EC School District’s–Legal Trouble with your Tax Dollars?

by the ECT’s Investigative Reports and Clayton Moore

It was time to check in:  The ECT wanted to know more about where the Eagle County School District is spending your Tax Money today – so we looked.

A review of Open Records can be an enlightening experience.

Background:  In November 2006 Eagle County Voters rejected a ballot issue (1A) that would have caused County Taxpayers to pay more in Taxes on what is collectively known today as “Early Childhood Development”.  (Click Here)  Their Ballot Issue/plan was to collect then spend new Taxes on/for children not old enough to attend Public School in Kindergarten.  Recall that Colorado State Statute provides for a “free” and legal Public School Education for children once old enough to attend K-12.  Their (1A) Ballot issue (it didn’t pass) would have LEGALLY allowed your Tax money to be spent on children before they were old enough to attend Public School Kindergarten.

Eagle County Voters overwhelmingly rejected (1A) in 2006.

The ECT chooses to describe the District’s rejected Ballot Issue 1A as “Taxpayer funded Daycare”.

According to Public Tax Records – soon after that 2006 vote, Eagle County saw the creation of a new 501(c)3 local non-profit known today as – “Early Childhood Partners”.

Your Eagle County School District (the President – of our Elected School Board) Jeanne McQueeney is listed as that non-profits “paid – Executive Director”.

Below from page 7 this organization 2009 Federal Tax form 990 – (Click Here)



ENTER Open Records:  A review of our School District’s budget expenses from last month March 2012 – showed a payment (FOR ONE MONTH ONLY) of $56,000.00 to the local non-profit that lists your elected School Board President – as it’s PAID Executive Director.


For their part your Eagle County School District also has hired Ms. Shelley Smith as our School District’s “Director of Early Childhood” at $76,830.00/yr + benefits.


Why is our elected School District Board – spending our Tax Money on ANY (programs and employees) specifically denied by Eagle County voters in 2006 on Ballot issue 1A?  A quick crosscheck of the 2006 (1A) Ballot language (Click Here) and the publicly stated goals of Ms. McQueeney’s Early Childhood Partners web site (Click Here) – proves this is exactly what is going on in Eagle County today.

1 – Why is your elected School Board spending your Tax Money with a non-profit that is dedicated to spending money ON EXACTLY the types of Early Childhood programs that Eagle County voters rejected in 2006?  (Click Here)  Isn’t our School District screaming “poverty” (in a manner of speaking) due to budget cuts and reduced State funding today?

2 – Just how much money has our (Jeanne McQueeney led School Board) spent with Ms. McQueeney’s non-profit since Ms. McQueeney was elected to our School Board year(s) ago?

3 – What LEGAL RIGHT does your elected School Board have to spend ANY money on these “Early Childhood Programs” after Eagle County voters rejected (1A) in 2006 – you can read that specific (1A) Ballot language by (Clicking Here)

4 – Is it the intention of your elected School Board to “buy the votes” of young parents with their children in the District’s pre-school “Early Childhood programs” – the next time the District wants a vote on another permanent increase in your Property Taxes?

5 – Is a further legal investigation need here?  Do you trust your elected School Board to listen to voters, then act accordingly to our voter directives?  Why is this conduct happening in Eagle County, today?

For a complete look at our Public School Districts monthly expenses for March 2012 (Click Here)

Conclusion:  In Eagle County today the distance between a persons “good intentions” and abject corruption – grows narrower by the day.  The willingness of your elected School Board to spend your Tax money year after year on “programs” the County voters said “no” to in 2006 proves the ECT’s point.  Now add in the undisciplined, cavalier (GSA like?) spending demonstrated by the District’s Transportation department (see story below) only – adds further proof that this narrowing process is happening today.


The worse thing a reasonable Eagle County voter could do today – is hand this group of (well intended?) individuals more of your hard earned money, via another voter approved property tax increase.

This would only serve to accelerate the process of narrowing this ever-shrinking gap.


5 responses

  1. Great job posing the question Clayton. The Admin and school board are making money and the poor teachers are not getting the pay or resources they need to teach our children.

    The best teachers of early childhood education are the parents. Unfortunately the parents in our district have to work 2 jobs so the can feed the bureaucratic monster!

  2. Great job posing the question Clayton. The school board is making money, the administration is making money and our teachers are not getting any more money. The best form of early child education comes from the parents. Unfortunately the parents are having to work 2 jobs to fund our out of control Eagle County School District bureaucracy.

    I suggest that the school district cut the bureaucracy and pay our teachers a better salary!

  3. “The important thing is not to stop questioning” – Albert Einstein

    Informed citizens make informed votes, so while reading through all of the above, we must also appreciate the information from our school district, our superintendent and most specifically our school finance director, Mr. Phillip Onofrio.

    For the numbers we view here are a direct result of Eagle Schools/Mr. Onofrio’s hard work, made publicly available (‘Chalk Talk’, below) allowing for factual pro & con discussions and decisions. Like his predecessor, Ms. Karen Strakbein, Mr. Onofrio is forthcoming, honest, and responsive in any inquiries made as is Ms. Brooke Macke, Director of Communications, and our school superintendent, Dr, Sandra Smyser.

    “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure, which is: try to please everybody” – Herbert Bayard Swope

    To me, Mr Swopes quote means saying No to Noble Causes and instead using that money to support our current teachers who are the educators here. There simply is not enough money to please everyone in this ongoing bad economy and increasing taxes is not a doable, workable solution either. Our school board just needs to learn to say no, said with compassion of course.
    Eagle Schools Chalk Talk-Transparency is Key

    Our constituents have a right to know how our school district operates, what we spend our money on and ultimately how our students benefit from our services.

    One of the most important things we can do as a school district is to provide up-to-date, accurate information related to finance, budget cuts and programmatic changes, and even success stories, news and special events. In a spirit of openness, honesty and transparency, we pride ourselves on the fact that we respond to questions and concerns in a timely manner, while encouraging productive and healthy dialogue on topics related to education. Please feel free to send us any questions that you may have to

    We would be more than happy to have a conversation, answer questions, address misinformation or just hear your perspective.

  4. Pingback: Early Childhood – Invasion? « News from Eagle County, Colorado

  5. Pingback: Sandra Smyser’s Record – More of the Same « News from Eagle County, Colorado

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