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School District Operations Division

The Division of School District Operations has four offices: Capital Construction, School Finance and Grants, School Nutrition and School Transportation.

Capital Construction Unit 

This Capital Construction Unit oversees a series of programs and resources for capital construction funding as well as technical assistance for local education agencies for facility needs (master planning, design, maintenance, construction, procurement, etc.). The Unit manages emergency construction grants as needed and various capital funding opportunities as prescribed by the legislature. The four main program areas are:

Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) grants provide 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 has generated over $3.5 billion in school improvement projects since FY 2008-09, with an award in almost every school district in the state. BEST funds can be used for the construction of replacement schools as well as general construction and renovation of existing school facility systems and structures. Staff works with the (nine-member, appointed) Capital Construction Assistance Board to establish and maintain processes and procedures and to prioritize projects annually for funding.

The Charter School Capital Construction Program distributes just over $30 million annually on a per pupil basis for “construction, demolition, remodeling, maintaining, financing, purchasing, or leasing of land, buildings, or facilities…”. Funded with a percentage of marijuana excise tax revenue and State Education Fund dollars.

The Facility Insight Assessment Program focuses on establishing an industry based standard to compare the cost of replacing major systems against replacing an entire facility with a goal of assessing every school facility in the state every five years. Current BEST grants are prioritized for assessments to support decisions made by the Capital Construction Assistance Board.

As the delegate to the Office of the State Architect this office oversees requests and reporting, project management, and support for capital construction and controlled maintenance projects at the Colorado Talking Book Library and at 201 Colfax.

School Finance and Grants Office 

This Office provides financial assistance and oversight to local education agencies through five primary units.

School Finance Unit - This Unit distributes Public School Finance Act funding as well as other formula funding. In Fiscal Year 2022-23, the School Finance Act provided over $8.4 billion of funding to Colorado school districts via state taxes ($4.99 billion), local specific ownership (vehicle registration) taxes ($229.2 million), and local property taxes ($3.22 billion). This Unit also provides technical assistance for financial reporting,  prepares the Financial Transparency for Colorado Schools website, and submits required financial reporting to the federal government. A recent addition to this Unit has been the School Finance Support Program which provides statewide training and guidance for all school districts as well as targeted support for selected districts. 

School Auditing Unit - This Unit performs compliance audits as required by the Public School Finance and Public School Transportation rules and law. The Unit provides technical guidance and support throughout the pupil count and transportation data submissions to assist districts prior to finalizing submissions. 

Grants Program Administration (GPA) Unit  - GPA handles organizing and leading the grant process through the awarding of funds, including facilitating the Application Implementation Meeting, developing the grant program's Request for Applications, seeking approval of the collection from the Education Data Advisory Committee (EDAC), collecting and processing application submissions, and managing the application review process. 

Grants Fiscal Management Unit (GFMU) - GFMU is responsible for administering all fiscal activities associated with federal and state grants. A GFMU fiscal analyst should be assigned to each grant. The fiscal analyst plays an active role, in partnership with the Program Manager, in reviewing and approving budgets and any other required changes or revisions to grants.   

School Nutrition Office  

The School Nutrition Office supports the child nutrition community in Colorado through innovation, training, and partnerships to ensure all kids and teens have access to healthy meals.

We implement federal child nutrition programs including, the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast Program, After School Snack Program, Special Milk Program, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, and the Summer Food Service Program. The Office also implements the following state nutrition programs which ensure students have equitable access to meals, Start Smart Nutrition Program, Lunch Protection Program, Breakfast After the Bell Program, and the Healthy School Meals for All Program.

Nutrition staff conduct Administrative Reviews to ensure sponsoring organizations are complying with all federal and state regulations. The Office provides reimbursement to sponsors for meals, snacks and milk. Nutrition staff train and provide technical assistance to all sponsoring organizations across the state. Sponsoring organizations include public school districts, public charter schools, private schools, facility schools, residential child care centers, and non-profit organizations. 

School Transportation Office

The School Transportation Office enforces State Board of Education regulations governing the safe operation of school buses and school transportation vehicles used for the transportation of students. 

Transportation rules are designed to align with federal standards and industry standards that provide adequate standards of safety for the operation, maintenance, and inspection of school transportation vehicles operated by public school districts, charter schools, and service provider transportation professionals.

The Office performs on-site compliance audits of operations, driver qualification files, vehicle inspections and fleet management. Staff also provide supervisor training and additional training resources in addition to overseeing the certification process for Entry Level Driver Training Instructors, and CDE Annual Inspectors.