Spin Cycle

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Report: Little interest, few rewards in competitive school grants

A Cuomo initiative to have school districts compete for a portion of state aid has sparked little interest and distributed little money, according to a new report released Wednesday.

Fewer than 1 in 10 districts applied for the grants and just $17 million was awarded -- out of a possible $50 million, according to the Citizens Budget Commission, a fiscal watchdog. The grant process is too confusing and the awards too small to encourage participation, the CBC said.

It recommended the state refrain from expanding the grants program and instead distribute more money through the conventional school-aid formula.

“It may be too early to reach definitive conclusions, but the experience raised questions about the efficacy of this method of distributing school aid,” the CBC said.

Only 40 of the more than 700 school districts across New York won grants. There were just four Long Island winners. Uniondale ($900,000) and Brentwood ($853,000) won performance improvement grants. The Three Villages Central School District ($249,000) and Mineola ($213,000) won management efficiency grants.

The CBC said that 70 schools applied for the performance grants and just 38 applied for the management awards.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed doubling the amount earmarked for the two competitive grant programs for the 2013-14 academic year.


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