By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A dozen South Carolina school districts have told the U.S. Department of Education they plan to apply for a piece of $400 million in grants to be distributed nationwide.
The latest round of the Obama administration's Race to the Top grants calls for districts to apply directly - the only way South Carolina schools could get a chunk.
Republican state Superintendent Mick Zais has refused since his 2010 campaign to participate, arguing the money is comparatively meager and creates an unfunded mandate.
District officials say they're excited about the opportunity to win money for plans tailored to their needs.
Twelve districts met an Aug. 30 deadline for submitting a non-binding, intent-to-apply form. At least two represent a consortium of districts applying together. Others have since decided against applying.