Archive for Tuesday, September 10, 2013

State decides not to apply for Race to Top funds

September 10, 2013


TOPEKA — Kansas won't apply for federal Race to the Top education grants this year because of previous rejections by U.S. Department of Education, Kansas education officials said.

Feedback from the state's previous bids for the funding made it clear Kansas didn't meet all the criteria that the federal agency required for the grants, said Colleen Riley, who oversees early childhood programs at the Kansas State Department of Education. She told The Topeka Capital Journal ( ) that the department would need more time to prepare an application, which is due soon.

The federal agency has awarded about $5 billion in Race to the Top grants to 24 states and the District of Columbia since 2009. Another $280 million in grants is being awarded this year for early childhood education. Kansas has previously sought $24.5 million for early childhood programs, which seek to improve the readiness of students before they enter elementary grades.

"When we didn't get the grant, it was clear we didn't meet all the criteria that the Department of Education in Washington, D.C., wanted us to," she said. "And I think there's a feeling across agencies that the same results would occur. We're doing a lot of good things in Kansas, but we're doing it to meet the needs of our clients and communities."

Riley said Kansas would want more time to work with other state agencies and organizations to develop a grant application that was more universal in addressing early childhood learning.

The state's original application linked school districts with state and local agencies on early childhood programs, including making more resources available to help families be better informed about learning options.

"We thought we had a good application and we still do," Riley said. "From a Department of Education perspective, we're using it as a road map."

The Topeka school district is also declining to compete again for federal grants. The U.S. Department of Education awarded $383 million directly to 16 school districts last year and plans to issue another $120 million this year.

Topeka's superintendent, Julie Ford, said the district decided not to apply for the funding based on an Oct. 3 deadline and previous rejection of the district's application.

She said the district sought support from top-level state officials but only got a letter from Rep. Lynn Jenkins, whose congressional district includes Topeka and eastern Kansas. The state's U.S. senators and Gov. Sam Brownback didn't provide letters of support, Ford said.


Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

Too Bad they Don't have a "Race to the Bottom" Grant. We Might Qualify for that.

jj14 4 years, 9 months ago


yourworstnightmare 4 years, 9 months ago

Stated reason for not receiving grants: "We're doing a lot of good things in Kansas, but we're doing it to meet the needs of our clients and communities."

What does this mean? This is no help at all in determining why the districts weren't competitive for grants.

Meatwad 4 years, 9 months ago

I feel like some clarification questions needed to be asked in this interview.

tolawdjk 4 years, 9 months ago

Ask all the clarification questions you want. Doesn't mean you will get clarifying answers.

The simply answer is that the powers that be do not feel federal funds are worth pursuing. Kansas taxpayers will pay into it, but won't get anything out of it.

rtwngr 4 years, 9 months ago

I'll clarify it for you. We are not going to allow the Department of Education come in and dictate to us how we are going to fund and run our schools. Nor are we going to allow them to dictate the curriculum. The Federal Government goofs things up when it gets involved. There are strings attached to that money and the elected officials of Kansas do not want any part of it.

jafs 4 years, 9 months ago

Oddly enough, the people interviewed here didn't say anything like that.

Thomas Bryce Jr. 4 years, 9 months ago

"Strings attached" such as NOT being able to use that money for private schools.If they can't funnel the money into Their Schools or their organizations, they want no part of it.

hedshrinker 4 years, 9 months ago

Probably similiar to why the Gov refused to participate in setting up KS-run implementation for the new ACA, letting by default the Feds do it and also turned down Fed $$$ for Medicaid expansion for KS residents who can't afford to pay for ANY insurance (fast food and Walmart workers come to mind). The cover story for all this non-participation in all things Federal gov't is returning the power to the states /anti-big gov't. The reality is of course they have NO difficulty in legislating incredibly intrusive policies governing the most private parts of our lives. AND it is, of course, poor and middle class KS citizens who bear the onerous results of this ideology by plummeting educational opportunities at all levels in KS and even less access to quality healthcare. Pretty soon we'll all be standing in lines for the couple-day-a-year Big Tent volunteer clinics for healthcare and not even that option for education. Welcome to Third World KS.

Keith 4 years, 9 months ago

We keep expecting to be competitive globally, as a Nation. Why then should we not have national standards for education. Does it make sense to educate students to a lower standard in certain states and higher standards in others? Which states need the most educated student and which the least? Which state wants compete for the title of least educated students?

Kathy Theis-Getto 4 years, 9 months ago

I believe you will find core standards as one reason behind their choice to not apply again. They have been turned down for two previous years, but I would suspect the reason was more about what the state did not do with ARRA funds given to them previously. I will refrain from stating my opinion on Ford.

Pearson link sheds some insight on the subject:

bunnyhawk 4 years, 9 months ago

Don't you just love sending your tax dollars to Washington knowing that the State of Kansas will do absolutely nothing to bring those dollars back to Kansas to benefit our citizens?

LJW, please do a summary of how many of our hard earned Kansas tax dollars have gone to benefit other states because of Brownback's consistent choice to place his ideology in front of the well being of our state and our citizens!!!!!

There are multiple stories behind each of these decisions. The stories will not be revealed by asking Brownback's handpick loyalists why Kansas didn't apply for these much needed preschool education funds (and many other sources of funding).

It will take a little effort to get to the real story........are y'all up to some genuinely investigative reporting?

Commenting has been disabled for this item.