State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna told a joint meeting of the House and Senate education committees this morning that the federal “Race to the Top” grants - which are offering $4.35 billion in stimulus funds through competitive grants - may be “the only way we will get more money into public education in the next two to four years.” Does Idaho have a chance of getting the money? “We have a 100 percent chance of receiving nothing if we don’t apply,” Luna said.
So far, 63 school districts have signed on to the state’s grant application - that’s as of yesterday. The deadline is noon today. Idaho’s application includes a pilot project in incentive pay for teachers and principals. If the state gets the money, Luna said, “We will know whether pay for performance works in Idaho.” Also included are school improvement efforts; college and career readiness programs starting in middle grades; and dual credit opportunities. The first round of federal grants will be awarded in April; states that don’t get in on that can reapply in June.
Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.
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