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S.D. Unified Won’t Go After Federal Grants

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The San Diego Unified School District is the only big city school district in California that will not go after the first batch of special federal stimulus grants.

— The San Diego Unified School District is the only big city school district in California that will not go after the first batch of special federal stimulus grants.

The grants are tied to the federal government's $4 billion Race To The Top program. States compete for the money by adopting reforms outlined by the Obama administration.

California lawmakers finally approved landmark education reforms yesterday so the state can become eligible to compete. They include linking teacher evaluations to student test scores, giving parents the power to turn around a failing school, and granting parents more leeway to enroll their kids in a school of their choice.

All of California's large urban school districts have agreed to take on the reforms except for San Diego Unified.

The district's Bernie Rhinerson says the one-time federal grants might not be enough money to support reforms for the long haul.

“It might cost us money and that's what we were not able to evaluate,” Rhinerson said. “(The district) wants to wait and have all the facts before just signing up for something.”

Rhinerson also says based on the latest projections, only eight San Diego schools would stand to benefit from the federal grants. He says the risks outweigh the benefits.

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