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RCPS misses mark for Race to the Top grant

CONYERS — Rockdale County Public Schools announced Thursday night that it did not receive the $25 million Race to the Top District grant that it had applied for. RCPS was the only school district in Georgia to be named as a finalist for the grant out of the more than 200 that applied.

“We are a bit disappointed, but not discouraged,” said RCPS Superintendent Richard Autry.

The Race to the Top competition entails the U.S. Department of Education selecting five to 10 winning applications to receive four-year awards ranging from $4 million to $30 million. The U.S. DOE states that Race to the Top allows school districts to demonstrate how they can personalize learning for students and provide school teachers with key tools that support them in meeting the needs of students.

Although RCPS did not win the grant, Autry said that it ranked 10th out of the 31 finalists nominated. There were only five districts that won grants from Race to the Top.

This was the second time that RCPS was nominated for a competitive grant through Race to the Top. The school system came close to winning a $30 million award in 2012, according to a press release. That year, RCPS scored higher than any other school district in Georgia, and missed the winning mark by only seven points.