Tuesday, September 29, 2009



Gov. Bill Ritter announced today he has directed more than $7 million in federal Recovery Act funds to support nearly 10 different K-12 education programs to help reduce the dropout rate, enhance teacher compensation, and improve Colorado's chances of winning a federal "Race to the Top" competitive grant next year.


"These investments reflect my ongoing commitment to the promise that all Colorado students be given an equal opportunity to succeed," Gov. Ritter said. "Using Recovery Act funds to grow innovative programs will strengthen Colorado's education system and maintain the momentum for education reform we've created over the past few years."


Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien chairs Colorado's P-20 Education Council and is overseeing the state's Race to the Top grant application. "We're already doing groundbreaking work to improve the skills and knowledge we provide students in classrooms throughout Colorado," Lt. Gov. O'Brien said. "These strategic investments will allow us to continue leading Colorado forward, and they'll pay untold dividends down the road by putting us in a stronger position for the Race to the Top competition."


Today's announcement includes $1 million to restore the state's alternative compensation grant program, $500,000 to develop the state's first educator identifier data system (matched with $400,000 in private funds), $1.5 million to dramatically expand the Teach for America program in Colorado, and $2.5 million to enhance the state's renowned Colorado Growth Model data system. 


In addition, Gov. Ritter directed that $1.3 million be used to reinstate a National Board Certification Stipend Pilot Program. Teachers will be eligible for $1,600 stipends, or $4,800 enhanced stipends for those who agree to serve in low-performing schools where highly effective educators are needed the most.


"We deeply appreciate Gov. Ritter's support for these important programs," Education Commissioner Dwight D. Jones said. "It's critical that Colorado advances meaningful, long-term reforms and invests in teachers who strive to meet rigorous national standards and accept challenging assignments."


Other programs included in today's announcement:


·         $53,000 to help initiate the new Colorado ASCENT program, which was created by House Bill 09-1319. Colorado ASCENT is the nation's first statewide program that will allow students to simultaneously pursue high school and community college degrees, which will keep students in school, lower the dropout rate and help graduates find better jobs quicker.


·         $300,000 to help launch the new Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Reengagement. The office was created earlier this year by HB 09-1243. "This is just the jump-start we needed," said Rep. Karen Middleton, who co-sponsored the legislation. "This funding will help us reduce Colorado's dropout rate and increase the odds of long-term success for our kids. It is time to drop-kick our dropout problem and help all children stay in school and graduate."


·         $200,000 to reinstate the state's National Board Assessment Stipend program.


·         $25,000 for Principal Leadership Academy grants.