The U.S. Department of Education (USDE) published in the Federal Register its final rule for the awards for School Improvement Grants (SIG). In addition to the USDE 2009 fiscal appropriation of $546 million, $3 billion was made available for the grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Grants will be awarded to states and states will award grants to local education agencies (LEA) that meet the USDE requirements for turning around failing schools.
The final rule does not reflect significant changes from the requirements initially proposed in August 2009. To receive a grant to turnaround failing schools an LEA must demonstrate its commitment to use one of the following turnaround models:
- Turnaround - Fire the principal and replace at least 50% of the staff;
- Restart - Close the school and restart it under a charter school operator or an education management operator;
- School closure - Close the school and allow students to enroll in a higher performing school; or
- Transformation - Replace the principal and significantly overhaul school operations.
SIG applications were made available early in December 2009.