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Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) Grant Program

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

Agency Type:

State

Funding Source:

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

Conf. Date:

01/07/20

LOI Date:

11/30/19

Deadline Date:

02/24/20 4:00 PM

Description:

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Grants to Colorado school districts, school boards, and eligible schools for projects to improve educational facilities. Certain schools must notify the funding source prior to applying. Funding is intended for any capital improvement initiative that will result in improved conditions in the state's neediest schools. Priority will be given to projects addressing health, safety, security issues, and technology. Projects that mitigate overcrowding will also be considered.

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 addressing health, safety, security issues & technology
  2. Projects to relieve current overcrowding
  3. CTE projects, and
  4. All other capital needs.
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.

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;
- Operate in a non-school district facility with capital construction needs;
And
- Must have been in existence for at least 3 years prior to the date of submission of the BEST grant application.

Pre-proposal Conference:

A webinar walkthrough of the 2020 BEST Grant Application will be held on January 7, 2020, at 1 pm. The webinar will be recorded and made available the following day for future viewing.

Enter Webinar:
https://enetlearning.adobeconnect.com/bestgrant2020/

Pre-Application Information:

The Fiscal Year 2020 - 21 BEST Grant Application will be available on January 2, 2020. Signed and completed applications are due no later than 4 p.m. on February 24, 2020.

Timeline:
- No later than November 30, 2019: Charter Schools Deadline to notify Division of interest in order to have a match percentage calculated
- January 2 - February 24, 2020: Application open, submissions due at 4 pm on February 24th
- February 29 - April 23, 2020: Staff review of FY19-20 applications. Summary Book published
- April 23 - May 19, 2020: CCAB review period
- May 13-15, 2020: Capital Construction Assistance Board (CCAB) meets to prioritize recommended projects for FY20-21
- No later than June 20, 2020: State Board of Education (SBE) meets to approve prioritized list
- No later than July 15, 2020: Capital Development Committee meets to approve SBE Lease Purchase project recommendations.

Anyone considering applying is strongly encouraged for a BEST grant to contact your Regional Program Manager. The funding source also offers trainings and informational presentations at many conferences and business meetings around the state. If you have any suggestions for outreach or would like to meet in person, please feel free to contact staff.

The Division provides technical assistance for any interested applicants and is always available to answer any questions or provide any additional details on the program. If your school is considering applying to BEST, you are encouraged to reach out to your regional representative at any point for guidance and aid on the planning and application process.

The BEST grant is a matching monies grant and each applicant is required to match a certain percentage of their project cost based on their financial capacity. The Division must collect data from the charter school in order to generate the matching percentage for the school. With some exceptions, Financial Assistance may be provided only if the Applicant provides Matching Moneys in an amount equal to a percentage of the total cost of the Project determined by the Board after consideration of the Applicant’s financial capacity.

FAQs:
http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/best-faq

Capital Construction Online Grant Application Process:
http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/grantapplicationprocess

The BEST Grant Process & Beyond:
http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/resources

BEST Financial Assistance Timeline FY2020-21:
http://www.cde.state.co.us/capitalconstruction/best-timeline

Contact Information:

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

Apply online: http://www.cde.state.co.us/apps/bestgrant/

Submit applications to:
Andy Stine
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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