NC misses out on first 'Race to the Top' grants

RALEIGH, NC (WECT/AP) - North Carolina has missed out on the first round of education reform grants from the federal government.

The state was selected earlier in March as one of the 16 finalists in the "Race to the Top" competition, which will award $400 million in federal money to the winner.

Only two states, Delaware and Tennessee, will be awarded first round funding.

According to a press release, applications were scored on a 500 point scale, 40 of which were directly tied to "successful conditions for charter schools."

NC law currently allows for an arbitrary, statewide cap of 100 public charter schools.  A House bill was approved during the last legislative session that would have raised the charter cap from 100 to 106, but the bill stalled in the state Senate.

North Carolina's application had sought $469 million over four years. Gov. Bev Perdue and education officials had gone to Washington earlier this month to make a personal pitch.

"Race to the Top" is designed to encourage the use of innovative programs to improve student performance and transform struggling schools.

©2010 WECT. All rights reserved.  AP contributed to this report.