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October 25, 2014

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Nevada gets $3.7 million for struggling schools

Nevada is receiving $3.7 million in federal grant money to continue “turnaround” efforts at its lowest-performing schools, the U.S. Education Department announced today.

Nevada is one of 10 states sharing in more than $95 million in School Improvement Grant funding for next school year. To receive the grant, schools must be among a district’s bottom 5 percent, based on test scores.

Nevada School Improvement Grants

Here’s a look at School Improvement Grant funding received in Nevada. These are three-year grants.

• First round (2010-11) — Nevada received $22.4 million, of which the Clark County School District received $5.3 million. The money went to Kit Carson Elementary School and Rancho High School.

• Second round (2011-12) — Nevada received $4.5 million but carried over $4.9 in funding from the first round. Clark County received $8.7 million to put the turnaround model in place at Chaparral, Mojave and Western high schools and at Hancock Elementary School.

• Third round (2012-13) — Nevada received $3.5 million. Clark County used its share to begin transforming Canyon Springs High School.

• Fourth round (2013-14) — Nevada received $3.8 million. Clark County used its share to begin transforming Desert Pines High School.

• Fifth round (2014-15)— Nevada received $3.7 million to continue school turnaround efforts.

Texas will receive the most funding next year ($46.8 million), followed by Michigan ($16.8 million) and Louisiana ($9.6 million). North Dakota received the least funding among the 10 states: $1.1 million.

The School Improvement Grant program is one of President Barack Obama’s cornerstone education initiatives, representing one of the largest investments in public education in the nation’s history.

Since 2009, the federal government has invested more than $5 billion, or up to $2 million per school, to improve test scores at more than 1,500 of the nation’s lowest-performing schools.

In total, Nevada has received $37.6 million in turnaround funding since 2009 for more than a dozen schools in Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City.

Some research has shown improvement at turnaround schools, but other studies show these early successes are short-lived. Some of the greatest gains have been at schools in small towns and rural communities, according to the U.S. Education Department.

Still unknown is how turnaround schools will fare when the federal grants expire. In Clark County, grant funding for Chaparral, Mojave and Western high schools and Hancock Elementary School will run out at the end of this school year.

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