Eye on Education

Straight A Fund’s Governing Board Makes Final Grant Recommendations

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The Governing Board of Ohio’s Straight A Fund has selected 34 out of more than 200 finalists to receive competitive funding ranging from a couple of hundred thousand dollars to nearly $15 million.

Originally, about 340 schools, school districts and multi-entity partnerships applied for $150 million in the second and final round of Straight A Fund grants aimed at bringing “bold, new approaches to equip… students for a more demanding workplace.”

The $250 million Straight A Fund began with the 2013 biennial budget signed into law by Governor John Kasich last summer, with the purpose of encouraging efficiency and innovation in education.

The largest second-round grant, $14,993,781.00, went to a consortium of career tech centers to expand a robotics and manufacturing education center and create eight more like it across the state.

Several other grants that exceed $13 million also are collaborative ventures.

One will bring access to online college courses from the University of Maryland at College Park to high school students in Mentor and Kirkland.

Another, called the Young Entrepreneur’s Consortium, will “expose students to business and technical pathways and work-based experience,” with the aim of boosting the number of young entrepreneurs and creating new business opportunities.  The 20 partners in that consortium include school districts, three colleges and the Wayne County Economic Development Council.

About a dozen individual applicants received grants of under $1 million, and numerous joint applicants were awarded between $1-10 million.

Summaries and grant amounts of all 34 projects can be found here.

Each of the original 339 grant proposals was rated as to whether they were fiscally sustainable.  228 passed that test in late May and moved on to the next phase of judging.  Those that were deemed to be innovative and offer substantial value and lasting impact were then evaluated for cost-saving.

The Straight A Fund’s governing board made the final recommendations.  The state Controlling Board must sign off before the money can be distributed.


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