California is asking the federal government to let it change the way it divvies up money for persistently low achieving schools. If the feds agree, it could mean millions for Burbank Elementary, a San Diego school that would otherwise be shut out from the funds.

Schools that landed on a state list of struggling schools were eligible to apply for funds to help turn themselves around. They could choose one of four improvement plans, from replacing the principal and staff to adding more instructional time. Six schools in San Diego County were eligible and four applied for the money.

Only two schools in the county were slated to get the funds when the California Department of Education made its original recommendations a few weeks ago.

But the state board of education balked at how the schools had been ranked. School districts that submitted plans for all their failing schools got a big advantage over school districts that only chose a few schools to tackle. So the California Department of Education asked the feds if it could change its ranking system, and the state board put off deciding which schools would get the money.

If the federal government agrees, Burbank Elementary is slated to get $4 million instead of nothing at all. King-Chavez Arts Academy, a charter school that applied for the funds, would get $4 million instead of roughly $1 million. And Felicita Elementary in Escondido would get about $5 million, a little less than it was originally recommended to receive. Check out the full list here, under “List of SIG Funding.”


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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