Wisconsin gets $51 million to fix struggling schools

The state of Wisconsin will get $50,708,839 in federal grant money to fix struggling schools statewide. The Federal School Improvement Grants (SIG) program is offering the money which is part of the $3.5 billion marked for education funding in the stimulus.

The money will be distributed by the state to schools that are identified as lacking in achievement. The schools identified are considered “persistently lowest achieving” or a Tier III school, which is defined as a school that has failed to meet annual yearly progress for two years and is not identified as a persistently lowest achieving school. Schools who receive SIG grants will be able to spend the money immediately, with the goal of supporting the school year starting this fall.

Schools that apply for the funding will also have to demonstrate that they are ready to implement one of four models to turn the school around. The models include measures such as replacing the principal, re-screening the teaching staff, closing schools and re-opening them as charter schools, or changing curriculum.

Wisconsin’s Governor Jim Doyle, has had education at the top of his agenda since 2003. The Governor has supported initiatives for smaller class sizes, increased funding for special education, expanding 4-year old kindergarten programs and increased funding for early childhood education programs.

“This funding will help us take a significant step toward turning around our struggling schools,” Governor Doyle said. “I want to thank Congressman Dave Obey, as well as Secretary Duncan and the Obama Administration, for helping make this funding possible. Their focus on moving our education system forward will greatly improve the education our kids receive.”

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