Established in 2008 with the signing of C.R.S.22-43.7, BEST provides an annual amount of funding in the form of competitive grants to school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative educational services, and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind. BEST funds can be used for the construction of new schools as well as general construction and renovation of existing school facility systems and structures.
Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Emergency Grant
The Division has available an established amount of funding for public school facility emergencies. If an unanticipated event renders a significant portion or the entirety of a public school facility unusable for educational purposes, or poses an imminent threat to the health or safety of persons using the public school facility, that school may be eligible for a BEST Emergency Grant. Additionally, if the Governor declares by executive order or proclamation, a disaster emergency in any area of the state pursuant to section 24-33.5-704 (4), C.R.S., the Division shall contact each affected school facility in any area of the state to assess any facility needs resulting from the declared disaster emergency as soon as possible following the Governor's declaration. The Division must report its findings to the Capital Construction Assistance Board as soon as possible following its outreach.
If your school facility is experiencing an emergency as defined in this section, you may be eligible to receive a BEST Emergency Grant. For more information, contact Andy Stine.
Each year, the Legislature provides an appropriation to charter schools on a per pupil basis for capital construction needs. The funding can be used for construction, demolition, remodeling, maintaining, financing, purchasing or leasing of facilities the charter operates. In FY16-17, twenty-five million dollars was appropriated to charter schools and institute charter schools. A qualifying charter must fill out a questionnaire in order to be eligible to receive this funding.
The Division of Capital Construction will be reinstating the Statewide Facility Assessment Program for Colorado public Schools facilities, now called Facility Insight. As Capital Construction plans to implement this new program starting July 2016, understanding the purpose of Facility Insight, and the benefits of the program, will help provide a smooth partnership amongst schools, districts, and the state.
Qualified Zone Academy Bonds (QZAB) (program currently suspended)
The QZAB program is a way for school districts to obtain interest-free financing for renovation, repair projects, and other construction needs. The Colorado Department of Education does not provide funding, but provides authorization for a school district to obtain the interest-free financing if the school district qualifies.
Full Day Kindergarten (program currently suspended)
In SB07-199, the Legislature declared that full-day kindergarten (FDK) is an effective way of improving a child’s academic performance. Since some school districts, institute charter schools, and Expeditionary BOCES may not be able to provide the facilities needed to implement a FDK program, the Legislature appropriated 35 million in FY08-09 with the passing of HB08-1388. HBO8-1388 funded a new competitive grant program to provide grants or matching grants to school districts or institute charter schools that are undertaking capital construction projects to renovate a facility, rent a facility, or provide a temporary auxiliary facility that will be used in conjunction with providing a full-day kindergarten program.
For additional information, please contact the BEST Staff.