School system to “Race” for funds
By Kathryn Schiliro
The school system will throw its hat into the ring for Race to the Top–District Competition funds, Superintendent Dr. Ralph Bennett told the school board Monday night.
An initiative of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) and spin-off of the state competitions of the same name, funding is based on the size of school district or Local Education Agency (LEA), and Morgan County could be up for $5 million to $10 million.
The U.S. government allocated $550 million for Race to the Top competition. Of that, the DOE expects to dole out $383 million as part of the District Competition.
The focus of this grant competition is to encourage personalization in education, and the school system will have to address the following in its application: “the personalization of strategies, tools, and supports for students and educators that are aligned with college- and career-ready standards or college- and career-ready graduation requirements; accelerate student achievement and deepen student learning by meeting the academic needs of each student; increase the effectiveness of educators; expand student access to the most effective educators; decrease achievement gaps across student groups; and increase the rates at which students graduate from high school prepared for college and careers," according to the federal DOE's website.
"This is a rigorous grant application process," Bennett told the school board.
The Race to the Top funding is open to LEAs–public school districts–or to consortiums of LEAs; a school district can either apply individually or as part of a consortium, but not both. Morgan County will be applying for the funding on its own, not as part of a consortium.
To date, more than 800 LEAs and consortiums countrywide have announced their intention to apply as part of the Race to the Top–District Competition, Bennett said.
The school system has until the end of October to complete the application.
Printed in the September 13 edition.