Pa. to apply for $500m education grant competition

Gov. Corbett has expressed his intent to apply for the $500 million federal grant program, "Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge."

Though it's unclear how much Pennsylvania stands to get if they make the cut, any reward to the state could mean a significant boost to Philadelphia, the state's largest school district.  

A contribution would help close the remaining $35 million gap the school district faces. District officials have proposed more layoffs to help cushion the shortfall.  

The federal program, a joint effort between the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services, will distribute $500 million in grant funds to states that develop plans that will improve child care and early learning programs in their state.

A final application will be available later this summer.

The Early Learning Challenge is a spin-off from President Obama's multi-billion dollar Race to the Top program which offers cash incentives to states to improve schools that are chronically below standard. They must either shut down, extend school hours, convert to charters or replace the principal and at least half the staff.

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