It seems some of the nine states who are eligible to share a Race to the Top consolation prize are looking at the $200 million Education Secretary Arne Duncan has offerred them with a wary eye. After all, the most any of the states would likely get is $50 million, and some could wind up with as little as $10 million.
South Carolina already says it has no interest in the money.
Now, Pennsylvania officials are telling me they might apply, but will not be submitting any part of the old application, which failed to win a share of the original $4 billion pot. The state's Race to the Top plans were crafted under the Democratic administration of former Gov. Ed Rendell. Now, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett is running the show. Any proposal would be an entirely new one, Pennsylvania Department of Education spokesman Timothy Eller said. That would conflict with what the U.S. Department of Education wants to do with the money, which is to let states implement part of their original plans as part of this latest round.
Kentucky's participation isn't a sure thing either. State education department spokeswoman Lisa Gross told us the state is always on the lookout for additional funding streams, but would review the offer "closely."
And the National Governors Association, in general, is clearly perturbed at how this whole thing went down—and by that we mean that governors, who will be the ones applying for this money, seemed to have been left out of any decision-making process. NGA spokeswoman Jodi Omear sent me this statement yesterday:
Gross told the Herald-Leader that the criteria Washington might use to pick winners are not yet known.The timing of today's announcement was surprising given that just last week the Department of Education asked for gubernatorial input to help determine how best to implement the third round of the Race to the Top program...Justin Hamilton, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education, said the department meant no slight...
"We really haven't had time to look at it yet to see if it's worthwhile," Gross said. "Depending on what the criteria are, that might influence us as to whether we apply."
Kentucky lost out in the first two rounds of Race to the Top mainly because the state has no provision for charter schools. If charters remain a key requirement in the third round, it might not be beneficial for Kentucky to apply, Gross said.
Kentucky had hoped to win almost $200 million in the first round in spring 2010.
With nine states competing for a total of $200 million in the third round, "we're not talking about a huge pile of money," Gross said.
On the other hand, Kentucky still needs money to implement Senate Bill 1, the education-reform program that kicks in for the 2011-12 school year.
"State funding remains tight, so any additional funding that we could access would be worthwhile," Gross said. "Money is money."...