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Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant Program

Grants to Colorado School Districts, Charter Schools,
and School Boards for Capital Improvement Projects

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Colorado Department of Education (CDE) - Office of Capital Construction

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Grants to Colorado school districts, school boards, and charter schools to construct and renovate school structures and facilities. Charter schools must submit an LOI prior to applying. Funding is intended for any capital improvement initiative that will result in improved health, security, safety, and technology. Projects that mitigate overcrowding will also be considered.

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.

BEST Grants average $100 million in total funded projects against $240 million in requests every year. BEST Grant types include:
- Cash Grants which are typically used to fund smaller projects, such as roofs, boiler replacements and fire alarms.
- Lease-Purchase Grants which are typically used to fund larger projects, such as new schools, major renovations and additions. These grants are financed through Certificates of Participation (COP) and repaid with Assistance Fund revenues.

Priority 1: Address safety hazards or health concerns at existing public school facilities, including concerns relating to public school facility security, and projects that are designed to incorporate technology into the educational environment.

Priority 2: Relieve current overcrowding in public school facilities, including but not limited to allowing students to move from temporary instructional facilities into permanent facilities.

Priority 3: Other types of capital improvements not addressed in priorities 1-2.

What technical assistance is offered?
The Division offers technical assistance during all phases of a project, for example:
- Pre BEST grant: Targeted outreach, site visits, assistance with project identification, BEST grant application information & review, the establishment of a construction committee, assistance with RFQ or RFQ/P, etc.
- Throughout BEST grant project: Consultant & vendor procurement, fund request/budget review, project communication, project monitoring, grant reserves, site visits, project closeout, etc.
- Post BEST grant: Helpful information with maintenance, project management, construction review, warranty, O&M manuals, etc.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 179361

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are school districts, charter schools, institute charter schools, boards of cooperative educational services, and the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind.

- Colorado school districts – all Colorado school districts are eligible for BEST funding. The application must come from the district level, not the individual school level;
- Eligible charter schools – an eligible charter school is one that has been chartered for at least three years from the date of the grant application. Pursuant to 22-43.7-109(b) C.R.S., the Board may only provide financial assistance to public schools which meet this three-year criterion;
- Eligible institute charter schools – same requirements as a school district charter school;
- Eligible boards of cooperative educational services (BOCES) – All BOCES that are eligible to receive state money pursuant to 22-5-114 C.R.S.;
- Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Applicants may view the recorded BEST Grant Application Webinars:

A "Webinar Walk Through" for the 2019 application will be held on January 4, 2019 at 11:30 am. It will be recorded and available to view after that time as well. Please visit it at that time at

*Recorded* BEST Grant Application Tutorial FY2018-19 (last year's grant application)

Pre-Application Information:

- No later than November 30, 2018: Charter Schools must notify Division of intent to apply so match calculation data can be obtained
- January 2 - February 25, 2019: Application for financial assistance is open to applicants
-February 26 - April 18, 2019: Division reviews and summarizes grant application requests and evaluates all assessment report comments
- April 18, 2019: The summarized applications are put into a summary book and distributed to the CCAB
- April 18 - May 14, 2019: Summary book available for CCAB review
- May 15-17, 2019: CCAB meetings to make recommendations to the State Board for award
- No later than June 20, 2019: State Board meeting to approve the CCAB's recommendations
- No later than July 15, 2019: Capital Development Committee meeting to approve the State Board's recommendations (lease-purchase projects only - if funds available)

BEST Grant Process and Beyond:

Application Instructions and Resources:

Statewide Facility Assessment:

CCAB Rules, Resolutions, Powers and Duties:


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Contact your Regional Program Manager to schedule a site visit and get started with planning for your BEST grant:

Colorado Dept. of Education
201 East Colfax Ave.
Denver, CO 80203
Phone: 303-866-6600
Fax: 303-830-0793

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Colorado