Federal DOE grants an additional $1.7 million for Maine schools

Maine was one of 10 states awarded additional federal grant money on Thursday to turn around struggling schools.

It’s part of the same pot of funds awarded to Lewiston last year for Montello Elementary School.

The latest grants from the U.S. Department of Education’s School Improvement Grants program ranged from $46.7 million for Texas to $1.1 million for North Dakota.

Maine received $1.7 million. The federal program releases money throughout the year as state applications are approved. The money is then awarded competitively at the state level.

In 2013, Maine awarded all of that year’s funds, $1.8 million, to Montello for a three-year improvement plan.

In western Maine, Maine DEO spokeswoman Samantha Warren said Mountain Valley Middle School, Andover Elementary School and the Washburn School in Auburn are eligible to apply based on test scores and other measures. Schools have to be up for major changes, including hiring a new principal.

The state grant winner or winners will be announced this summer.

“When schools fail, our children and neighborhoods suffer,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a press release with the announcement. “Turning around our lowest-performing schools is hard work but it’s our responsibility, and represents a tremendous opportunity to improve the life chances of children.”

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