TRENTON - New Jersey education officials say they will apply for federal stimulus money that could bring $200 million for the state's public schools after all.

The state Education Department had previously said that it would sit out the first round of Race to the Top funding so that Gov.-elect Christopher J. Christie could decide whether to apply.

The deadline to seek the money is Jan. 19, the day Christie takes over from Gov. Corzine.

Christie's transition team said the state should apply for the money so the cash-strapped state wouldn't miss out.

The money seeks to spur major education overhauls, not plug budget gaps.

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Information from: The Record of Bergen County, http://www.northjersey.com