Dayton exploring chance for federal school grantsby Tim Pugmire, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Gov. Mark Dayton plans to lobby the U.S. education secretary about getting Minnesota into a competitive federal grant program the state previously missed out on.
During a speech Friday to a gathering of metro area educators and legislators, Dayton said his administration will explore the possibility of applying anew for Race to the Top grants.
He said he intends to ask Secretary Arne Duncan about it when the nation's education chief comes to Minnesota in two weeks.
It's not clear whether there's even an opening for a new application. The program was designed to encourage innovative programs to boost student achievement, and hundreds of millions of dollars were on the line for successful states.
Minnesota's initial application was denied. Then-Gov. Tim Pawlenty decided not to try for a second round of grants amid a standoff with the state teacher's union.
Even with the state facing a projected $6.2 billion budget deficit, Dayton also said he'll do everything he possibly can to honor his campaign pledge to increase funding every year for K-12 education. Dayton said he believes more money is a way to reform education.
"We've tried the so-called reform of less money, and the myth that less is better, and even less is still better still. And I think we've seen that's not the answer."
His budget proposal is expected on February 15.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)