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Manteca loses out on $15M career ed grant

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POSTED June 12, 2014 1:18 a.m.

Manteca Unified and its partners may have lost the grant war. But they are not giving up the battle.

Thirty-nine consortia out of 123 applicants were selected to receive a slice of the $250 million state program aimed at helping students to stay in school, pursue advanced education, and find employment in high-demand fields.

Unfortunately, Career Pathways Alliance 2050, with Manteca Unified as the lead agency in the grant application, was not in the small circle of winners selected.

“We were very disappointed that we weren’t chosen. We had some really good plans,” said Kathy Ruble, the district’s coordinator of Career and Technical Education who was part of the group that prepared the grant application.

That funding source may have reached a dead end, but CPA2050 is still alive and kicking. If the state did not give its fiscal blessing for this ambitious program, the consortium is determined to find other ways to keep it going. That effort will kick off in August.

“We’re going to get together in August as a group and determine how we’re going to proceed forward,” Ruble said.

The consortium led by Manteca Unified includes all the school districts in San Joaquin County, Delta College, school districts in Calaveras County, the Stockton campus of California State University, Stanislaus, and “a lot of business partners.” All in all, there are more than 50 in the consortium, which is part of the reason Manteca Unified as the lead agency is wondering why CPA2050 did not receive the green light for this state grant.

The grant money was geared for programs targeting students from preschool to grade 20 – through college. And it’s not just Manteca Unified students that would benefit from this program but those in the other areas covered by the consortium members like Calaveras County.

There were three grant tiers, each with a specific amount – the largest being the $15 million category which the Manteca Unified group applied for, followed by $6 million, with $600,000 as the lowest amount in the grant. Greater Los Angeles area alone, which includes Long Beach, received close to $117 million of the $250 million grant total.

The 12 applicants that were approved for the $15 million funding were:

• Contra Costa Office of Education

• Long Beach Community College District

• Los Angeles Unified School District

• Orange County Department of Education

• Paramount Academy in Delano

• Pasadena Area Community College District

• Peralta Community College District in Oakland

• Sacramento County Office of Education

• Sonoma County Office of Education

• Ventura County Community College District

• Victor Valley Community College District

Sixteen grant applicants, from Antelope Valley College District to Yosemite Community College District were approved for the $6 million category. 

A total of 11 applicants were given the nod to receive $600,000 each.

“The partnerships funded by these grants will bring real-world experience and hands-on learning to our students, opening new bridges of opportunity from the classroom to success in college and careers. The Careers Pathways Trust is a much-needed investment that will benefit our state’s economy well into the future,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson stated in a prepared statement sent out to the news media.

The $250 million grant program was spearheaded by Senate Democratic leadership in last year’s state budget. A total of 123 eligible applications were received with the total requested funds amounting to about $709 million.

There was no political influence involved in the selection of the grantees, said Tina Woo Jung of the California Department of Education’s Communications Division.

“Awards for these grants were based entirely on the quality of the application. We developed a very tight and fair evaluation process. Each application was read and scored by three different evaluators. Applications were scored according to an established rubric,” Jung explained.

She added, that “while some of (these) awards seem to be going to urban areas, many of those include rural partnerships. For example, the award to Sacramento County Office of Education includes schools in Placer, Eldorado, and Nevada counties. The application from Tulare County Office of Education includes schools in both Tulare and Kings Counties. The Victor Valley Community College District application includes many districts throughout San Bernardino County – one of the most rural areas in California.”

Despite the generous $250 million secured with the help of Sen. Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, “there was only enough funding for the 39 grantees. Steinberg said he will continue to fight for an additional $300 million in funding for this worthy project,” Jung said.

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