Florida has yet to spend much of its Race to the Top money
Florida leaders pushed hard more than three years ago to get a chunk of the federal Race to the Top grant aimed at education reforms. Lawmakers changed the state's model for teacher contracts and evaluations, and the State Board of Education adopted the Common Core standards, they were so enthusiastic to get the $700 million award.
But with a year left on the grant, Education Week reports, Florida has not yet spent nearly half the money:
"It's important to note that the large balances aren't necessarily a bad thing. For one, it's possible this money has already been spent on paper (such as a contract has been signed) but hasn't been drawn down. Secondly, sometimes there are delays in when the money is spent and when that shows up on the federal ledger. And thirdly, Race to the Top states spent the first couple years of their grants doing intense planning, and left a lot of the actual implementation to the final couple of years.
"However, the unspent money is one indicator of larger delays that have plagued Race to the Top states, and a contributing factor to the Education Department's decision to allow winning states, on a case-by-case basis, to get an additional year of time to implement some of their programs."