"We're very disappointed. UTLA couldn't be a partner with us on Race to the Top," said LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy.
Race to the Top is the federal grant program, and LAUSD wanted to submit an application to get as much as $40 million, but its teachers unions, the UTLA, did not.
"We've been working since the application came out in late August. Our first meeting was ... September 6, then we've been meeting regularly. It just didn't work. They were unable to sign," Deasy said.
The union says the numbers simply didn't add up, saying it would cost more than the money the district would get in return.
"The maximum amount of money that the application could have brought in would have been $40 million, and according to the application itself, the minimum amount L.A. Unified would have to spend to get it would be $43.3 million," said Warren Fletcher of UTLA.
The grant would also require teacher evaluations, which the union opposes. But Fletcher says in this case, that was not an issue since the union and the LAUSD are negotiating that separately under a court order.
"The stuff that's in the Race to the Top grant that has to do with evaluations, we were doing that back in July," he said.
In addition to LAUSD, Glendale, San Francisco and several other districts also won't submit applications. Green Dot charter schools, which operates 18 schools in Southern California, will apply for the grant. CEO Marco Petruzzi said he and its unions worked together to make the deadline.
The deadline to submit applications was Tuesday, but because of Hurricane Sandy, the deadline has been extended a few days. The government will award grants to just 15 school districts across the country.