Despite a less than rosy review, the state education department says they are pleased with the news, knowing it means they still have a chance at finally securing a big chunk of grant money.
"Some people just thought we were going to lose the money. We think we've made some really good progress. They want to see how far it goes from here. Fair enough," said DOE Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi
In an email to Governor Neil Abercrombie on Friday, the US DOE said it's decided to extend Hawaii's "High-Risk Status" over the Race to the Top Grant
They say, based on that extensive four day review in March Hawaii is: "...moving in the right direction... but has not yet demonstrated it has made the substantial progress necessary to remove it from high-risk status.
Still, Matayoshi called it a positive step. "It's a high bar. We've always known it's a high bar, but we're getting up there in the scale and I think that's a good thing."
US DOE also decided to take Hawaii off what's called "cost reimbursement status."
That means, the state can directly tap into grant dollars, instead of spending state money first.
But, that cloud, that drawn out battle over a new teacher's contract, still threatens to derail grant efforts.
Earlier this week, leaders for the teacher's union approved a second ratification vote on the same contract rejected back in January.
And today, for the third time in a week, the HSTA canceled contract negotiations with the state.
"You'll have to ask them what's up on what they're doing because what they are doing is not clear to me," said Governor Neil Abercrombie.