In case there was any remaining shred of hope that Glendale Unified might stand a chance in a highly competitive federal grant program, the U.S. Department of Education on Monday wiped it clear.
The finalists for the Race to the Top grant program, which could send up to $40 million over four years to winning school districts, were announced Monday -- and Glendale Unified was not on the list.
In California, the finalists were Animo Leadership Charter High School, Galt Joint Union School District, Lindsay Unified and New Haven Unified. They were among 61 finalists nationwide seeking a piece of the $400-million pie.
Glendale Unified’s application was all but dead in the water without the support of its teachers union, which refused to sign on over fears that the district would be unable to financially sustain the assistance programs that the grant would initially cover.
Unions were also cool to – and in some cases adamantly against – a provision in the grant award that student test scores be included in teacher job evaluations. Despite the lack of union support, some districts, including Glendale and Los Angeles unified, decided to send in their applications anyway.
The fate of Glendale’s application was all but sealed after Assistant Secretary of Education Peter Cunningham affirmed that the union’s signature was required “because this challenging work cannot be done at the district level unless everyone is committed and working together.”
Glendale Unified’s lead grant writer, Kelly King, said at the time that it was “unfortunate” the district could not contend for the money, but that "at least it was sent."
"For everyone who poured their hearts and time into that grant, it gave the symbol it was complete and it was ready," she said.
The Department of Education is expected to announce 15 to 20 winners by Dec. 31.
--Jason Wells, Times Community News