Stirring up acronym soup: SIG v. RTTT

I just got a consoling email from a parent who learned that California was not, after all, selected to receive a grant in the second round of Race to the Top (RTTT). This is disappointing, but applying felt a little bit like doing a deal with the devil so I’m not really all that upset that we didn’t qualify.

But it’s important to know the difference between RTTT, the Federal government’s competitive grants program, and the School Improvement Grant (SIG) program that the State Board of Education is expected to approve today.

Our eligibility for SIG is related to the state’s list of persistently underperforming schools. Districts with schools on the list were invited to apply for SIG funds, and required to choose one of four turnaround strategies for every school on the list. Some districts (LAUSD, OUSD) gambled and applied for money for only some of their schools; SFUSD chose to apply for all 10 and were rewarded with a recommendation that the state fund our application to the tune of $47 million. After some scrambling (and advocacy by other districts that were shut out), the state board cut our funding recommendation back to $45 million and applied for a Federal waiver that will let them fund other school districts that were originally shut out.

We’re okay with that, generally, and that money will make a huge difference at schools like John Muir Elementary, Carver Elementary, Everett Middle School, and Horace Mann Middle School. We should receive confirmation later today about the money.

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2 responses to “Stirring up acronym soup: SIG v. RTTT

  1. Rachel –

    I would like to know how SFUSD plans on spending this money. It is my understanding that the money is considered the districts, and not the schools. I find this very infuriating. The district is capable of siphoning off grant money meant for the transformation of one of these 10 schools and using it for a different purpose. I would like to know what the district’s real plan is and what percentage of the funding is really going to the 10 schools and not to politics or to a school not on the list.

    Please answer my (and ginny’s) question.

  2. Rachel, how do I learn how much of the money will go to a specific school, and the plan for how it will be spent. If there is no formal bubget yet, when do we expect one? thanks.