Georgia will get funding

Education grant amount, requirements unknown; S. Carolina rejected again

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Georgia was among 10 winners of the federal Race to the Top competition's second round Tuesday, but South Carolina wasn't. That means Richmond County and not Aiken County schools will receive part of the reform money.

"That should help a lot," said Richmond County school board member Barbara Pulliam, but she noted she will first want to see the details of how the money would be used locally.

Earlier this year, the school boards in Richmond and Aiken counties agreed to join their states' first-round application for funds in the $4.35 billion Obama administration initiative. Both counties were automatically included in second-round application after Georgia and South Carolina missed the first-round cut. Columbia County didn't apply.

Richmond County board member Patsy Scott said she was "excited" about Georgia's selection and that her school system has started implementing some of the reforms the grant would fund.

Georgia ranked eighth Tuesday behind states including Massachusetts and New York. South Carolina scored just 9.8 points short, on a 500-point scale, of winning up to $175 million, finishing 14th among 19 finalists.

Aiken County Superintendent Beth Everitt said the thrust of Aiken's initiatives won't change despite South Carolina not being awarded the grants.

Still, "it would have been nice to have funding to enhance and fulfill initiatives we're already pursuing," she said.

Officials said it was still uncertain how much funding Richmond County will receive. Georgia could be awarded as much as $400 million over four years, but that exact figure also remains undetermined.

Half of what is granted to Georgia will go to the 26 districts that applied with the state.

Richmond County officials have said in the past that reforms tied to the money would focus on turning around its lowest-achieving schools, involving the option of four federal models, one that calls for retaining no more than 50 percent of a school's staff.

A similar plan has taken place at Laney High School this school year through a separate federal school improvement grant.

Despite some unrest resulting from that plan, board member Jack Padgett said that as long as the district's administration takes an active role in implementing the grant, the system should take the Race to the Top money.

"I think the problems we had with the other grant (at Laney), hopefully, have been ironed out," Padgett said, later adding, "What you had there was a school principal making a decision -- not necessarily a wrong decision, but the image of it was terrible. I think with (Race to the Top), we'll keep a much closer eye on it."

Padgett was referring to a team-building retreat Laney officials recently took to a Ritz Carlton at Lake Oconee as part of their school improvement grant.

Superintendent Frank Roberson said the district's implementation of the grant will be a priority for him.

"Any of those things that will allow us to enhance the skills and knowledge of Richmond County students will certainly claim my efforts and attention," he said.

Roberson, who started in his new job Monday, said he wants to examine Georgia's application to see what the grant requires of Richmond County before he can explain in detail how the district will benefit.

As for South Carolina, state Superintendent Jim Rex said in a news release that he was disappointed and surprised by Tuesday's list of winners, noting that the state had placed sixth in the first round "and significantly improved our proposal for Round 2. National education experts who handicapped the competition ... seemed to think South Carolina was a lock to win."

Despite the result, Rex remained optimistic about the state's efforts to improve student achievement.

He pointed out that South Carolina is part of two groups of states still competing for a share of a separate $350 million pot of Race to the Top money, to be awarded to the best proposals for developing new college- and career-ready assessments.

Georgia also is applying for this money. The U.S. Department of Education said Tuesday that it expects to announce winners in September.

As superintendent of Marlboro County school district in Bennettsville, S.C., Roberson was part of the team making South Carolina's case for receiving the grant money to federal reviewers in Washington earlier this month.

He said South Carolina officials should take heart in the fact that the state was twice a finalist for the money and that it only narrowly missed getting a grant the second time around.

"My wish would be that the state does not consider this a final 'no,' but to look at future opportunities," he said.

Tuesday's announcement marks the end of the second and final phase for Race to the Top in the current fiscal year.

President Obama has requested another $1.35 billion to pay for the grant competition in fiscal 2011. That request is part of ongoing budget negotiations in Congress.

The Winners

FIRST ROUND (announced in March)

1. Delaware: 454.6 points, awarded $100 million

2. Tennessee: 444.2 points, $500 million

SECOND ROUND (announced Tuesday)

1. Massachusetts: 471 points, awarded up to $250 million

2. New York: 464.8 points, up to $700 million

3. Hawaii: 462.4 points, up to $75 million

4. Florida: 452.4 points, up to $700 million

5. Rhode Island: 451.2 points, up to $75 million

6. (tie) District of Columbia: 450 points, up to $75 million

6. (tie) Maryland: 450 points, up to $250 million

8. Georgia: 446.4 points, up to $400 million

9. North Carolina: 441.6 points, up to $400 million

10. Ohio: 440.8 points, up to $400 million

Notes: Scores are on a 500-point scale. Exact amounts of awards will be determined later.

