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Feds Threaten To Withhold School Funding Over California Testing Plan

Above: California could lose $15 million for testing and be forced to return money spent on exams last year if U.S. Department of Education withholds some school funding.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation earlier this month to suspend the state’s old standardized tests this year so public school students can pilot new online exams. The U.S. Department of Education was against the plan and has now threatened to withhold some school funding.

Aired 10/30/13 on KPBS News.

The U.S. Department of Education threatens to pull millions in federal funding for California school districts if last year's tests aren't used by schools.

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Dept. Of Education Letter On California Testing Plan

Dept. Of Education Letter On California Testing Plan

Federal funding for school districts was threatened in ...

In a letter sent Tuesday, the Department of Education's Deborah S. Delisle, assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education, told state school officials that California could lose $15 million for testing and be forced to return money spent on last year’s exams. Plus, billions of dollars in funding that goes directly to school districts to support low-income students, special education and other programs could be in jeopardy, if the state goes ahead with plans to suspend old exams.

Ron Rode, San Diego Unified's accountability director, said he sees the letter as one more step in an ongoing conversation.

“It states in many cases, ‘This may happen. You may be at risk,’" he said. "So really there’s still a lot of negotiation that has to happen between the state government and the federal government in order to determine how this is going to play out.”

San Diego city schools received about $57 million from federal sources in 2012. Those funds are tied to requirements that schools test students annually in math and English and publish the results.

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