Massachusetts today was named one of ten state winners in the second round of the federal Race to the Top education funding program. The state will receive $250 million in additional federal education dollars over the next four years. The Boston Globe has the story here and the Herald here.
While the announcement was hailed by most officials on both sides of the political aisle, the decision several weeks ago to adopt new federal standards over the current state MCAS system—which is seen as a key element in the state's victory—has been criticized by some as short-sighted.
In fact, an analysis on the Globe's education blog, written by Pioneer Institute Director Jim Stergios does a pretty good job of dumping a pail of ice water on any victory celebration.
Even so, the Race to the Top victory coming on the heals of last week's passage of a federal stimulus bill directed largely at saving teaching jobs, offers a ray of hope for new funding sources to help offset this year's cuts and what is expected to be another very tough budget season in Beverly next year.
8/25 UPDATE: Today's Salem News has the local angle on the Race to the Top program, and reports that Beverly will receive $360,392 over four years.
The Globe also has more details on Beverly's share of the education stimulus funds. According to a spreadsheet that accompanies the story, Beverly schools will receive an additional $390,187 in funding from this stimulus (not to be confused with the Race to the Top funds). This is one time money that the district can use this year, or save for next, according the the Globe.
9/2 UPDATE: The Beverly Citizen has some more specifics on Beverly's plan for the money.
This site aims to inform and mobilize Beverly parents to take an active role in all issues related to the funding and operation of the city's schools. It was launched in the spring of 2008, when the city saw its first-ever override attempt fail, followed by the closure of a nearly-new elementary school. Subsequent years have seen further cuts that have led to larger class sizes across the district. While the opening of an impressive new high school and plans to replace the city's aging middle school give us reason to be optimistic, the school community must be ever vigilant in demanding appropriate school funding by city and state governments, and better community communications from the district and School Committee.