07/05/10 — Goldsboro High gets grant, but less funds

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Goldsboro High gets grant, but less funds

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on July 5, 2010 1:50 PM

Goldsboro High School will get less than half of the anticipated $6 million in federal grant funds that was applied for in March, forcing school officials to get creative with spending the $2.9 million that will become available over the next three years.

Twenty-five schools in 19 districts across the state will share more than $65.4 million in federal School Improvement Grant money to improve student achievement. The schools received the grants based on a formula identifying the bottom 5 percent of the state's lowest-achieving schools according to state testing and graduation rates of less than 60 percent.

In order to apply for the grant, schools had to commit to implementation of one of three intervention models in the coming school year.

Six of the state's schools will implement a Turnaround Model, 18 will work on the Transformation Model and one will be Restarting.

Goldsboro High is scheduled to receive $2,886,144 for the Transformation Model.

Among the stipulations that come with the funding is the replacement of any principal in place at the school for two years or longer, removal of teachers determined to be ineffective after ample opportunity for improvement, the institution of comprehensive instructional reform strategies, increasing learning time and the creation community-oriented schools, and providing operational flexibility and sustained support.

Patricia Burden, principal at the Goldsboro High since 2000, already has been transferred to Wayne High School Academy. School officials announced the reassignment as part of the district's annual administrative changes last month.

Also in anticipation of the grant, school officials have proposed several other changes at the school -- including adding 30 minutes to each school day, having teachers work on a year-round schedule and requiring students to attend an extra five days during the school year.

Having less money to spend will mean some deviations from the original reorganization plan, officials said.

"What it means, in the original grant we asked for 12-month employment for all the teachers in the school. It's being reduced now to nine extra days for the staff," said Dr. Sandra McCullen, associate superintendent for curriculum and instruction. "We're also trying to work out five extra days for the students and 30 extra minutes will be added to the school day. We don't have that completed yet."

Receiving less than the original grant amount also means a reduction in incentives, Dr. McCullen said.

"We will have a $1,000 sign-on bonus for teachers coming to Goldsboro High School," she said. "It was a bigger sign-on bonus, but now it's $1,000."

Still, she explained, the funding will allow for the addition of technology and mobile carts for the classrooms, as well as two full-time positions -- instructional coaches for math and science and English/language arts/social studies.

"We asked for the full $6 million, but we're reducing it based on what we were told we're going to get," she said. "It's a three-year plan and we're looking at that as well.

The Board of Education, which meets on Tuesday, is also expected to weigh in on the discussion about how funding will be spent, Dr. McCullen said.