Schools seek part of $250 million Ohio grant program

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A total of 662 unique organizations, including 446 public school districts, have requested more than $761 million in the second round of the Straight A Fund grant award process. The applicant pool includes 73 percent of Ohio school districts. The $250 million Straight A Fund was created to promote innovative local ideas and programs to help transform and modernize Ohio’s education system.

“I want to praise Ohio’s schools and districts for the high rate of participation in the application process,” said Dr. Richard A. Ross, state superintendent of public instruction. “Educational leaders around the state are recognizing that innovative programs have the potential to transform education and positively impact students’ lives.”

Straight A Fund grants will provide funds for the most creative and forward-thinking ideas coming from educators and their partners in the public and private sectors. The fund will allow local educators to pursue four goals:

  • Increase student achievement; 
  • Reduce spending projections in the five-year forecast or achieve positive performance on other fiscal measures; 
  • Utilize a greater share of resources in the classroom; or 
  • Implement the use of a shared services delivery model that demonstrates increased efficiency and effectiveness, long-term sustainability and scalability.

Through a rigorous screening process, Ohio will give creative and cost-effective solutions the seed funding they need to get off the ground. Ohio is looking for proposals that solve specific problems in our schools, can be quickly replicated by others and are sustainable.

Straight A Fund Grants are available to districts, schools, educational service centers, community schools, STEM schools, college-preparatory boarding schools, education consortia (representing a partnership among city, local, and exempted village school districts, school buildings, community schools, or STEM schools), institutions of higher education and private entities partnering with one or more of the entities listed above.

The Ohio Department of Education will award $150 million in Fiscal Year 2015 after awarding $100 million to 24 grants involving more than 150 school districts in Fiscal Year 2014.

Individual applicants and partnerships may apply for up to $1 million in funding. Educational consortia may apply for up to $15 million.

Grants will be awarded by the nine-member governing board that consists of the state superintendent of public instruction, four members appointed by the governor, two members appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives and two members appointed by the president of the Senate.

Current members include: Chairman Alex Fischer, president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership; State Superintendent Richard A. Ross; Senator Peggy Lehner, Ohio Senate, Representative Gerald Stebelton, Ohio House of Representatives; Representative Andrew Brenner, Ohio House of Representatives; Kristina Phillips-Schwartz, director of education initiatives at the Cincinnati Business Committee; and Superintendent John Scheu, Sidney City School District.