The state education department will try again for some big education money from the federal government although it finished near the bottom in the first round of the competition.

The Obama administration has set aside more than 4.3-billion dollars to give to states with comprehensive reform plans for schools. Missouri, one of 40 states to enter the Race to the Top in the first round, finished 33rd. Only two states were pronounced winners. They are splitting 600-million dollars.

Missouri hopes to polish its application and lift itself into the top 15 in round two, hoping to get some of that money. Department spokesman Jim Morris says the money is worth chasing in these tight economic times.

Morris says five special teams have been formed of educators from throughout the state to strengthen Missouri’s next application which is due June first. Some states disappointed with their reviews from round one indicate they might not apply for round two. Morris says Missouri considers the criticisms from round one as valuable insights into what it needs to do to improve its chances.

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