Georgia was almost a winner in the first round of the federal "Race to the Top" grant competition.
The state was one of 16 finalists vying for a part of $4.35 billion in education reform grants. Officials announced Monday that Delaware and Tennessee were the winners for the first round of competition, with Georgia just trailing them.
Georgia and other states can reapply for a second round of grants in June.
Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue said in a prepared statement that the state will reapply and will be "tough to beat." He said the state is a "top seed heading into round two."
In an issued statement, State Superintendent of Schools Kathy Cox said, "It is unfortunate that Georgia was not named a winner for Race to the Top funds, but I know we are well-positioned to be in contention for the next round of funding."
She continued, "We will take the U.S. Department of Education's suggestions and work on perfecting those parts of the application for Phase Two. For seven years, Georgia has been focused on the very issues called for in the Race to the Top application. With a third place finish, it is clear that we had a very strong application and I look forward to working with our partners on making our next attempt even better for the students of Georgia."
The money is part of President Barack Obama's economic stimulus, which provided $100 billion for schools. The "Race to the Top" money is designed to encourage innovative programs.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.