Governor’s office holds off on Race to the Top grant |

Governor’s office holds off on Race to the Top grant

Nevada Appeal Capitol Bureau

Stacy Woodbury, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Jim Gibbons, told lawmakers Thursday the governor will wait until the second round before applying for a grant under the federal “Race to the Top” education program.

Members of the legislative education study committee had urged the governor to apply immediately for the grant money. For the first round, that would require a grant application by January. Grant applications for the second round of awards, Woodbury said, aren’t due until June.

Race to the Top is a challenge grant program for K-12 programs created as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Woodbury said the governor “respectfully disagrees” with those lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford, D-Las Vegas, who charged that failure to apply by Jan. 19 would be a lost opportunity.

Woodbury said waiting could greatly increase Nevada’s chances of receiving a substantial grant. She said by waiting, Nevada will get the chance to see all the grant applications from the 34 other states that are applying in round one.

“We’ll get a look at everybody’s best practices and all the feds’ comments on them and be able to tailor our application to them,” she said.

She said if Nevada rushes to put together an application by Jan. 19, it might get a grant.

“What if we apply but only get a very small grant?” she asked.

She said the state should use what everybody else learns from round one to put in the best possible application and, hopefully, get a much larger grant for a well developed program.

Woodbury said, however, the governor agrees with Horsford’s proposal to create a Race to the Top stakeholders group to help develop that application.

She also informed the committee Thursday that Nevada has already missed the Dec. 10 deadline for filing a letter of intent to seek grant money in the first round.