COLUMBUS -- Schools and districts have a little more than a week to notify an Ohio Department of Education panel about their intent to seek grants through the state's new Straight A Fund.
A total of $250 million will be awarded through the program, created earlier this year in what state Superintendent Richard Ross called "the most significant thing that came out of the last budget."
A new governing board overseeing the application process has asked for letters of intent by Oct. 4 from schools and districts that plan to apply. The final deadline for applications is Oct. 25, with decisions on grantees expected by mid-December.
Individual districts can receive up to $5 million, and groups of districts, universities, charter schools and others can snag up to $15 million in grants.
Ross said the program isn't set up to provide money for programs that can't be sustained over time without outside funding support.
"Districts and schools and teachers have to show that it's not an add-on, that they have to look at what they're doing that's maybe not working and replace that with this other proposal and make sure it's sustainable," he said, adding, "The point is to have districts and schools be introspective and look at what's working and what's not working for them and make the changes and implement this reform or this improvement that will be longstanding."
Ross said he has talked to hundreds of superintendents, teachers, principals and parents about potential initiatives, including new distance-learning systems to offer upper level physics, mathematics and other classes to schools, literacy programs to support the state's new third grade reading guarantee and increased shared services among districts to cut down on administrative costs, thus directing more public funding into classroom activities."
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.