The James A. Garfield
school district is poised for funding through the state's new Straight A Fund program that would bring $5 million to the district that would enable it to provide new facilities for intermediate school students and upgrade school technology.
Garfield is one of 150 Ohio school districts named as finalists for funding though the program. The 24 grants total $89 million; the State Controlling Board will consider final action on the recommendations next week.
If approved, Garfield would close the Park Avenue Intermediate School facility, which is nearly 75 years old, and move the fifth- and sixth-graders there to a new, 20,000 square-foot addition to the elementary school. The Park Avenue facililty would be put to another use.
The state funding will benefit the district and its students in several ways. Intermediate school students will be moved to a modern, state-of-the-art facility; the instructional day will be lengthened and the need to shuttle students will be eliminated. The move will be more cost-efficient as well because the intermediate and elementary facilities will be able to share resources and staff. The savings, estimated at more than $300,000, will be used for school technology improvements.
The Straight A Fund was the brainchild of Gov. John Kasich, who challenged school districts to compete for a share in $250 million in funding for innovative improvements. Garfield's proposal was among those aimed at boosting student achievement, reducing spending and targeting educational resources.
The Garfield district was the only Portage County district to rank as a finalist for the Straight A Fund. Assuming the controlling board signs off on the funding recommendations, the district and the students it serves stand to gain a great deal from the new state program.