Ariz. officials hail state's advance in money race

Posted: Updated:

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona officials are hailing the state's inclusion among 19 finalists in the second round of the federal "Race to the Top" school grant competition.

Arizona is among 18 states and the District of Columbia chosen to compete for a share of $3.4 billion. Finalists will present their proposals in coming weeks, with winners announced in September.

Gov. Jan Brewer says calls the state's designation as a finalist "a very significant and important milestone in Arizona's comeback."

Two members of the state's congressional delegation -- Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick and Gabrielle Giffords -- say the designation reflects recognition of Arizona's efforts to improve its education system.

Tennessee and Delaware were awarded a total of $600 million in the first round.