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  1. Pasco

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:

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