Tacoma schools will join application for federal funding

Gov. Chris Gregoire Friday announced that Tacoma Public Schools has joined Washington state’s Race to the Top application. If successful in its application, Washington could be awarded up to $250 million in federal education dollars to help implement the state’s plans for education reform.

Tacoma Public Schools, with more than 29,000 students and 4,400 staff is the largest district to date to submit its partnership agreement indicating their commitment to join Washington’s Race to the Top application. By signing the agreement, the district and its partners are committing to implementing the Washington State Reform Plan. The plan implements reforms passed by the Legislature in the last two legislative sessions.

School districts have until May 17 to return the partnership agreement and become part of the application. The state will then finalize its application and submit it to the U.S. Department of Education by June 1. The winners in round two will be announced in September. School districts will then have 90 days to submit detailed work plans.

This year, Washington state passed education reform legislation aimed to improve the quality of instruction in classrooms, update evaluation standards for teachers and principals, and turn around low-performing schools.

“As districts grapple with smaller budgets but are continually striving to improve the quality of education to our students, it’s important that we commit to efforts that will lead to education reform and yield additional funding for our schools and classrooms such as Washington’s Race to the Top application,” said Art Jarvis, Superintendent of Tacoma Public Schools. “With these federal dollars, we will be able to continue to make progress on some creative and innovative ways to better educate our kids and ensure their success at our schools.”

For more information about Washington State’s Race to the Top application, visit http://www.waracetothetop.org/.