Colorado Springs School District 11 public schools will likely never see direct funding from the sales tax coming in from recreational marijuana sales.
Why is that?
There are restrictions on where the funding from marijuana taxes go and how it can be used.
The funding that is being earned through marijuana taxes filter through the Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program. BEST distributes funds to schools who have applied and been approved for these grants. The proposals include construction projects that address safety, security and health problems such as replacing roofs and mechanical systems as well as building new schools and renovating classrooms. Districts also usually must match BEST funds with local district money to utilize the grant.
Again, these grants are awarded to applications based on need. There are many rural districts that are in need of infrastructure maintenance, where the majority of the grants are going toward. The BEST system was designed to prioritize these rural districts, and because of that District 11 will likely never receive grants from that program.
The first $40 million raised from marijuana taxes are used for the BEST program. Revenue beyond the first $40 million is credited to the Public School Fund, which is run by the state treasurer’s office.
For the 2016-2017 fiscal year, $40 million of marijuana excise tax was allocated to the BEST program, and had an excess $5.7 million going to the Public School Fund. However, in that same fiscal year, legislation provided over $6.3 billion of total funding to school districts in all of Colorado. In the grand scheme of it all, the $5.7 million in excess marijuana tax that was added to the Public School Funds and distributed throughout the public schools of Colorado barely scratched the surface when it comes to state funding provided for District 11.
District 11 is in need of additional funding, and our public schools are not getting direct funding from marijuana taxes. By voting YES on 3E November 7th, you are supporting the kids in our community. You are allowing them to have access to modern technology, the best educators, and safe schools. You are investing in the future of Colorado Springs, improving property value and creating vibrant neighborhoods. Marijuana taxes help school districts in Colorado, no doubt – but District 11 isn’t one of them. It’s time we invest in our kids and our community, vote YES on 3E.
For more information on marijuana revenue, click here.
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