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Georgia, South Carolina lose out on school grants

States wait for round two of Race to the Top

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Georgia and South Carolina lost out Monday in the first phase of federal Race to the Top funding, but it's not the end of the road for the states or two local school districts.

Richmond County schools Superintendent Dana Bedden, whose district was among 40 that joined Georgia's application for the grant, called Monday's announcement "just a bump in the road." He said he would again ask the county school board to consider applying with the state for a second, larger phase of Race to the Top funding to be awarded in the fall.

Bedden said the fact that Georgia ranked third in the first phase, just behind the two winners -- Delaware (which received $100 million) and Tennessee (which took $500 million) -- is a good sign.

"That's a strong showing," he said.

The $4.35 billion Race to the Top school reform initiative was unveiled last year by the Obama administration and partly focuses on turning around lowest- achieving schools. States are judged on their ideas for improvements.

The second funding phase has $3.4 billion available to states.

Richmond County officials aren't sure how much money they might receive if Georgia is approved, but in the first phase Georgia stood to gain between $200 million and $400 million over four years, with half being divvied up among the 40 individual school districts.

Aiken County school officials said in December that they could receive as much as $6 million if their state won a first-round grant.

Columbia County didn't apply.

South Carolina finished sixth out of the 16 finalists. King Laurence, Aiken County's federal programs director, was in Washington for the announcement and didn't respond to e-mails.

South Carolina will make a decision about entering the second round of competition for the grants within the next month, said Jim Foster, the state Education Department's spokesman. He said that if the state reapplies, the application would be redrafted and school districts would be asked again whether they will endorse participation.

Georgia Superintendent Kathy Cox said her state will work on perfecting its second-phase application, due June 1.

"It is unfortunate that Georgia was not named a winner for Race to the Top funds, but I know we are well positioned to be in contention for the next round of funding," she said in a statement.

Message sent

ATLANTA - Federal officials on Monday awarded Tennessee and Delaware $600 million in grants to improve failing schools, sending a message to other states hoping to win money: Revamp your education laws and get your districts and teachers to sign off.

Both states were lauded for their merit pay policies that link teacher pay to student performance and their charter school laws that are welcoming to the nontraditional education models.

But they also were winners because they had every school district approve their applications, which meant their reforms could touch every student rather than be limited to a handful of districts.

The states also got buy-in from nearly all of their teachers' unions and from every school district, a move that helped them stand out from the other 14 finalists for the unprecedented grant program.

The third- and fourth-place finishers - Georgia and Florida - both had opposition from some of their largest teachers groups.

- Associated Press

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Asitisinaug
3
Points
Asitisinaug 03/30/10 - 01:40 am
0
0
Well one thing is for

Well one thing is for sure----this is certainly and Obama Style program because it rewards schools that fail by giving them more money just as it rewards those who don't work with more money for housing, food, etc. so as not to cut into the funds needed for alcohol, cigarettes, etc. and rewards those who have more children with more money and more tax credits and now is rewarding those who fail to buy insurance (but somehow have money for their cell phone payments) with insurance on behalf of the tax payers. The rewarding of bad behavior with tax money exsists in all administrations but this one has gone over the top and is doing everything possible to reward the negative and punish the positive hard working middle class Americans. Obama, Pelosi, Reid, Frank, etc. have greatly harmed America and in a year have spent more than Bush, Clinton or Carter spent during their entire administrations.

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 03/30/10 - 02:58 am
0
0
wow asitisinaug...obamas

wow asitisinaug...obamas fault?...rewarding bad behavior?...republicans are rewarded all the time for bad behavior...is that obamas fault too?

charliemanson
1
Points
charliemanson 03/30/10 - 03:34 am
0
0
Asis: interesting that you

Asis: interesting that you will singled out the poor but make no mention of the banks, insurance companies and automobile industry that got rewarded with billions of your hard-earned tax dollars through the various, bailout programs. Money that you - the taxpayer - will never get back!

msgret92
121
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msgret92 03/30/10 - 05:20 am
0
0
charliemanson: You need to

charliemanson: You need to get your facts straight. Though I was against the bailouts, several banks have already paid back their portion and stock in some others is now being sold by the government with the potential to make billions more. Additionally they will probably sell their interest in the auto makers making more. However the money is not benefiting the taxpayers or paying down the debt it is being considered found money to pay for more entitlement programs.

disssman
6
Points
disssman 03/30/10 - 06:30 am
0
0
msgret92. I assume you mean

msgret92. I assume you mean big, farmers, owners of large tracts of forrest and small businesses having less than 400 employees will be funded by the "found money". By the way where did you find a definition for found money in the treasury? I always thought it was the general revenue tax fund.

bentman
466
Points
bentman 03/30/10 - 08:23 am
0
0
Just wait. We'll eventually

Just wait. We'll eventually get ur fix.

Little Lamb
48004
Points
Little Lamb 03/30/10 - 09:40 am
0
0
The trouble with these

The trouble with these government grants is that they come with a lot of strings attached. The school system will have to hire an office in the administration building to do the recordkeeping for the program. They will have to set up special facilities. They will have to purchase special supplies. They will have to add one or more professional staff. Then the grant money will disappear in four years and the program will be institutionalized by then. The poor Richmond County property tax payer will be saddled with the costs when the grant money fades away.

veggie-d
0
Points
veggie-d 03/30/10 - 02:30 pm
0
0
asis...you mentioned

asis...you mentioned cigarettes...ever wonder WHO owns that business? - they are republicans...same ones complaining about the health care bill while poisoning citizens/the economy daily...all the profit...NONE of the responsibility! give'em cancer...and watch'em die! how bout TAX cigarettes/and the companies at about $10 a pack and PAY for the health bill with plenty to spare! but the republican puppets in d.c. who have tobacco pulling their strings would NEVER let that happen...would they? make a mess and do nothing to clean it up...just like the daily killing in iraq...

corgimom
36801
Points
corgimom 03/30/10 - 06:05 pm
0
0
Please, AC, please do a story

Please, AC, please do a story on how much money was spent applying for the grants. Taxpayers have a right to know how much money the school district is throwing away on applying for grants that are never awarded.

ron_rlw
1
Points
ron_rlw 03/30/10 - 06:10 pm
0
0
corgimon ... the grants are

corgimon ... the grants are awared. The problem with this particlar grant was that only 2 states recieved the money (about $600M). Obama has set the standards that those that recieve the money must meet ... some of those standards aren't that great others are fairly good.

But on the whole it looks as if Obama is using the grants to mold the education system into what he wants it to be ... that's the biggest problems with Obama's "race to the top" grants.

lifelongresidient
0
Points
lifelongresidient 03/31/10 - 07:34 am
0
0
let's see richmond cnty

let's see richmond cnty applied for "race for the top" grants which are designed for the LOWEST PERFORMING SCHOOLS/SCHOOL DISTRICTS...let's see the way ms. cain sez it all the schools are performing just fine.....you know laney the one with a 55% graduation rate...probably done by dumbing down the curriculum, josey you know the one not making ayp for the past 3-5 years now under state directive...you know the rest of the traditional high schools that failed to meet ayp...so what is it ms. cain is there a problem or not??? if there wasn't a problem then why apply for the grants?? if there is a problem just admit there is and take steps to correct the problem...1 step which doesn't cost any thing would be to expell all disruptive, violent and disrespectful students immediately...that probably would be about 50% of the entire student population

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