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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

Pasco schools among first in Florida to get Race to the Top funds



So much for stakeholder buy-in.

The United School Employees of Pasco has made clear public statements that it has no immediate intent to participate in Florida's Race to the Top initiative.

That didn't stop the Florida Department of Education from making Pasco among its first 11 districts to receive a share of the state's nearly $700 million from the federal education reform grant. Other districts getting notified of their awards are Alachua, Calhoun, Clay, DeSoto, Gulf, Hendry, Holmes, Manatee, Putnam and Washington.

"We are moving full steam ahead on a track of unprecedented improvement in our schools and I’m looking forward to more of our districts receiving this important funding in the weeks ahead," education commissioner Eric J. Smith said in a news release.

Florida failed to win a RTTT grant in the first phase, in large part because of its lack of acceptance by teacher unions. The state was successful in Round 2, as the vast majority of unions signed on. Pasco was not one of them. DOE spokesman Tom Butler told the Gradebook in the fall that despite asking for a union sign-off on district plans, a superintendent's signature alone would suffice to start the money flowing.

This announcement proves it, solidifying USEP president Lynne Webb's past position that there's no point in negotiating on RTTT if her input doesn't really matter. The USEP still does not have a contract for this year, and has declared impasse in negotiations.



[Last modified: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 1:03pm]


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