TACOMA -- Five Tacoma schools are among 49 across Washington now eligible for state grant money to improve low student achievement.
Giaudrone, First Creek, Jason Lee, and Stewart Middle Schools along with Roosevelt Elementary are on the list, which includes ten other Western Washington schools.
The news triggered a change at Stewart Middle School in Tacoma, where the district announced the entire administration was being replaced after the school year. Stewart had been part of a federally funded program for three years to improve test scores, but failed to do so adequately.
"The two new schools this year (First Creek and Roosevelt) are in high poverty areas," said Tacoma School Board President Kurt Miller. "As we know, high poverty and low achievement go together, unfortunately."
Unlike past years however, parents could use these statistics as a tool to move their children into charter schools. Tacoma is slated to get three of them in 2015, despite opposition from the teachers union the district.
"We're not saying a charter can come in and do it better," said Miller. "Because we're doing a darn good job already."
Miller pointed to the district's intense effort to innovate at all schools. However, he said, there is a long way to go.
"There's not a race against the clock against the charter schools," he explained. "It's a race against the clock to provide for our students."
In its announcement, Washington's Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction announced all 49 low achievement schools are eligible for part of a $24 million grant.
Also Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee said he was proposing a plan to help save roughly $40 million in federal education grants for low-income, low-achievement schools as well.