November 14, 2012

Five school districts vie for $400 million in federal grants

Unity-based Regional School Unit 3, Dixfield-based RSU 10 in the running for Race to the Top-District funds; Hallowell-based RSU 2 and Oakland-based RSU 18 would benefit if Auburn gets grants


AUGUSTA -- A consortium of five Maine school districts will be in the running for a share of $400 million in federal grant money.

The Auburn School Department is the lead district on the application for the consortium, which also includes Unity-based Regional School Unit 3, Dixfield-based RSU 10, Gray-based RSU 15 and Waterboro-based RSU 57.

All the districts are members of the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning, a group of school districts implementing an educational model called performance-based education.

Though not part of the official application, central Maine school districts including Hallowell-based RSU 2 and Oakland-based RSU 18 stand to benefit if the Auburn-led consortium receives a grant. RSU 2 and RSU 18 are also members of the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning, which shares best practices, curriculum materials and training resources.

The model aligns with the goals of the Race to the Top-District grant competition, which seeks to support "plans that will personalize learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps and prepare every student for success in college and careers."

The U.S. Department of Education received 371 applications representing more than 1,100 school districts. Grants will range from $5 million to $40 million, depending on the population of students served.

Maine has been unsuccessful in its attempts to secure Race to the Top grant money in previous rounds of the program. This is the first round to target reforms at the local level rather than statewide.

Portland Public Schools previously indicated its intent to apply for a grant but did not submit an application by the deadline.


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