PUEBLO, Colo. (KRDO) -- Governor Jared Polis visited Pueblo on Wednesday where he met with small business owners and signed several bills, including bills to create a Front Range Rail District and improve education.
At Risley International Academy of Innovation, Polis signed the Fifth-day School Enrichment Programs Funding bill and the Increasing Access To High-Quality Credentials bill.
HB21-1006 creates the fifth-day academic enrichment and support grant program, which awards grants to eligible community-based nonprofit organizations that provide supplemental educational programs for students in preschool through high school.
This will provide organizations, like the Boys and Girls Club in Pueblo, with funding for meals, career readiness, and academic enrichment on the fifth day of the work-week.
In Colorado, 111 school districts follow a four-day school week, including Pueblo School Districts 60 and 70. A four-day workweek can sometimes pose a challenge to parents who struggle to find childcare during the fifth day of the week.
To be eligible for the grant, organizations must have experience providing after-school programs, must serve a majority of low-income students, and have a relationship with the local school district that serves children in the program.
Also at Risley, Polis signed the Increasing Access to High-Quality Credentials. SB-21119 will provide financial incentives for participating school districts and participating charter schools to encourage high school students to enroll and complete programs like internships, residencies, and pre-apprenticeships.
At the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #12, Polis signed the Additional Funding For Just Transition bill.
HB21-1290 furthers Colorado's goal to transition away from fossil fuel by providing funding to help coal transition workers and coal transition communities.
This bill makes general fund transfers of $8 million to the transition cash fund and $7 million to a newly created coal transition worker assistance program account fund. Funding will go to assistance programs for workers and, if any money remains, it will go towards supporting family and other household members of coal transition workers. It will also create and implement a pilot program to test innovative coal transition work support programs.
The final bill Polis signed in Pueblo was the Create Front Range Passenger Rail District, SB21-238. The $5.3 billion transportation bill seeks to establish a Front Range Passenger Rail District, which would lay the groundwork for the development of a passenger rail.
Under the bill, the district will conduct the necessary research, development, construction, financing, operation, and maintenance of the Front Range Passenger rail system, which would stretch the length of Colorado along the I-25 corridor, including Pueblo.
The district will be governed by a board of directors composed of eight appointees of transportation planning organizations that have jurisdiction within the territory of the district, six appointees of the governor who must have professional experience or expertise in specified areas, an appointee of the executive director of CDOT, and a nonvoting representative of RTD.
The board is expected to be fully appointed by April 1, 2022, with a first meeting no later than May 15, 2022.