BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick says nearly $600,000 in grant funding is available to "Innovation" public schools working on new programs to close the state's educational achievement gap.

Patrick announced the new funding Wednesday. He said the money, provided in implementation grants, will help 20 "Innovation" schools develop creative education approaches to raise student achievement. The schools have greater autonomy and flexibility than regular public schools.

They will receive between $15,000 to $45,000 through grants awarded to the state by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the federal Race to the Top initiative.

There are 18 "Innovation" schools operating in Massachusetts, with another 25 coming this fall.