Scott applies for Race to Top — but won’t take cash if (more) strings attachedby John Kennedy | October 19th, 2011
Gov. Rick Scott defied tea party activists Wednesday and submitted an application to the Obama administration for ‘Race to the Top’ funding, making the state eligible for as much as $100 million in federal money for public schools.
Scott, though, put some conditions on whether he would accept the money. Basically, he doesn’t want federal administrators to dictate terms to the state on how it should be spent.
“The Office of Early Learning, together with my own staff, worked hard to structure a Race to the Top application that requires no additional state spending obligations—current or future, no requirements for future legislative action, and no new government programs that unduly burden state taxpayers and commit state dollars to federal unfunded mandates,” Scott said.
He added, “To be clear, Florida will only accept these grant dollars if the award comes back with no strings attached. Additionally, if during the process of implementing this grant, the state finds unexpected new regulations being placed on private businesses, I pledge that Florida will not move forward with implementation.”
Florida won a $700 million federal grant under the program last year, in its second attempt at landing the cash. But Scott has been pushing back millions of dollars in aid tied to Obama’s health care overhaul — and was urged by the state’s Tea Party Network, also to steer clear of the Race to the Top effort.
But for all the line-in-the-sand drawing, Scott last month agreed to some conditions in advance of the application.
At Scott’s urging, the Legislative Budget Commission accepted a $3.4 million federal grant under the Affordable Care Act to provide home visiting services to at-risk families. Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, was among those urging against the move, saying the program’s mission was murky, and he feared it could result in the state facing additional costs.