News that Louisiana's bid for federal Race to the Top funding has been denied (reported here by Leslie Turk of The Independent) startled Baton Rouge today, adding another layer of uncertainty to an already chaotic legislative session.
It was shortly before Gov. Bobby Jindal gave his opening address of the 2010 session, during which he described the budget woes facing the state, that education officials learned Louisiana will not be getting money from the federal program. Supporters were hoping to get as much as $300 million.
Superintendent of Education Paul Pastorek put on a brave face and congratulated Tennessee and Delaware, the two states selected to get R2T funds. They will get at total of $600 million, leaving the bulk of the $4.35 billion program up for grabs in the next round of announcements, which comes in June.
In a press release, Pastorek said that Louisiana will be a competitor in June: "We believe our success and commitment to these reforms will help us secure funding in the next round of grants. In the meantime, we will take this opportunity to consider feedback from the reviewers, and we will work to amend our application so that we more clearly articulate Louisiana’s progress, promise and plan. "