Colorado schools still struggling despite pot tax revenue

Updated April 28, 2018 - 6:17 pm

DENVER — Colorado teachers are protesting this week for higher salaries and increased money for schools, prompting questions about why the state’s booming marijuana sales have not fixed the funding problems.

The 2012 voter-approved constitutional amendment that allowed adults to buy marijuana got a boost from a commitment to send millions of dollars to Colorado schools.

But that requirement amounts to less than 2 percent of the state’s multibillion-dollar education budget, and other marijuana taxes don’t make up the shortfall between what schools need and the state money they get.

In Nevada’s Clark County, the school board recently called for the Nevada Legislature to take action on education funding in the midst of teacher walkouts and protests nationwide. The seven trustees said money from marijuana and room taxes — which they said voters approved specifically to raise education spending — has supplanted funding.

Here are things to know about the relationship between marijuana taxes and Colorado education funding:

How is marijuana taxed?

The first is a 15 percent excise tax charged when marijuana is sold by a grower to a retail store or a business that makes products like candies, lotion or wax that can be smoked or vaporized.

It is based on the state’s calculation of the average market rate for recreational marijuana. Medical pot isn’t subject to the tax.

Customers then pay a 15 percent sales tax when buying recreational marijuana or products.

People buying medical marijuana or products are only charged the state’s general 2.9 percent sales tax, plus any local sales taxes.

Where do the taxes on marijuana go?

The marijuana amendment that voters approved required the first $40 million in taxes on wholesale marijuana to go into a fund for school construction or maintenance.

Dividing up the state sales taxes on marijuana gets more complicated. Ten percent automatically goes to local governments. A $30 million contribution to a state public school fund controlled by the Department of Education also is required.

Starting this fiscal year, the department will distribute that money to all school districts. In the past, the money could only go to rural school districts.

About 72 percent of the remaining sales taxes go into a fund for various programs on substance abuse prevention and treatment, health care and health education.

The education department can apply for a share of that money but competes with other agencies.

The remaining 15.5 percent of marijuana sales taxes goes into the state’s general fund.

Why didn’t marijuana taxes solve the education funding problems?

Superintendents have described the marijuana taxes that flow to schools as a “drop in the bucket.”

While the Department of Revenue reported a record $1.5 billion in marijuana sales last year, the state collected about $247 million in taxes and fees .

That’s far lower than the $822 million that Colorado underfunds its schools by each year.

The 2017 state budget provided $5.6 billion for K-12 education that went to the education department, the Charter School Institute and the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.

Marijuana tax revenue provided $90.3 million of that total, or about 1.6 percent.

How do school districts use the marijuana tax money they get?

Public school districts and charter schools can apply for a portion of the $40 million designated for school construction or maintenance each year.

Schools report that their needs far exceed that amount. According to a statewide assessment, schools had about $18 billion in capital construction needs through the end of this year.

Projects awarded a share of the money in 2017 included roof replacements, upgraded electrical service and asbestos abatement.

The education department also has received some grants from the marijuana sales tax fund. Examples include grants focused on behavioral health in schools, a bullying prevention program and K-3 reading programs.

— The Review-Journal contributed to this report.

