Reader: Money for Schools? Potheads Helping People!

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Following a year of budget cuts and funding rearrangements during the COVID-19 pandemic, Colorado's Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) program is on track to get those funds back from a major revenue source: pot taxes. Senate Bill 207, which passed through the Colorado Legislature last month, will require the transfer of $100 million from the state's Marijuana Tax Cash Fund into the BEST program, to restore funding cut last year.

BEST was established in 2008 to provide funding for public schools to rebuild, repair or replace primary educational facilities. According to Andy Stine, Colorado Department of Education capital construction director, the BEST program has received over $325 million in marijuana excise taxes since 2014 — but BEST is requesting around $650 million for 2021 projects alone. “As for the bill to restore funds to the program, any amount helps," he says, noting that local governments kick in a 50 percent match in BEST funding from state grants.

Readers applauded the bill in their comments on the Westword Facebook post of the BEST budget move. Says Rooted: 

Happy to see this funding returning. So critical to schools.

Adds Zach:

Leave it up to the “lazy stoners” to do what uptight lawmakers can’t.

Notes Joy:

There are A LOT of schools in Colorado! Therefore, this $$$ spreads pretty thin when all's said and done...our schools still need more.

For example, wonders Leslie:

They gonna put in air conditioners, then?

Concludes Wesley:

Potheads helping people.

What do you think about where marijuana taxes have gone since recreational sales started in Colorado in January 2014? Post a comment or share your thoughts at editorial@westword.com.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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