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Minnesota loses out on Race to the Top program

Detroit Lakes, along with every other school district in Minnesota, is not "Race to the Top" material.

Administrators were notified Thursday that Minnesota wasn't one of the 16 finalist states to receive a share of $4.35 billion in federal education funding.

The Race to the Top program would've awarded Minnesota about $250 million to implement various programs and ideas.

Detroit Lakes School District officials didn't want to get their hopes up, but did think of ways on how to use the money if awarded.

"School districts across the state had a general idea," superintendent Doug Froke said. "But we didn't have anything in concrete of how we would utilize the dollars." Those ideas for Detroit Lakes include additional staff development coaches and data assessment software.

Froke said the district might still be able to add software that would allow teachers to collect student data at the click of a button. It would help gather overall long-term assessments for K-12 students.

Although local districts are out of the running for federal funding, there is another way Detroit Lakes can receive state funding.

Quality Compensation for Teachers (Q Comp): a program that provides compensation for teachers based on performance, training and added experience. It gives an alternative salary schedule for career advancement.

Local officials previously said they were opposed to the Q Comp idea, but that doesn't mean it's completely out of the question.

"Those discussions are ongoing here in Detroit Lakes and they will continue to be ongoing as resources for K-12 education become more and more stressed," Froke said.

Participation in Q Comp would bring in about $700,000 annually to the Detroit Lakes district.

The 16 states finalists for Race to the Top are: Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.