BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) Grant Program
The Colorado Department of Education Division of Public School Construction Assistance primarily administers a capital construction grant program known as Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST). The BEST program focuses on helping public schools with a multitude of capital construction needs, from new roofs and boilers to major renovations and new schools. The goal of the BEST program is to provide first class, high performing, 21st century facilities and to help alleviate health and safety concerns throughout Colorado.
The BEST Program is a competitive grant program available to all public school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative educational services and the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.
Grant applications are reviewed on a yearly cycle and recommended for funding by the Capital Construction Assistance Board. The board consists of nine appointed members who, in conjunction with division staff, review all grant applications for the current fiscal year.
July 2016: CDE's Facility Insight Powerpoint
Overview of BEST as of November 2014:
- Helping over 138,800 students statewide in 354 school facilities, throughout 119 school districts
- 235 grants funded -over $1.1 Billion funded out of $2.6 Billion requested
- Helping create and support over 19,580 jobs as of November 2014
- Statewide Facility Assessment March 2010 - over $17.9 billion in Capital Construction needs
BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) video by Stefan Welsh - comments by Superintendents from Sangre de Cristo, Kim and Creede school districts and Kathy Gebhardt describing:
- A new, safe learning environment for a district that received a BEST grant (and passing a matching Override Local Mill Levy),
- The status of older schools in districts with low property value,
- The BEST legislation's impact on the safety of students in Colorado school buildings.
BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) presentation by David Van Sant (Chair, State Capital Construction Assistance Board) and Ted Hughes (Director, Divison of Capital Construction Assistance, CDE) describing How BEST began, the Capital Construction Assistance Board, Where does BEST money come from? and Types of Grants.
What is the Impact of Inadequate School Facilities on Student Learning?
A number of studies have shown that many school systems, particularly those in urban and high-poverty areas, are plagued by decaying buildings that threaten the health, safety, and learning opportunities of students. Good facilities appear to be an important precondition for student learning, provided that other conditions are present that support a strong academic program in the school. A growing body of research has linked student achievement and behavior to the physical building conditions and overcrowding. Read the Impact of Inadequate School Facilities on Student Learning - US Department of Education.
CDE's Statewide Financial Assistance Priority Assessment FY 2009-10 Report - As a result of the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Act (HB08-1335), the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Board (CCAB) conducted a Financial Assistance Priority Assessment of public school facilities in Colorado for the period FY2009-10. Approximately 8,419 facilities in 178 School Districts were assessed. Tier 1 current need and Forecast need: $17,856,056,401.
The BEST assistance fund has four revenue sources:
- State Land Trust Funds
- Colorado Lottery Spillover Funds
- Marijuana Excise Taxes
To date, BEST has received more than $385 million in revenue. State Land Trust funds have generated more than 90 percent of the program’s funding, Colorado Lottery spillover funds have generated more than 6 percent for the program, followed by interest at 2.5 percent and marijuana excise tax at just under 1 percent.
Quick Facts on Public School Trust Lands.