State Education Officials Brace for End of Federal Grant

Jan 23, 2013

In his proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, Governor Deal has allocated more money toward K-12 education. But a major source of federal funding will soon come to an end.

Georgia received $400 million through the federal Race to the Top education grant. The money funded some big initiatives, including a digital system to track students and a new teacher evaluation system. The four-year grant ends in 2014. State superintendent John Barge said during a budget hearing this week officials have been preparing for the transition.

State school superintendent John Barge (at podium, left) and CFO Scott Austensen explain the state's plans for continuing Race to the Top initiatives once the grant ends.
Credit Martha Dalton

“We know in a year and a half these funds are gone," Barge said, "So, our goal right now is to build the system and have it develop so we can maintain it from that point forward.”

Georgia Department of Education Chief Financial Officer Scott Austensen says state officials could request additional funding to sustain the programs after the grant runs out.

“That would not happen we don’t think until about 2015," Austensen said, "So, budgetarily speaking, we always knew that there was this cliff.” 

Both Barge and Austin said if state funds tighten up, it may take longer to implement some programs initiated under Race to the Top.