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Steep climb to win Race to the Top District grants

Pasco school district officials hope to win $40 million in the Race to the Top District grant competition to support teacher professional development and the creation of new student assessments. Pinellas leaders seek a similar amount to help improve academic performance in 31 struggling schools. The Hillsborough school district also has applied for $40 million, which would bolster its new teacher evaluation efforts.

Winning the money will not be easy.

By the time the extended deadline passed, 1,189 districts from around the country had applied for a piece of the fund, either independently or as part of a group. That includes 28 Florida districts. There's just $400 million on the line, with the feds suggesting that only around a dozen proposals will snag an award.

Local officials acknowledged that the chances were low. But if you don't play, they said, you can't win. Still, there's been some criticism of the mandates that come with Race to the Top, with some observers suggesting it might be better not to play and not to win. Your thoughts?

The Florida applicants, by the way, are:

* District School Board of Collier County

* District School Board of Pasco County

* Flagler County School District

* Florida Virtual School

* Gadsden County Public Schools

* Hillsborough County Public Schools

* Leon County School Board, including Bradford County School District, Hamilton County School District, Jefferson County School District, Taylor County School Board, Leon County School Board

* School Board of Charlotte County FL

* School Board of Miami-Dade County, FL

* School Board of Orange County, Florida

* School Board of Pinellas County

* School Board of Polk County, Florida

* School Board of Volusia County

* School District of Manatee County, FL

* Seminole County Public Schools

* The School Board of Broward County, Florida

* Washington County School District/PAEC, including Calhoun County District Schools, Gulf County District County Schools, Holmes County District Schools, Jackson County District Schools, Liberty County District Schools, Madison District County Schools, Walton County District Schools, Washington County School District/PAEC

Posted by Jeff Solochek at 9:25:19 am on November 15, 2012