Colorado Economic Recovery and Accountability




The Recovery Act provides a host of funds to support education programs in K-12 and higher education institutions. All of the funds below will help the state and local school districts fill some of budget shortfall from declining revenues and meet increasing demand for services in schools. The funding will be distributed over three school years.


State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF):

Colorado will receive approximately $760 million through the Recovery Act which is designated for maintaining funding levels for education in the face of dwindling state and local revenues. More than $621 million must be spent on K-12, post-secondary or early childhood education. Awarded by formula to governors, in exchange for each state’s commitment to advance essential education reforms: (1) making improvements in teacher effectiveness and ensuring that all schools have highly qualified teachers, (2) making progress toward college and career┬┐ready standards and rigorous assessments that will improve both teaching and learning, (3) improving achievement in low┬┐performing schools, by providing intensive support and effective interventions in schools that need them most, and (4) gathering information to improve student learning, teacher performance, and college and career readiness through enhanced data systems that track progress. The remaining $138 million is allocated for budget stabilization and discretionary spending (i.e., public safety, education, other government services). The Governor’s Office of State Planning and Budget (OSPB), working closely with the Joint Budget Committee, have been working with the U.S. Department of Education to distribute the funds in a way that meets the budgetary needs of Colorado while adhering to federal requirements. Colorado is dedicating $621.8 million over three years for higher education institutions. About $70 million of the Government Services Funds are supporting jobs at the Department of Corrections. About $10 million will be used to prepare for “Race to the Top” competitive programs to enhance Colorado’s position relative to this significant opportunity. The remaining funds are being used for future budget balancing if needed and ARRA administrative costs, if necessary. Because of significant revenue shortfalls, the Governor’s Office submitted a waiver request to the U.S. Department of Education, stating that the state can not meet federal requirements to maintain certain funding levels for higher education with state funds. The state is working with the U.S. Department Education on this issue.



Other resources:

Colorado Dept. of Education website
Colorado Dept. of Higher Education website
US Dept. of Education website


The chart below provides the expected breakout of ARRA funds by institution:



Race to the Top:
Two competitive grants worth a total of $4.3 billion will be divided among about 12 states who propose ambitious reforms in K-12 education. One grant is worth $4 billion and the other is worth $350 million. On Jan. 19, 2010, Colorado submitted an application requesting $377 million. Lieutenant Governor Barbara O’Brien coordinated the application and conducted extensive public outreach for input.


More than 600 people helped develop the proposal. About 134 school districts serving 94 percent of the 802,000 K-12 students in Colorado supported the state’s application. To support the application, Gov. Ritter issued an executive order creating a Colorado Council for Educator Effectiveness. By the end of this year, the council will define teacher and principal effectiveness and design a high-quality system of evaluation.

The proposal calls for providing incentives for improved performance and opportunities for innovation. Proposed investments include professional development for newly-adopted academic standards, creating an integrated data system that links agencies and provides more immediate information, and develops a Colorado Turnaround Center.

Colorado was named one of the 16 finalists for the first round of funds, but only 2 states won that round. Colorado is applying again for the second round of funds in mid 2010.


Contact: Ellen Dumm, 303-866-6361,; Nina Lopez, Colorado Department of Education,

Lt. Governor’s Race to the Top website


Investing in Innovation: 

Competitive grants worth a total of $650 million will be awarded to partnerships between local school districts and non-profit entities that support local efforts to start or expand innovative programs that help close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for students. Draft guidelines were issued in October 2009 and the final request for proposal is expected in late 2009. Contact: Nina Lopez,


Title IA:  

Colorado received an allocation of $111.1 million allocation to support improving the academic achievement of disadvantaged students at schools with high percentages of low-income students. Title I funds are disbursed by the Colorado Department of Education according to a federal formula, based upon approved applications submitted by school districts. Eighty-five percent of the state’s total Title I, Part A funds (including regular FY 2009 Title I, Part A funds) must be obligated at the state and local level by Sept. 30, 2010. Any remaining Title I, Part A funds will be available for obligation at the state and local level until Sept. 30, 2011. The state also expects to receive $33.8 million in January 2010 for Title I schools that are persistently low-performing (this program is called the Title I School Improvement program). Contact: Patrick Chapman, Co. Dept. of Ed., 303-866-6780,


Title I School Improvement grants:
Colorado was awarded $33.8 million for Title I schools that are persistently low-performing. Contact: Patrick Chapman, Co. Dept. of Ed., 303-866-6780,

Title I-D:
Colorado received 4863,346 in grants for Delinquent Insitution Grants that were distributed by formula to Title I schools. Contact: Patrick Chapman, Co. Dept. of Ed., 303-866-6780,


Individuals with Disabilities Education Act:  

Colorado has received $80.5 million through the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act for students and children with disabilities. This represents half of Colorado’s total allocation of $161 million for IDEA parts B and C. These funds are available through three programs:

  • Part B (section 611) formula grants totalling $148.7 million in Colorado, will be given to state education authorities and then to local schools to improve services for children and youth with disabilities by making short-term investments that can have long-term benefits. The state has announced allocations to school districts around Colorado. Ten Colorado school districts will soon receive a total of $4.4 million for the current school year, while the majority of the IDEA funding will be for FY 2009-10. All Part B, section 611 funds must be obligated by the state by September 20, 2011.
  • Another Part B formula grant program (section 619), totalling $5.3 million in Colorado, will help schools expand the availability and range of placement options for preschoolers (ages three to five) with disabilities by developing the capacity of public and private preschool programs to serve them. All Part B, section 619 funds must be obligated by the state by September 20, 2011.

