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

Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant Program

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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

LOI Date:

11/30/21

Deadline Date:

02/04/22 4:00 PM

Description:

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Grants to Colorado school districts, school boards, and eligible schools for projects to improve educational facilities. Applicants must submit a letter of intent prior to applying. Funding is intended for any capital improvement initiative that will result in improved conditions in the state's neediest schools.

The BEST legislation provides for capital projects including new schools, major renovations, additions and smaller projects.

By statute, applications are prioritized and awarded by severity of need, as follows: 

  1. Projects that address safety hazards or health concerns at existing public school facilities, including public school facility security;
    • Projects that incorporate technology into the educational environment;
  2. Projects that relieve overcrowding in public school facilities, including but not limited to projects that will allow students to move from temporary instructional facilities into permanent facilities;
  3. Projects that will provide career and technical education capital construction in public school facilities; and
  4. All other projects.
BEST Grant types include:
  • Cash Grants which are typically used to fund smaller projects like roofs, boiler replacements, fire alarms, etc
  • Lease-Purchase Grants which are typically used to fund larger projects like new schools, major renovations, and additions. These grants are financed and the financing is paid back with future assistance fund revenues.

The Divisions 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.

Pursuant to statute, an eligible charter school must meet the following requirements:
- Operate in a school district facility with capital construction needs, or;
- Must have been in existence for at least 3 years prior to the date of submission of the BEST grant application.

Pre-Application Information:

July - December 2021 - Preparation
-Potential applicants work with consultants and BEST staff to define project scope and budget
- BEST sends out notifications for upcoming grant cycle
-No later than November 30: All Districts and Charter Schools must notify BEST of intent to apply
-Awarded FY21-22 projects begin work
-Final FY21-22 project list is established based upon election results
-Certificates of Participation issued for FY21-22 Lease Purchase funded projects.

January 2022 - Application
-January 5 - February 4: Application open, submissions due by 4 pm on February 4th
-Match percentages available
-BEST staff provides webinars and further assistance with applications
-Applicants may register for Grant Manager accounts to submit applications.

February - June 2022 - Approvals
- February 7 - April 21: Staff review of FY22-23 applications. Summary Book published
- April 18 - May 17: Capital Construction Assistance Board (CCAB) review period
- May 18 - May 20: CCAB meets to prioritize recommended projects for FY22-23
- No later than June 20: State Board of Education (SBE) meets to approve prioritized list
- No later than July 15: Capital Development Committee meets to approve SBE Lease Purchase project recommendations.

ALL potential 2021-22 applicants: Please notify BEST of intent to apply by completing a Grant Manager registration prior to November 30th.

Pursuant to 22-43.7-109 (9) C.R.S. the BEST grants are matching grants and the statute provides criteria for calculating a matching percentage.

Please consult your CDE regional representative with any questions.

For additional program-related documents, see the URL for Full Text and BEST Process and Resources pages.

BEST Financial Assistance Timeline FY2022-23: http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/best-timeline
Application Training: https://sitesed.cde.state.co.us/course/view.php?id=283
BEST Process and Resources: http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/resources
FAQs: http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/best-faq
Grant Submittal Requirements: http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/grantsubmittalrequirements
Regional Program Managers: http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdefinance/CapConstTechnicalMap
Facility Insight: http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/facilityinsight
Capital Construction Procurement: http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdefinance/ccaprocurement
BEST Detailed Project Budget: http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/bestmatchcalculation

Contact Information:

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

Submit a letter of intent to apply online: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSftpIDfRaIbp6PDf112IkaIpqm0YvHGdvD4kg4Avv_lXbSkJw/viewform?usp=sf_link,

Director of Capital Construction
1580 Logan Street, Suite 310
Denver, CO 80203
303-866-6717

Contact information for your specific Regional Program Manager can be found at: http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/contact

For more information, please contact BESTSchools@cde.state.co.us or call 303-866-2153.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Colorado

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