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Ohio’s Straight A Fund Generates Strong Interest from Schools

Release date: 10/28/2013

570 Applications Received from 420 Educational Entities

COLUMBUS – Ohio’s school leaders have enthusiastically responded to the state’s new Straight A Fund, with 420 organizations submitting 570 applications to be considered for funds to improve achievement and increase efficiency. The $250 million fund was created in the new state budget signed this summer by Gov. John R. Kasich.

“We are thrilled with the response,” said Dr. Richard A. Ross, superintendent of public instruction. “We were confident that there would be a great deal of interest in this program, but the overwhelming number of applications proves that districts, schools and educators are eager to implement their innovative ideas that improve achievement for students and increase efficiencies in the classroom.”

The strong demand also means that the competition to receive funding will be steep.   

The 570 applications are requesting nearly $868 million. The Straight A Fund, however, is a $250 million ($100 million in fiscal year 2014 and $150 million in fiscal year 2015) program that promotes innovative local ideas and programs to help transform and modernize Ohio’s education system.

“The entities applying for Straight A Fund grants go through a rigorous scoring and review process,” Ross said. “The number of applications has increased the level of competition. Unfortunately, there could be some great ideas that will not be funded this year, but we’re going to do everything we can to make the right decisions and fund as many innovative ideas as possible to help Ohio students.”

Decisions on which school organizations receive grants will be made with input from approximately 230 fiscal scorers who will help determine if applicants’ ideas are fiscally sustainable. Next, the applications will be rated by three programmatic scorers to determine the value of the proposal. After the fiscal review and after the programmatic review, the scores are reviewed by grant advisors. The grant advisors will issue a recommendation for funding to the Governing Board.

The Governing Board is comprised of nine members, including 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: State Superintendent Richard A. Ross; Representative Gerald Stebelton, Ohio House of Representatives; Colleen Grady, education policy advisor at the Ohio House of Representatives; Senator Peggy Lehner, Ohio Senate; Alex Fischer, president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership; Kristina Phillips-Schwartz, director of education initiatives at the Cincinnati Business Committee; and Superintendent John Scheu, Sidney City School District.

Final decisions on award funding are expected to come by mid-December.

Each grant proposal was required to include:

  • A description of the project, including a how the project’s innovative concept will have substantial value and lasting impact;
  • An explanation of how the project will be financially self-sustaining;
  • A description of a thoughtful implementation plan that identifies quantifiable results of the project that can be benchmarked.

The State Controlling Board must give final approval before funds are distributed.

For more information about the Straight A Fund, please visit the Ohio Department of Education webpage at http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Straight-A-Fund.