Florida to apply for race to the top funds

Florida Governor Rick Scott has reversed his position on federal funds and is allowing the state’s application for Race to the Top education funding to go through. Previously, Scott rejected federal funding on a variety of projects including some children’s healthcare funding which made the state ineligible for Race to the Top. Scott will have to accept that funding to move that application forward.

The Governor is allowing the application to go forward as part of his focus on education. However, he has stated that if the funds come with any additional requirements or includes too much federal involvement he will reject the funds. The state is eligible for up to $100 million under the program.

Governor Scott has made education the central focus of his administration but has had harsh criticism for the Race to the Top program. Only four states are eligible for the program and Florida is one of them. If approved for funds the state plans to use the money for early education programs for high-risk children. Scott wants the funds to be a one-time influx of cash that will be broken up into smaller awards spread statewide.

Florida’s application insists on a one time funding boost and explicitly states that the state will reject any longer term program requirements. The state will also reject the funds if the tax payer burden is deemed to be too high or if any restrictions against private business are included.

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