HISD wants Race to the Top money

January 21, 2010 4:51:38 PM PST
Leaders from the Houston Independent School District are speaking out about the new chance for school districts to apply for a big federal grant, even though Governor Rick Perry already turned down the money. Last week, Gov. Perry withdrew Texas from the competition for the Race for the Top grants, turning down $700 million.

On Tuesday, President Obama expanded the program to allow individual districts to apply. HISD Superintendent Dr. Terry Grier says the money would have helped kids in Houston, and he's hoping to try and apply for the grants.

"We are serious when we say we want to be a world class school district. That means you want to move from where you are to a higher level. These funds would have helped us do that," said Dr. Grier.

Governor Perry complained the money would come with too many federal strings attached including that Texas would have to adopt a national curriculum. Dr. Grier wants the school board to look into the grant and all the options.

"Are there other opportunities to apply for those dollars and possibly not adhere to the national standards? Because I think that was the biggest sticking point," said HISD School Board President Greg Myer.

School districts can't apply until the 2011-2012 school year.

The HISD school board will study the program to see if it is something it wants to do. If the board does not agree on it, it will not apply. We'll let you know what happens.

President Obama has requested $1.35 billion for the Race to the Top program. Districts and states will have to compete for the money. So far, 40 states and the District of Columbia have submitted applications.

Click here to read more about the program and how the money can be used.