State Board Approves $401M for School Construction Projects
The Colorado State Board of Education has approved 43 school construction projects totaling more than $401 million from the Capital Construction Assistance Fund for the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grant program that is partially funded by marijuana state excise taxes.
The projects at school districts, BOCES and charter schools from throughout Colorado range from roof and boiler replacements to constructing entire school buildings.
Approximately $129 million of the 2019 awards will be funded through cash grants provided by income earned from the Colorado State Land Board, marijuana excise taxes, spillover from the Colorado Lottery and interest on the assistance fund. Applicants will contribute $110 million in matching funds.
Another $100 million is through lease-purchase grants from the state. Financing will be repaid with future assistance fund revenues. Applicants will contribute $62 million in matching money for those projects.
The grants are intended to improve health, safety, security and technology in public schools. Schools apply for the grants and the Capital Construction Assistance Board reviews the applications, prioritizing them and submitting their recommendations to the state board for approval.
Since 2008, BEST has funded 354 grants in 141 school districts for a total of $2.1 billion in projects.
Forty-three projects and three backup projects were selected for the 2019-20 cycle out of 58 grant applications that had requested a total of $437 million in state grant funds with $383 million in matching funds.
The approved projects inlcude:
- $49 million for a new preschool through 12th grade school in Sierra Grande R-30.
- $44.2 million for a remodel and addition for East Middle School in Aurora Public Schools.
- $41.5 million for a new preschool through 12th grade school in La Veta RE-2.