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Nearly 250 Communities Apply for Promise Neighborhood Grants

The U.S. Department of Education got 242 applications for a slice of the nearly $60 million in funding for the program, which helps communities pair education with other services, including pre-kindergarten, health, and arts education. That's a slight increase over last year.

The department is aiming to allocate $27 million for up to seven "implementation" grants—which help communities create actual Promise Neighborhoods, and $7 million for up to 14 "planning grants", which help communities figure out what services they need. Communities don't need to have won a planning grant to qualify for an implementation grant, but it helps give them a leg up in the competition.

Of the 242 applicants, 60 were for implementation grants, and 182 were for planning grants.

So far, the Promise Neighborhood program seems to have some fans in Congress. The Senate Appropriations Committee, which is controlled by Democrats, included $80 million for the program in fiscal year 2013. That's not as much as the $100 million the administration asked for, but it is a big boost in a tight budget year.

And the Republican-lead House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees education spending sought to get rid of a bunch of other Obama priorities, including School Improvement Grants, Race to the Top, and the Investing in Innovation program in a recent spending bill. But they kept Promise Neighborhoods around, approving nearly $60 million for the program for fiscal year 2013, which starts on Oct. 1.

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