Source: U.S. Department of Education

Comments (21) Add comment
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getalife
4
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getalife 08/24/10 - 10:35 am
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What can the money be used

What can the money be used for? This article creates more questions than it answers.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 08/24/10 - 10:37 am
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Maybe this money could be

Maybe this money could be used for spelling classes for the AC staff? "The U.S. Education Department says nine states -- including Gerogia"

Chillen
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Chillen 08/24/10 - 10:45 am
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The federal government is

The federal government is taking over education.

How you ask? By making the states an "offer" they can't refuse. Returning their citizens hard earned tax money to the rightful state --- with conditions --- federal rules, regulations & control. And the threat of spending the money anyway & just giving it to another state.

Within 10 years I'll bet there will be little state control over education. Instead they'll be a plethora of czars overseeing it.

Wake up America! The federal government will soon run everything if they keep it up. You are allowing this to happen.

townes22
2
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townes22 08/24/10 - 11:16 am
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We need the money for text

We need the money for text books, computers, copy paper, ect. I'm a teacher and unfortunately don't have any of those things...not to mention the 8 furlough days.

NotReallyGA
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NotReallyGA 08/24/10 - 11:35 am
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Looks over at chillen and

Looks over at chillen and says: "BOO" you skurred?

NotReallyGA
0
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NotReallyGA 08/24/10 - 11:38 am
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So many of you on the right

So many of you on the right just LIVING IN DAILY FEAR. I guess Limbaugh, Beck, Hannity are doing their job. Feeding DAILY FEAR to their listeners the world is going to end.

mybaskett
231
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mybaskett 08/24/10 - 11:53 am
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NotReallyGa If it sounds too

NotReallyGa If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 08/24/10 - 01:38 pm
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NotReally, Chillin forgot to

NotReally, Chillin forgot to mention that it is Obama's fault. It's ALWAYS his fault.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 08/24/10 - 01:54 pm
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I didn't see what notreally

I didn't see what notreally wrote because that racist poster is on my ignore list. But Augustavoter, I did see yours.

Just wanted to say that "you said it" not me. Obviously you are just another big government, big tax lover. You are part of the problem, not the solution.

AugustaVoter
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AugustaVoter 08/24/10 - 04:49 pm
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I see that our gas prices are

I see that our gas prices are not $4 a gallon now that Bush left office. I also see that the economy has stopped sliding down overall since big business doesn't have to spend so much money on fuel. Oil Man Bush started this mess by lining his pockets with the help of OPEC and Obama was left to clean up the mess. You know like after a hurricane? The storm causes massive damage, then someone has to come in to clean up afterwards. Bush= Hurricane, Obama= Cleanup the mess.

corgimom
36720
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corgimom 08/24/10 - 05:12 pm
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"Within 10 years I'll bet

"Within 10 years I'll bet there will be little state control over education. Instead they'll be a plethora of czars overseeing it."

Chillen- what do you think NCLB did to school systems? You talk about "10 years from now"- no, it's already happened.

AugustaVoter
2
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AugustaVoter 08/24/10 - 05:32 pm
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You are right Corgi. Teachers

You are right Corgi. Teachers can't teach. Hands are too tied up. BTW, Bush started that program. But it is Obama's fault!

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 08/24/10 - 07:54 pm
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How much do you want to bet

How much do you want to bet high performing schools don't see a dime of this money?? Another federal funded plan to throw money at failing schools were the kids will just steal, break, or misuse whatever is bought for them. Schools systems that are actually performing well the state will just keep on depending on the parents to keep paying those property taxes. It's disgusting watching the so called "poor" and "underprivilaged" school systems continue to rack in the benefits of "free" money.

KSL
140335
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KSL 08/24/10 - 07:58 pm
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Reward failure. Punish

Reward failure. Punish success. That's the current American way.

