Administrators concerned about when Race to the Top funds run out

7:52 PM, Nov 8, 2012   |    comments
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Federal Race to the Top grant money has provided every Tennessee school district with much needed funding the past three years.

But after next school year they'll be gone.

Administrators are concerned how they're going to absorb the loss.

State Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman told WBIR's partner, The Tennessean, he is looking toward the future when the funds dry up.

In Anderson County Schools, the loss of funds could mean six jobs cut. They used their share of the half a billion dollars given to the state, $400,000, to hire six academic coaches, provide staff development, and purchase software.

Director of Schools Larry Foster feels the extra support is a big part of why they've seen gains.

"Anderson County Schools has made progress in their performance both in value added and achievement," Foster said.

When the grant money became available three years ago, Foster didn't believe the economy would still be bad four years later.

"Here in our community, our economic growth has not bounced back like we thought," he said.

Now he's not sure how he's going to keep those jobs. "That leaves us with a dilemma. Is the state going to increase their budget so they can back fill some of these initiatives that we've started?"

He hopes the answer is yes. So do coaches, like Michele Brummett at Clinton Middle School, who feel they've become a necessity at their schools.

"The teachers depend on me to provide them with professional development, with information, and assistance everyday," Brummet said. She also said she is taking a burden off of principals by giving one on one evaluations and helping teachers to see their strengths and weaknesses through test scores.

They will have to wait and see for now. Commissioner Huffman said his department will discuss it internally and make a proposal in the next 18 months.

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