CCSD awarded $8.9M grant

File photo (WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- A federal grant worth nearly $9 million will be used "to improve pay structures, reward great teachers and principals and provide greater professional opportunities to teachers in high poverty schools," officials said.

The U.S. Department of Education announced the Teacher Incentive Fund Grant Friday. Grants were given to nearly 1,000 schools in 150 districts across the country.

In a statement, CCSD officials said its grant will support the district's Evaluation and Compensation for High Quality Outcome (ECHO) project, which will focus on 14 of the district's "highest need schools."

"The resources provided in this grant will enable us to make good on the promise I made to Charleston teachers over two years ago when I assured them that if we moved toward 'value added' compensation, it would be done through a fair and professional approach," said Superintendent Nancy McGinley.

A spokesman for the school district said Friday CCSD could receive up to $23.7 million in federal grants over the next five years. Approximately $8.9 million is guaranteed to the district over the next two years, and Congress will decide after that whether to provide more funding for the grants.

"Whether urban or rural, traditional or charter, successful schools are not possible without great teaching and leadership," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a news release announcing the grants. "Our best teachers and principals are invaluable leaders in changing life outcomes for students."