofit, independent corporation that administers the proceeds of the half-cent sales tax—five cents on a $10 purchase. The half-cent city sales tax was originally approved by Steamboat voters in 1993 to fund “public K-12 educational purposes.” The tax was extended by voter approval in four subsequent elections. In 2009, voters extended the tax and expanded the purpose to share a portion of the proceeds of the tax with other Routt County public schools. Since 1993, more than $81.5M has been granted directly for public K-12 education in Routt County.
The Education Fund Board (EFB) administers the funds collected from the half-cent sales tax and exists to facilitate, govern and provide accountability for the allocation of the funds.
Grants are awarded to public schools and nonprofits in Routt County through a competitive grant process managed by the Education Fund Board’s Grants Committee. There are two main categories of grants funded with SSEF funds: (1) School District Grants; and (2) Community Grants. Eligible school districts include Steamboat (RE-2), Hayden, South Routt and the Steamboat Montessori Charter School, which is in the state-wide Charter Institute district. Any non-profit community organization that provides programming for public school students in grades K-12 may apply for a Community Grant. In the spring 2023 granting cycle, the following community organizations were awarded funding: Integrated Community, Northwest Colorado Health, Opera Steamboat, Partners in Routt County, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Steamboat Symphony Orchestra, Junior Achievement, Steamboat Dance Theatre, STARS, Steamboat Reading, the Colorado Crane Conservation Coalition, Yampa Valley Autism, Routt County Riders, Perry-Mansfield, Strings in the Mountains, and Yampatika.