School Districts May Still Apply for Federal Funding

It might not be the end of the federal grant money for education that was recently turned down by Texas Governor Rick Perry. President Barack Obama announced this week that he will let individual school districts apply for that money. Pat Hernandez has more.

Last week Governor Perry came to Houston to announce that Texas would not apply for the federal Race to the Top funding.

"Because our state and our communities must reserve the right to decide how we educate our children, and not surrender that control to a federal bureaucracy."

The president then announced that not only would he be seeking to expand the 4-billion dollar grant pool, he would let individual school districts, instead of just states apply.

Houston Independent School Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier welcomed the news.

"I happen to believe our board of education should be the group that decides whether or not we apply for grants like Race to the Top."

Dr Grier says the federal grant supports innovation and creativity, the very thing the HISD is known for.  Dr Wanda Bamberg, superintendent of schools at Aldine ISD, says she was disappointed by the governor's decision.

"I certainly respect his thinking and his decision in that. If they do make those funds available for individual school districts, my first response would be that we might apply and try to take advantage of some of the opportunities that funding would afford us."

Another superintendent happy to hear about the president's decision is Dr David Anthony. He heads theCypress-Fairbanks ISD.

"Will we be rated lower because our state's not participating? So, there are a lot of things that concern me about it, but we're going to be in line in reviewing how our students can benefit from using the race to the top funds."

Race to the Top targets four areas for reform: standards and tests, effective educators, data systems and turnaround for struggling schools.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez


Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...