Friday, May 21, 2010

Boards can opt out of Race to the Top support but face short deadline to do so

Formal vote required to rescind earlier support,
no action needed to stay in the hunt for $175 million

This from Brad Hughes at KSBA:

If any Kentucky school board wants to withdraw its support for the state’s second Race to the Top (RTTT) federal funding application, it must do so quickly and only after rescinding its original favorable vote.

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday released the “opt out” process details in his weekly Fast Five on Friday e-mail to superintendents and other state education leaders. The communication includes a form letter to be completed by the superintendent and board chairperson should the local leaders want to withdraw their original Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) adopted by all 174 boards, superintendents and local chapters of the Kentucky Education Association in December and January...

Superintendents and boards of education that remain in support of the state’s RTTT bid don’t have to take any action. However, any board that wants to rescind its support must act by next Friday, May 28 and only after the board official votes to void its original action backing the funding request.

The state Department of Education faces a June 1 deadline to submit a bid for up to $175 million, money considered critical to implement new systems for assessing student academic progress ...

That...had been held up in hopes that Gov. Beshear would add the creation of charter schools to the agenda of the special legislative session that opens Monday. Education Commissioner Terry Holliday has said he does not believe Kentucky’s RTTT application will be rated highly enough to gain funding without the allowance for charter schools... However, disagreement over the charter issue led the governor not to include the topic for consideration in the special session, which was called primarily to pass a state budget...

Over at Dr H's Blog, the Commish spent very little time licking his wounds,

This week, we are finishing up our second-round application for Race to the Top. Charter school legislation would certainly have helped us. However, that door has been closed, so it is time to move on to other doors. We are excited about numerous partnerships with national organizations that will help us move forward with innovations which will help more students be successful.

One exciting innovation is the P20 lab that the University of Kentucky has created. President Lee Todd and Dean Mary John O’Hair have invested significant resources
to develop this lab. Also, Kentucky was selected as one of five states to partner with the Council of Chief State School Officers and the Stupski Foundation to create “Next Generation Schools.” We have a team of UK staff and KDE staff meeting this week to discuss the next steps in creating next generation schools.

Another exciting opportunity is the National Council on Education and the Economy. Kentucky is one of eight states collaborating to develop ways that students can “move on when ready” in high school. This partnership will create exciting opportunities to ensure all graduates from Kentucky schools are ready for college and career...
Optimism is de rigeur at Prichard and Susan hasn't given up yet.

Word is that eight to ten states will likely receive grants in round two. Kentucky's round one score put us ninth overall and seventh among states that did not win that time. All states are working on strengthening their applications, and some could surge past us. Still, please do remember that we are improving all the small weaknesses in our application, and know that there is serious work underway to make our evaluation section clearer and stronger.
Her math is correct. And, a number of states have been in the news recently for having bailed out of round 2. It's hard to predict who has improved and how much but fingers are crossed.