The Colorado Department of Education (CDE) received $8.4 million last year beyond the BEST fund for building improvement. This money, primarily from the Marijuana Tax Fund, was distributed through several educational organizations.

Here is a breakdown of the marijuana tax revenue distributions to the Colorado Department of Education for the 2015–2018 school years:

Let’s take a look at each of these Marijuana Cash Tax fund programs and see how they are helping Colorado students.

The School Health Professional Grant (SHCG):

The School Health Professional Grant is a Colorado Department of Education grant-based program designed to provide funds to schools (including Colorado’s charter schools) to enhance the presence of school health professionals in secondary and elementary schools.  School health professionals are school nurses, school psychologists, school social workers, and school counselors.  The funding for the program increased significantly in the 2017–18 school year so that this service could be provided to more schools across the state, including elementary schools.  Marijuana tax dollars significantly fund this program, and many youth are affected by this grant funding.

The School Bullying Prevention & Education Grant Program:

This program provides 50 Colorado schools with up to $40,000 per school year to sponsor bullying prevention programs.  Dr. Adam Collins, bullying prevention and education grant coordinator for the CDE, suggests, “As far as we know, we’re the only state that is providing such significant funds to prevent bullying in schools.”  He adds, “It’s more than just teachers doing lessons. It’s about changing the culture of the school so that it’s a warm environment.  So it’s somewhere that bullying can’t thrive.”  This grant program was established in 2011, but it was not funded until 2015, when the marijuana tax dollars became available.

Early Literacy Competitive Grant Program:

The Early Literacy Grant is designed to distribute funds to local education providers to ensure early essential components of reading instruction are embedded into the teaching programs in all schools and available for primary students through third grade.  This program assists and supports all students in achieving reading competency.  This program is heavily supported by the Marijuana Cash Tax fund.

Dropout Prevention Programs:

The CDE Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Re-engagement gets a portion of the Marijuana Cash Tax fund to increase graduation rates and decrease dropout rates.  This grant program provides financial support for programs that encourage schools and districts to address re-engaging nontraditional and/or disenfranchised students who may be experiencing truancy, low attendance, and behavior issues tied to discipline referrals, suspensions, and expulsions.

Click here to read part 3.

Brought to you by educators at the Marijuana Education Initiative.

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