Las Vegas Sun

November 19, 2017

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Nevada getting $3.8 million to aid struggling schools

By the numbers

Here’s a look at School Improvement Grant funding in Nevada (Note: 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. The application process for the next batch of turnaround schools will begin soon.

Nevada is receiving $3.8 million in federal grant money to implement “turnaround” efforts at more low-performing schools, the U.S. Education Department announced Monday.

The Silver State is one of 13 states awarded School Improvement Grant funding for next school year. However, only six of those states — including Nevada — are receiving money for new “turnaround” schools.

The remaining states are were given federal funds to continue existing “turnaround” programs.

“When schools fail, our children and our neighborhoods suffer,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement. “Turning around our lowest-performing schools is hard work but it’s our responsibility. We owe it to our children, their families and the broader community. These School Improvement Grants are helping some of the lowest-achieving schools provide a better education for students who need it the most.”

Nevada — which has the lowest graduation rate among states nationally — received the least money of the six states receiving new “turnaround” funds. Illinois received the most money ($22 million), followed by Georgia ($17.2 million) and North Carolina ($14.3 million).

Seven states received continuation awards between $1.4 million (Delaware) and $26.8 million (Florida).

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 infused more than $4.6 billion into the School Improvement Grant program, commonly known as the school “turnaround” initiative. To receive the funding, schools must be considered among the bottom 5 percent of a district’s schools.

More than 1,300 of the country’s lowest-performing schools received up to $2 million each to turn around lagging student achievement by overhauling school staff and programming.

In total, Nevada has received $33.9 million in such funding since 2009 to turn around more than a dozen schools in Las Vegas, Reno and Carson City.

Early findings show some improvement, particularly in small towns and rural communities. Results have been mixed in large urban school districts across the country.

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