DN board approves BEST grant support

DEL NORTE—The Del Norte Board of Education continues to take steps towards their hopes of acquiring a BEST (Building Excellent Schools Today) Grant after a previous application was denied. During the Thursday, Feb. 23 meeting the board heard an update on the process from Superintendent Chris Burr and took measures towards moving the process forward.

Upon Burr’s recommendation the board approved the purchase of BEST Grant application support in the amount of $40,000. This will help to give the district a decent chance at gaining the grant.

The board of education has been in conversation about pursuing a BEST Grant since early October 2016. The funds will be used to construct a new school building and/or facilities.

In previous years the board had tried to acquire a BEST Grant but were unsuccessful. This time around the district is seeking funding to build one new K-12 facility rather than trying to win funds to rebuild every building. This is an important modification due to the town’s and school’s population. Board members and consultants believe this will help Del Norte’s request seem more reasonable to the state.

Having one building will also help save the district hundreds of thousands of dollars in operating expenses.

The district also believes they are in a great position financially to apply for the grant. Previous boards of education in Del Norte had the foresight to gain financial footing before talking about growth. As a result an override was approved in Del Norte and is a major difference between this district and others in the Valley who have built the buildings but then run into operating issues.

The district is in its second year of growth and stabilized. Therefore, the board does not believe they will run into any major financial issues and will not even be close to reaching its financial capacity as they continue to pursue the project.