Gov. Mark Sanford flew to Washington on Thursday to tell the Obama administration that South Carolina wants $300 million in federal stimulus money.
Sanford, who spent much of last year fighting parts of the Obama administration's stimulus plan, now wants S.C. to have a piece of $4 billion in "Race to the Top" education money.
The money is awarded to states based on their plans to improve education and innovate. Forty states have applied so far.
The Republican governor's trip, which did not appear on his official calendar, drew praise from U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C.. Clyburn sparred with Sanford over his refusal last year to accept more than $700 million in stimulus money to help public schools, colleges and law enforcement agencies weather the nation's worst-ever recession.
"I am pleased to see that the governor is finally taking an interest in South Carolina's public schools," Clyburn said through a spokesman. "After going to court last year to prevent stimulus funds from coming to South Carolina, his meeting with (Education) Secretary (Arne) Duncan appears to be the governor's admission that the stimulus was not only necessary but effective. I hope this is an indication he is willing to move forward together."
Sanford met with Duncan to learn more about a charter school program Duncan started in Chicago, said Ben Fox, the governor's spokesman. Sanford also took the trip to urge Duncan to support more charter school grants, Fox said.
The state Department of Education submitted a 1,251-page application last month, requesting nearly $300 million. Forty other states and Washington, D.C., also have submitted applications and are competing for money.
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