Schools seek part of $150 million

The highly competitive program encourages districts to concoct the most creative, forward-thinking ideas possible
Alissa Widman Neese
May 2, 2014
Six area districts are vying for a slice of $150 million from the Ohio Department of Education.

The state’s Straight A Fund grant program, in its second and final year, attracted hundreds of applicants across the state, the department announced this past week.

The highly competitive program encourages districts to concoct the most creative, forward-thinking ideas possible.

Erie County boasts the three most expansive local proposals this year, with the potential to impact thousands of area children if state officials choose to fund the projects:

•North Point Educational Service Center — An initiative aiming to help area third-grade students meet state-mandated readinglevels. The project would cost about $3,274,400 and impact about 6,860 students.

•Perkins Schools — A partnership between BGSU eliminate the final semester of senior year and replace it with a “global experience,” with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math. The project, in line with the district’s Transformation Plan, would cost about $494,700 and impact about 750 students.

Firelands and Edison, Huron, Margaretta, Perkins and Napoleon schools to promote blended learning, assisted by BGSU Firelands student-teachers. The project would cost about $2,024,600 and impact about 3,060 students.

•Sandusky Schools — Sandusky High School will eliminate the final semester of senior year and replace it with a “global experience,” with an emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math. The project, in line with the district’s Transformation Plan, would cost about $494,700 and impact about 750 students.

“Our primary focus is finding a way to implement our Transformation Plan, and we felt this was a timely initiative to offer us support,” Sandusky Schools superintendent Eugene Sanders said. “This is a unique proposal, and it would help prepare our students for a global marketplace.”

Proposals in Ottawa County include expansion of a one-to-one technology program at Port Clinton Schools, as well as an in-house, student-operated credit union at Benton-Carroll Salem Schools.

Norwalk Schools is also hoping to secure funds, with a goal of assisting elementary students who aren’t reading at staterequired levels.

The Straight A Fund grant program attracted applications from about 450 districts statewide this year, with requests totaling about $761 million.

This past year, 11 local districts and 420 statewide applied for funding. Fund requests totaled about $868 million.

Kelleys Island School officials were the only successful local applicants. The school and its nine partner districts received $525,000 to support an outdoor learning program called SOIL, which stands for STEM Outdoor Learning Labs.

The new program began in April. Students from partner districts travel to the island for a week-long outdoor learning experience, then apply their lessons in their home districts.