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Wednesday, April 10, 2013 - 11:15am

$17M Available For Struggling Ga. Schools

Some of Georgia’s lowest-performing schools are about to get some extra money to help improve students’ learning. The federal government said this week the state will get $17.2 million to dole out.

Districts will apply for the money, explaining how they’ll use one of three reform models to help the school do better. Those models include replacing the principal and at least half of the teachers, just replacing the principal and overhauling instruction, or converting to a charter school.

“But then, within that model, there’s still certainly some flexibility as to how they say that they are going to meet the needs of those particular students, whether it be additional personnel or whether it be services for students," said Matt Cardoza, spokeman for the state Department of Education.

The money is only available to what are called “priority schools” – those among the bottom 5 percent on state standardized tests in English and math and where less than 60 percent of students graduate. That’s about 80 schools, although some have already received similar grants in the past.

“So many schools overall are finding resources to be the major challenge right now," Cardoza said. "But for many of these schools that are maybe in a higher-poverty [area], having those additional resources available just to put into the classroom will be a great help.”

This is the fourth round of federal school improvement grants available to Georgia schools, though the state did not receive any last year.