Georgia hopes to qualify for up to $400 million from a competitive federal grant program aimed at boosting education across the nation.
Tuesday was the deadline for states to turn-in applications for a slice of more than $4 billion dollars from the Race to the Top program. Federal officials will award the money in April.
The grant is meant to reward states with the most innovative ideas to improving education policies and strategies.
Georgia is banking on ideas like charter school growth and teacher merit pay.
The proposal made just last week by Governor Sonny Perdue to tie teacher salaries more to performance is one Perdue-spokesman Bert Brantley says is key:
"We would be putting this into place and would place us light-years ahead of most states, particularly ones that have teacher unions and have to negotiate these types of things."
Tim Callahan with the Professional Association of Georgia Educators says any extra money can help:
"It may provide us an opportunity, the chance, to work together, involve the stakeholders, and improve our testing regime, improve our evaluation process for educators, beef-up our curriculum, and perhaps do some other things."
The Race to the Top money comes from the Obama-administration’s stimulus program signed into law last year.