Foundation giving scholarship prize calls a halt

A prominent organization that recently awarded Gwinnett County’s school system $500,000 in college scholarships announced Monday it will pause giving out such prizes.

The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation said its decision would not affect Gwinnett’s prize, which was awarded in September.

The Los Angeles-based foundation has given $1 million annually since 2002 to large urban school districts that have made exceptional efforts to close the academic achievement gap between white students and students of color. Gwinnett was a finalist for the prize in 2009 and won it in 2010.

The foundation said in a statement Monday that it has seen “sluggish academic results from the largest urban school districts in the country,” which was a factor in its decision to pause handing out the prize. The foundation said it typically has at least four finalists for the prize. In 2014, Gwinnett and the Orange County Public School system in Orlando were the only two finalists. The two districts shared last year’s prize.

Broad officials said they will evaluate the prize’s goal, which is to encourage improvement in the nation’s public schools.

The foundation said it will continue to award a $250,000 prize for public charter schools.