The Colorado Department of Education will reapply for the federal Race to the Top grant program after falling short in
the first round, state officials announced Tuesday.
Colorado was named one of 16 finalists in the first round of the federal program, estimated to have $3.4 billion
available. Only two states, Delaware and Tennessee, were declared winners.
States are now preparing their second-round applications for the competitive grants.
Moving forward for round two is the right decision for Colorado students, teachers and schools," Commissioner of
Education Dwight D. Jones said in a news release. We will scrutinize every comment from the first round and look for
every opportunity to improve Colorado's application while staying true to the reform plans we have already put in
Applications for the second round are due by June 1. The winners are expected to be announced in September, CDE said in
the news release.
Colorado's second-round application requests up to $175 million.
If Colorado is successful, Durango School District 9-R stands to win a portion of the funds. Superintendent Keith Owen
said he was disappointed" that Colorado was not selected in the first round, but expressed optimism about the second
We're going to make a real good run for this money on the second round," he said Tuesday.
If 9-R is awarded a portion of the Race to the Top funds, the money may be used to implement changes to teacher and
principal evaluations, tying them to student performance. Evaluation changes were prompted by the strategic plan 9-R
crafted in 2008-09.
The pieces of Race to the Top fit nicely with the strategic plan we put together as a school district," Owen said.
The Durango Education Association, the union that represents 9-R teachers, signed on in support of the initiative.
Tying teachers' evaluations to student test scores has been controversial elsewhere.