Florida in "Race to the Top"

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signs the application.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signs the application.
TAMPA (2010-1-19) -

Despite opposition from some union leaders, a top Florida education official says its application for the federal “Race to the Top” program is still very competitive.

Florida’s application was hand delivered Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Education in Washington. It is close to 1,000 pages long and asks for over $1 billion.

Florida Department of Education spokesman Tom Butler says 60 of the 67 school districts signed the application.

But only five local teachers unions signed on. Union leaders said the proposal lacks flexibility, local control and has an unrealistic deadline requiring school districts to implement all reforms

Butler says he still thinks Florida will do well in the competition for grant money.

“We could receive less points for not having the local union signatures,” he said. “But I think with the past reform efforts here in Florida and the great success we’ve seen from those, coupled with the fact that we do have a large percentage of our districts participating, I think we do have a very good strong application.

Now, Butler says, it’s a waiting game until April when the winning proposals will be announced.

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