Published: Jan 04, 2011 8:40 PM EST
Updated: Jan 04, 2011 5:40 PM EST

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - The state has approved the first $25 million in stimulus spending from Florida's $700 million federal Race to the Top grant for 11 school districts.

The Department of Education issued grant notices to the districts Tuesday.

They can draw those funds on a quarterly basis over four years as they meet goals for improving student achievement.

Another 51 districts and three laboratory schools are eligible. Their applications are still being evaluated.

The districts approved are Alachua, Calhoun, Clay, DeSoto, Gulf, Hendry, Holmes, Manatee, Pasco, Putnam and Washington.

Half of the grant is earmarked for districts and lab schools. The state gets the rest. Five of Florida's 67 school districts are not participating.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)