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Ohio Straight A Fund Governing Board Recommends Applicants for Approval

Release date: 12/6/2013

COLUMBUS –– A total of 24 grants from more than 150 individual entities were recommended for a total of $88.6 million in funding Friday by the Straight A Fund Governing Board after a rigorous screening process. The recommendations go to the Ohio Controlling Board for final approval on Dec. 16.

A list of applicants recommended for a Straight A Fund Grant can be viewed here.

“There was tremendous competition to receive a Straight A grant,” said Dr. Richard A. Ross, superintendent of public instruction. “All of Ohio will look to the winning proposals for ideas to reduce costs and transform learning in our state.”

The $250 million Straight A Fund was created in the new state budget signed this summer by Gov. John R. Kasich. In all, 420 organizations submitted 570 applications to be considered for funds to improve achievement and increase efficiency. The applicants requested nearly $868 million. A new round of grant funding will be held next year. The Straight A Fund is part of a $1.6 billion increase in state funding for education over the next two years.

“This first round of Straight A Fund grant opportunities has started the process of re-examining the ways that we educate the boys and girls of Ohio,” said Ross. “Many great conversations took place in and between our schools, colleges and universities, businesses and other educational stakeholders as part of this process. We need to build on this spirit of innovation and openness to improvement with the second round of Straight A Fund grants and everything we do moving forward.”

Each grant application was first rated by three of approximately 230 independent fiscal scorers selected by the Department of Administrative Services who helped determine if applicants’ ideas were fiscally sustainable. From the original pool of 570 applications, 359 were approved as sustainable and promoted to the next step of the rating process.

Each application was then rated by three of approximately 230 independent programmatic scorers selected by the Department of Administrative Services to determine if the proposal was innovative, had substantial value and lasting impact.

After this programmatic review, the scores were reviewed by grant advisors. The approximately 30 grant advisors – professional educators and community and corporate leaders approved by the Governing Board - issued a recommendation of the highest quality applications to the Governing Board who made the final recommendations. The State Controlling Board must give final approval before funds are distributed.

Of the $100 million, legislators earmarked $11.4 million (HB 59) for projects including Kids Unlimited of Toledo for quality after-school tutoring and mentoring; for Cleveland Municipal School District for the implementation of the Cleveland Plan; and for qualifying districts to improve the efficiency of pupil transportation. 

The Straight A Fund 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: Alex Fischer, president and CEO of the Columbus Partnership, who serves as chair of the Governing Board; State Superintendent Richard A. Ross; Representative Gerald Stebelton, Ohio House of Representatives; Representative Andrew Brenner, Ohio House of Representatives; Senator Peggy Lehner, Ohio Senate; Kristina Phillips-Schwartz, director of education initiatives at the Cincinnati Business Committee; and Superintendent John Scheu, Sidney City School District.

Information about the Straight A Fund can be viewed here.