KSL
140335
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KSL 08/24/10 - 08:00 pm
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No, no, no, Augustavoter. Go

No, no, no, Augustavoter. Go back to Carter and his Department of Education. Carter, who was not the person you probably thought he was.

mrrhodes89
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mrrhodes89 08/25/10 - 09:13 am
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I wonder if these funds will

I wonder if these funds will be used to help start up the merit pay talks again?
Yes, Carter started the Department of Education. And Reagan campaigned to abolish it. And Bush. And its still here. Why get rid of a Federal Department you can hire all of your political supporters and friends to run?

lifelongresidient
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lifelongresidient 08/25/10 - 09:23 am
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townes, i feel for you and

townes, i feel for you and agree with you 1000% and the blame sits squarely on the shoulders of you school board, they thrust you directly into a "gun fight" which is the responsibility of educating children and the only weapon you are given is a dull rusted pocket knife and expect you to come out victorious. scooby, your post also is right on the money, the mindset of the school board is do whatever necessary, even if it means continiously "dumbing down" the curriculum, keeping the under-performining or non-performing students in class in order to keep the graduation rates and test scores low as a means to obtain more money to waste on useless, wasteful programs that offer little or any positive benefits or return to the taxpayer whose hard earned tax dollars are being TAKEN and given to schools that shouldn't be open in the first place...scooby you are right, johnson/davidson/walker will not see any of this money, chances are they too are suffering from shortages of supplies and textbooks, they too probably have lost teachers due to layoffs and will be furloughed as well. lets just keep our fingers crossed that the state will step in to remove some or all of the board members before the district loses it's accredidation...but there will still be football on fri/sat nites

getalife
4
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getalife 08/25/10 - 10:05 am
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If the money only goes to

If the money only goes to failing schools, then that is another example of Obama's spreading the wealth. This is taxpayer's money and we all are paying for this. Many of these failing schools are in areas where the kids and the parents don't care about education. Education is the very thing that can free them from their entitlement slavery.

lemon42
0
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lemon42 08/25/10 - 10:29 am
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Wow, I'd hate to live in the

Wow, I'd hate to live in the world that some of you would like to live in. You talk about not funding the schools in poor neighborhoods. So if you are poor then you won't have an opportunity to have a decent education? I guess if you were lucky to be born in a middle / upper class family then you are considered worthy to have federal funds spent on you.

Of course your dream is to just not spend any money on the poor cause they don't want to be in school anyways. I can tell you from my own personal experience of going to a privileged school that there were just as many drug and crime problems there as at any Richmond county school just mommy and daddy could hire a lawyer to sweep those problems under the rug.

Just remember, it's to everybody's benefit for as many people as possible to be educated and employed.

scoobynews
3896
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scoobynews 08/25/10 - 07:15 pm
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Lemon - You have no clue. I

Lemon - You have no clue. I WORK and struggle just like everyone else. I attended a poor rural school and we sure as heck didn't have half what these kids have today. I am personally tired of seeing money sunk into so called "impoverished" schools. These places usually have more technology and supplies than most performing schools. Why? Because they qualify for way more $$ than the schools that perform. The government figures that if the school is meeting AYP then someone is doing something right so why spend any extra money on them. What they fail to see is that it is PARENTS and teachers who are spending THIER money in order to help these kids succeed. What reward do performing kids get? A pat on the back. They need ENRICHMENT. I just want to the money to be given out fairly to ALL schools in Georgia and not all dumped into these so called "poor" schools.

lemon42
0
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lemon42 08/26/10 - 12:18 pm
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by their money are you saying

by their money are you saying property taxes? as in taxes to the government? as in government money? which is different from income taxes? from those same people to the government as in government money?

Do you seriously think that Greenbrier high school has less money going into it than Josey? If that were the case, then they are not spending the money on the school. But then again, you only see what you want to see.

Also I think that your historical reference may be skewed as you probably had to walk uphill in snow both ways on your way to school.

The point is that depending on where you live you don't get the same education. That is based on property taxes. What they are trying to do is make it so that everybody has the same starting point. I know that it's impossible but at least try to.

What I'm saying is that the money currently is not given out fairly as the people in the rich neighborhoods have the best funding while performing kids who are in the impoverished schools get little funding. This is an attempt to give them that funding.

If it's so well funded there why don't you send your kids there? Since you say all they need is encouragement.

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