Flickr photo by Woodley Wonderworks
It appears that the quest to get $416 million in federal aid for California schools wasn't exactly a walk in the park.
As first reported by Education Week, state education officials had to revise their application for School Improvement Grant money four times after turning it into the U.S. Department of Education on March 26. The state's last revision came on June 16, eight days before receiving approval for the grant.
According to documents filed with the state board of education, federal officials raised multiple concerns with the state's grant application. In one instance, the state had to revise language in its proposal that seemed to force closure upon charter schools on the state's "under-performing" list. In another instance, the proposal had to clearly mandate that districts provide a school-by-school budget for each campus receiving federal money. Federal Feedback to SIG Application
Schools receiving the SIG funds could get between $50,000 to $2 million per year for up to three years. They must agree to adopt one of four reform strategies, which include:
Firing the principal and at least half of the staff
Closing and re-opening as a charter school
Permanently shutting down
Replacing the principal and adopting a longer day
Previously we wrote that larger districts were passing up on the opportunity to apply for SIG funds due to concern over adopting the strict state-mandated reforms. Escondido Unified has already announced it is firing the principal and most of the staff of one of its elementary schools to qualify for the funds. The school joins Santa Ana and San Bernardino Unified as the only districts to agree to the drastic measures. Of the 188 schools on the state list, only 17 have agreed to try the reforms.