Despite misgivings by the state association of school boards, the Lafayette Parish School Board Wednesday tentatively agreed to pursue federal Race to the Top funds being distributed on a nationwide competitive basis through the stimulus act. State education officials estimate Louisiana’s share could be as large as $300 million; Lafayette could land up to $7 million. According to the U.S. Department of Education, R2T is “a national competition among states for $4.35 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) to improve education quality and results statewide.”

However, according to The Advocate, board members agreed to pursue the funding “on the grounds that districts are offered an option to opt out of the program after awards are announced by the U.S. Department of Education in April.”

In December, the Louisiana School Boards Association urged public school systems across the state to pass on R2T grants, warning that securing such funding could have long-term fiscal consequences, namely that when the federal funding runs out school systems could on the hook to continue funding programs at their own expense. For more on the school boards 8-1 vote, see articles in today’s Advocate and Daily Advertiser.

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