Some NW Ohio schools turn down stimulus funds

By Tanieya Lewis - bio | email

Posted by Lisa Strawbridge - email

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - Some schools across the nation, as well as in northwest Ohio, are turning down the opportunity to apply for the U.S. Department of Education's $4.4 billion incentive called Race to the Top. The goal of the incentive is to reform struggling school systems.

Many schools did rush to apply for the federal funds. State Superintendent Deborah Delisle  told the Ohio Board of Education on Monday that about 40 percent of districts had applied.

Leaders of Oregon City Schools chose to apply for the stimulus money. Superintendent Dr. Mike Zalar says he, the school board and the teachers union signed a memorandum of understanding to show his district is open to change. "We see this as an opportunity to leverage some additional monies that might help our district improve with our overall performance and increase student achievement," he said.

Other local school administrators said off-the-record that they also wanted to sign up, but the teacher's union is not supporting the incentive program. The administrators say the Ohio Education Association (OEA), a union that represents about 130,000 members, takes issue over being paid based on student test scores instead of tenure.

According to their website, OEA cautions against "Race to the Top's over-reliance on student test score data to make critical decisions on teachers and students."

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