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Stronger Connections Grant (SCG) Public Comment Summary

Overview of Public Comment Process

On February 7, 2023, Colorado Department of Education (CDE) publicly posted a proposed definition for a “high-need” local education agency (LEA) that would be used for determining eligibility for the Stronger Connections Grant (SCG) program. SCG funds were made available through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA)

CDE asked for public comment on using the following three eligibility criteria: 

  1. Free and Reduced-Price Lunch (FRL) rates 
  2. Student-to-Mental Health Provider ratios 
  3. Chronic Absenteeism rates

CDE also asked for comments on an Alternative Eligibility Option through which LEAs would be able to provide local data to demonstrate needs aligned to the SCG. 

Public comment was accepted through a feedback form and via email from February 7, 2023, to March 8, 2023, through CDE’s Stronger Connections Grant website. The following is a summary of the public comments received and how the information was used by CDE when developing the SCG application and guidance.

Summary of Comments

Public Comment Form Data

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CDE received 22 responses via the SCG Public Comment Form and 5 responses via the SCG email inbox. Overall, a majority of respondents supported the use of the three criteria for Colorado’s “high-need” LEA definition, as well as the Alternative Eligibility Option. Respondents also indicated additional criteria for CDE to consider:

  • Availability of community services 
  • Alternatives to Free and Reduced-Price Lunch rates
  • Size of LEA
  • Census, property tax data
  • Grant writing support for rural school districts
  • Rates of suicide and community violence

Many comments concerned eligibility and how CDE would use data to determine which districts would receive funding through this grant.

CDE's Consideration of Comments Received

The Stronger Connections Grant team provided an overview of the public comments to our Community of Practitioners (CoP) and worked to incorporate the feedback into the definition and eligibility process.

Based on the level of support for using the proposed criteria, the SCG team created an eligibility scoring rubric using the three proposed eligibility criteria to determine which LEAs will be automatically eligible and invited to apply for SCG funds. This rubric takes into account all eligibility factors so that no one factor takes precedence over another. A total composite score for each LEA will be calculated by assigning point values for each quartile. LEAs with at least 10 total points will be considered automatically eligible to apply.  

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Next Steps

CDE is finalizing the competitive grant application and creating training and technical assistance opportunities to help LEAs develop their applications. Ongoing support will be provided throughout the life of the grant. 

Please continue to check CDE’s Stronger Connections Grant website for updates. Additional comments and questions can be sent via email to: