Glendale's 'Race to the Top' may end on Thursday

Glendale Unified officials now have until Friday to submit their application for what could be $40 million in federal Race to the Top funds -- leaving little time for a last-minute effort to get the teachers union to get onboard.

The school district has been in negotiations with the Glendale Teachers Assn. for weeks, hoping to get the union’s required signature on the 500-page application.

But union leaders, wary of how Glendale Unified would continue to pay for a slew of programs and teacher assistants once the grant money is spent, have so far refused to sign off on the application. They were also cold to the grant's requirement that student test scores be factored into teacher job evaluations.

And with the district refusing to rule out the possibility of teacher layoffs next year, little progress has been made on reaching an agreement.

The federal grant application had appeared all but dead Monday, but Hurricane Sandy prompted U.S. education officials to extend the deadline to Friday since many offices and transit routes had been closed.

Glendale Unified officials say they are holding out hope that the union will sign off on the application in time to send the package off and get it to Washington D.C. by 4:30 p.m. EST Friday.

“Tomorrow, it’s one way or another,” said Maria Gandera, the district’s assistant superintendent for human resources. “The last time we spoke, [union President Tami Carlson] said she wasn’t going to sign it.”

Gandera added: “I’m optimistic until the last second possible.”

Carlson could not be reached for comment Wednesday, but has said she would not lend her signature while the possibility of teacher lay-offs remained an option next year.

Los Angeles Unified this week was forced to give up on its own Race to the Top application after its teachers union refused to sign off over the requirement that student test scores be factored into job evaluations.

-- Kelly Corrigan, Times Community News

Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan


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