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Date set for state’s R2T pitch

Showtime for Colorado’s Race to the Top bid will be 1:30 p.m. eastern time on March 16, state officials learned Friday.

That’s when Colorado education leaders will have 90 minutes to make the case for the state’s $377 million bid to a panel of the five reviewers who scored the state’s application.

Members of the state R2T team were briefed on the arrangements Friday during a conference call with U.S. Department of Education officials.

There was “not much new” in the briefing other than the March 16 details, said Nina Lopez, special assistant for stimulus programs to education Commissioner Dwight Jones.

The state delegation (up to five people) will be on the hot seat for 90 minutes, with 30 minutes allowed for a presentation and the rest for reviewer questions. The purpose of the presentation is for the reviewers “to clarify or validate the scores,” Lopez said.

Colorado and the 14 states and the District of Columbia, selected Thursday as first-round finalists for R2T, all scored above 400 on the 500-point scale, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said Thursday. All state interviews will be done March 16 and 17.

Lopez said Friday that state officials were not told Colorado’s score during the conference call and that reviewer questions also won’t be released in advance of the March 16 meeting.

The full lineup of Colorado’s delegation hasn’t been decided, Lopez said, although Lt. Gov. Barbara O’Brien and Jones will be on the team. The state has to give DOE the list by noon March 12.

Colorado officials were told Friday that the first-round R2T winners will be announced in “early April,” Lopez said.

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