ad-high_impact_4
News
Las Vegas shooting survivor has surprise reunion
Oct. 1 mass shooting survivors Taylor Stovall and Parker Gabel meet for the first time since Gabel helped the injured Stovall to an ambulance the night of the shooting. Stovall, then 17, was shot in the arm. They met Friday at the Tropicana.
Hawaii volcano presser
Talmadge Magno of Hawaii Civil Defense gives an update on the Kilauea volcano
Same-Sex Weddings on the Rise in Las Vegas
Allie and Tara Shima finally tied the knot. They've been together for five years and have both been married before. This time, they wanted something simple, quick and cheap, but it still had to feel special. The couple chose Las Vegas. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Courtyard Homeless Resource Center begins building in Las Vegas
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman and Ward 3 Councilman Bob Coffin kicked off the demolition of buildings where the Courtyard Homeless Resource Center will be built. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
"Yanny" or "Laurel" hearing test has gone viral
'Yanny' or 'Laurel?' This Hearing Test Has Gone Viral This hearing test has gone viral on social media with some hearing "Yanny" while others swear hearing "Laurel." The voice is actually saying "Laurel," but the pitch was changed, causing some to hear "Yanny."
LVMPD Briefs on Year's Sixth Officer-Involved Shooting
Las Vegas police have identified the officer who shot a shovel-wielding woman on Saturday as 23-year-old Ondre Wills.
Police release body camera footage of shovel-wielding woman
Las Vegas police identified the woman they said threatened neighbors with a skillet Saturday night. Officer Ondre Wills, 23, shot at Sommer Richards, 34, multiple times on Big Sur Drive, near Nellis Boulevard and Desert Inn Road. Police responded to the area after receiving reports that the woman was armed with a shovel. Police said the woman chased neighbors and a security guard. Wills got between Richards and the others and repeatedly told her to drop the shovel. The woman instead turned and moved toward a person who was standing nearby before the officer fired shots. Police said she bit another officer as he attempted to render aid. Richards remains in serious but stable condition.
College of Southern Nevada Graduates 2017-18 Class
The College of Southern Nevada's graduation ceremony was held at the Thomas & Mack Center Monday. The 2017-18 class was the institution's largest in history. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Metro looking for suspect in bank robbery.
On Jan. 22, a man robbed a bank in the 8700 block of West Sahara Avenue.
Former Gov. Mike Huckabee at opening of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, at opening ceremony of U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem, speaks about the violence in Gaza. (Debra J. Saunders/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Supreme Court strikes down law banning sports betting outside Nevada
The Supreme Court has overturned a federal ban on sports gambling. States other than Nevada will be allowed to provide bookmaking and betting at casinos and race tracks. Justice Samuel Alito said Congress can regulate sports gambling directly, but if it elects not to do so, “each State is free to act on its own.” The vote was 6-3. One research firm estimates that 32 states will likely offer sports betting within five years.
Westcare Clinic Crucial to Las Vegan's Addiction Recovery
Christian Hunt, 21, was sent to Westcare in September after he ended up on drugs and in the hospital. If it weren't for the nonprofit's Community Triage Center, Hunt said he would still be using drugs. Instead, he's been sober for six months, and stopped using methamphetamines seven months ago. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Foundation Provides Full Rides for Clark County Students
Somewhere along the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky, a group of students from Sin City are pursuing a higher education. Feature on the 38 Clark County students that the Rogers Foundation has given full rides to for Kentucky Wesleyan College. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Flames engulf house in Henderson
Clark County firefighters battled a house fire early Friday morning in Henderson. The house, located near Volunteer Boulevard and Executive Airport Drive, was fully engulfed in flames about 2 a.m. Shifting winds sent massive plumes of smoke across the southern Las Vegas Valley sky. As of 3 a.m. , the cause of the fire was not known and no injuries were reported.
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time
Harvey Weinstein’s Estranged Wife Speaks Out for First Time Georgina Chapman was profiled for 'Vogue’s' June issue, speaking on her estranged husband for the first time since he was accused of sexual assault in October. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Chapman, who has two children with Weinstein, also said she has been seeing a therapist and that has helped her move forward. Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Georgina Chapman, to Vogue Read the full profile on Chapman in Vogue’s June issue or online at Vogue.com.
Bark-Andre Furry the dog is a Vegas Golden Knights hockey fan
The furriest fan of the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights is growing into a social media sensation. Bark-Andre Furry the Jack Russell terrier has thousands of followers on Twitter and Instagram. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect Sought In Robbery Attempt
Attorney Gloria Allred on case against Benjamin Sparks
Attorney Gloria Allred is representing the victim in a "sex slave" case against GOP political consultant Benjamin Sparks.
2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards winners
Some winners of the 2018 Las Vegas Review-Journal High School Journalism Awards receive their awards.
Weather Balloon Collects Key Data
Meteorologist Chelsea Kryston discusses the Las Vegas National Weather Service's balloon carrying a radiosonde that collects temperature, humidity and pressure readings.
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark
'Avengers: Infinity War' to Cross $1 Billion Mark And it will have done so faster than any other film in history. The Anthony and Joe Russo directed film has only been in theaters for eight days since its Apr. 27 release, and it’s already raked in $905.1 million at the worldwide box office, including $338.4 million in North America. It will reach the milestone faster than ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens,’ which took 12 days to cross over the $1 billion threshold. ‘Infinity War’ is the 34th film to cross $1 billion at the global box office, not accounting for inflation.
Henderson Residents Fighting Their HOA
Sun City Anthem residents Tim Stebbins and Bob Frank were arrested by the Henderson Police Department for filing a false report of a crime after they claimed their HOA was hiding surplus assessments in a secret slush fund. Nearly a decade later, Frank is still trying to clear his name. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UNLV Professor Retiring After 50 Years
Professor Bernard Malamud reflects on his 50 years teaching economics at UNLV and what it's been like watching to school and the city grow.
Donald Trump recognizes Jon Ponder of Hope for Prisoners
Former bank robber Jon Ponder, now CEO of Hope for Prisoners, is recognized by President Donald Trump at the White House Rose Garden. Debra J. Saunders/ Las Vegas Review-Journal
Motorcyclist suffers severe head injury
A crash early Friday morning has left a motorcyclist hospitalized with a serious head injury, according to Las Vegas police. The crash occurred in the southwest valley at Durango Drive and the 215 Beltway, and was reported around 1:30 a.m. Police are investigating and one lane of the eastbound 215 offramp has been shut down.
Woman stabbed in the stomach
Las Vegas police are looking for the suspect who stabbed a woman in the stomach during a street robbery Friday morning in the central valley. The 37-year-old woman walked into the 7-Eleven at 531 E. Sahara Ave., around 1:30 a.m. with a wound to her abdomen, according to police. She was taken to a local hospital and is expected to survive her wound. The stabber remains at-large.
Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Trump Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize Eighteen House members sent a letter to the Nobel Committee in Norway, recommending President Donald Trump for the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize. The letter was signed by Rep. Luke Messer and other GOP members, according to the New York Post. Letter to Nobel Committee This week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Trump deserved the nomination, as well, for his efforts to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons. Trump is set to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un soon.
Bodycam video: Las Vegas police breach gunman’s door during Oct. 1 shooting
Las Vegas police released body camera footage that depicts the moment officers breached Oct. 1 gunman Stephen Paddock’s Mandalay Bay suite.
McCaw School of Mines welcomes its 100,000th visitor
The McCaw School of Mines simulated underground mine attraction has been welcoming field trips and other visitors since 1996. On April 30, they welcomed the 100,000th visitor. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Las Vegas Academy learns to Stop the Bleed
Teachers, faculty and staff at Las Vegas Academy and other schools in the Clark County School District are undergoing "Stop the Bleed" training. Participants learn to apply a tourniquet, pack a wound and apply pressure to stop bleeding. K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
ad-infeed_1
ads_infeed_2
Local Spotlight
Events
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like