Advocates for South Carolina schools said Friday they were stunned by the state school superintendent’s decision not to go after up to $50 million in federal education grants and said they will try to find a way to get the money with or without the school chief’s help.
But a spokesman for Superintendent of Schools Mick Zais said they shouldn’t have been surprised because as a candidate Zais said in forums sponsored by the groups that he would not pursue the so-called Race to the Top grants.
Zais said Wednesday he had not changed his mind about pursuing the money because he still feels taking more federal funds for education won’t solve the problems in South Carolina public schools and will just make the state more beholden to U.S. education officials.
The state School Boards Association and the Association of School Administrators plan to ask the Republican superintendent to change his mind. But if that doesn’t work, the groups will try to find a way to apply for the money themselves.
It isn’t immediately clear if anyone other than the leader of a state’s schools can apply for the grants.