Did You Know? Marijuana Excise Tax Support is Small

DID YOU KNOW?  One of the questions that comes up frequently is, “What happened to the money that you get from the sales of marijuana in the state?”

The answer is, “Revenue that is generated by the sales of marijuana in the state is quite small overall compared to state school district budgets and their needs!”

The first $40-million collected state-wide from the excise tax on retail marijuana earned annually from the recreational marijuana industry is transferred into the BEST Program Assistance Fund. May 2015 marked the first grant cycle to utilize the revenues.

BEST stands for “Building Exceptional Schools Today.” It is a program that focuses on capital projects only. It is a MATCHING GRANT program and school districts are NOT guaranteed any revenue; they must apply for it and must also invest their own money to support the projects that they want to use BEST funds on.

TSD received a BEST grant in 2014-2015 in the amount of $203,808 to replace the roof at Mary Blair Elementary School; the district matched the grant with an additional $220,792 of its own money to finish the project. TSD also received a BEST grant for the 2015-2016 school year in the amount of $173,696 to replace the roof at Berthoud High School. For this project, the district also invested $469,624 of its own funding to complete it.

So while it’s true that school districts are able to apply for assistance for projects through the BEST Program, funds are extremely limited and the needs here in Thompson are far greater than what can be supported through that program; TSD has an estimated $72 MILLION of NEEDED MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS at district schools and buildings.

TSD has also received support for its school health professionals service that is funded through marijuana revenue proceeds. This matching-fund program is designed to enhance the presence of school health professionals in secondary schools throughout the state to facilitate better prevention education, screening for early identification and referral care coordination for secondary school students with substance abuse and other behavioral health needs.

For more information on the BEST funding program, here is a link to a Colorado Department of Education web site page that provides some additional details: http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdefinance/capconstfinancial

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