Contact: Ed Steinberg, Colorado Dept. of Education, 303-866-6059,; Charm Paulmeno, 303-866-6689,;


  • The IDEA part C program for infants and toddlers is distributing $7,954,827 million across Colorado. These grants will help fund early intervention services for birth through two-year old children being served by the 20 Community Centered Boards and increase funding for statewide initiatives to improve services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. As of April 2010, $2.2 million had been spent, 614 infants and toddlers were served and 40.76 full-time equivalent jobs were created.

Contact: Ardith Ferguson, Colorado Department of Human Services, Division of Developmental Disabilities and Early Intervention, 303-866-7657,;


Education for Homeless Children and Youth Grants:

The state received $924,815 in Title X McKinney-Vento formula funds from the federal government on April 10, 2009. Grant awards were made in August 2009 to 17 school districts and BOCES across Colorado. All funds through this program must be obligated by Sept. 30, 2011. The funds are designed to help homeless children enroll in, attend and succeed in school. Contact: Dana Scott, Colorado Dept. of Education, 303-866-6930,

Enhancing Education Through Technology (Title IID):

Colorado was awarded$3,5 million to help school districts improve the use of technology in curricula and to help all students become technologically literate by the end of 8th grade. Half of the money will be distributed by formula related to Title I criteria. The rest will be given out through a competitive process developed by the state. Contact: Dan Morris, Colorado Department of Education;, 303-229-8301


Early Head Start/Head Start:

Colorado expects to receive almost $8 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to expand capacity at pre-schools, improve services and establish advisory councils for early childhood programs. Administered by the Colorado Department of Human Services, $690,000 has been awarded to six Head Start programs.

Pell Grants:


Colorado students are expected to receive $131 million in additional grants. The maximum Pell Grant award will increase by $500 to $5,350 and will help more than 52,000 students in Colorado.


There also are tax credits for college tuition. The credit will be increased from $1800 to $2500 for families earning up to $180,000. All Colorado families who qualify for this tax credit will benefit from this increase.

Contact: Inta Morris, Colorado Department of Higher Education, 303-866-4031;


Work Study:  

Colorado students are expected to receive an estimated $2.7 million in federal work study grants through a competitive process through the Department of Higher Education. Contact: Inta Morris, Colorado Department of Higher Education, 303-866-4031;


National School Lunch Program: 

The U.S. Department of Education is distributing up to $1 million in Colorado in competitive grants to public and non-profit private schools and residential child care institutions, with priority given to schools that have at least 50 percent of students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch. The funds are used for equipment that will improve the quality of meals, safety of food served, energy efficiency of food service operations and expansion of the meal program. Grants were awarded in June 2009 to more than 30 school districts. Recipients are required to finish procurement and expenditure activities within three months of the grant award. Contact: Herminia Vigil, Colorado Dept. of Education, 303-866-6934,


Impact Aid Construction: 

Colorado has received $1 million in formula grants for emergency renovations and modernization projects. The Fountain-Fort Carson School District #8 in El Paso County has awarded three contracts: $176,000 to Weathercraft Company for roof replacement at Fountain Middle School, $383,142.50 to All Seasons Inc. to replace boilers at Jordahl Elementary, and $154,324 for classroom/library construction at Abrams Elementary. Two more projects are expected to be financed. These funds allowed the district to spend more on building a new school. More funds will be available through a competitive grant process in coming months. Contact: David Lyon, Co. Dept. of Education, 303-866-6836,


Teacher Incentive Fund:  

The U.S. Department of Education will distribute $200 million in competitive grants for programs that develop performance-based incentives for teachers and principals in high-need schools. This goes straight from the federal government to local school districts and non-profit groups.


Teacher Residency Program:
In April 2010, the U.S. Department of Education awarded Denver Public Schools an $8.2 million grant to expand its teacher residency program. The program is part of DOE’s Teacher Quality Partnership program. DPS will train dozens of new teachers to work in areas of critical need in the district.


Vocational Rehabilitation Grants:

The U.S. Department of Education is distributing an estimated $7.3 million in formula grants in Colorado for job training and services for the disabled. These funds will be handled by the Colorado Department of Education. Contact: Nancy Smith, Co. Department of Human Services, 303-866-4886,


Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems Grant:

The U.S. Department of Education is distributing $250 million nationwide in competitive grants to state education agencies for improving data systems to manage individual student data, including college readiness test scores and teacher identification data. Contact: Richard Wenning, Colorado Department of Education, 303-866-6764,