COLUMBUS -- More school districts submitted applications for grants through a new state program aimed at improving classroom learning while cutting costs.
One of those districts is Tallmadge City Schools, which submitted an application for a grant for a program entitled "Pioneering 21st century learning: cultivating exploration and collaboration to foster post-secondary aspirations in a paperless environment."
According to information provided to the state, the objective of the proposal is to create disruptively innovative pathways which enhance academic performance, boosting students' post-secondary ambitions and preparedness. Through the use of cost efficient, more convenient universal device access, school officials hope this grant will aim to improve the utilization of information technology. By reducing the costs attributed to traditional learning platforms, the integration of technology will allow for diversified, seamless classroom instruction as well as cross-curricular teacher/student collaboration.
The Ohio Department of Education reported April 28 that 662 applications seek more than $761 million during the second round of Straight A Fund grants. The total includes paperwork from 446 public school districts, covering about 73 percent of the state.
The results compare to 570 applications submitted by 420 districts and groups that requested nearly $868 million in funding during the first application round last year.
"I want to praise Ohio's schools and districts for the high rate of participation in the application process," Richard Ross, state superintendent of public instruction, said in a released statement. "Educational leaders around the state are recognizing that innovative programs have the potential to transform education and positively impact students' lives."
Lawmakers and Gov. John Kasich created the Straight A Fund as part of the last biennial budget, with $250 million ($100 million during the first fiscal year and $150 million during the second) available for grants for new technology or other projects aimed at improving student achievement, reducing costs and directing more state funding into classrooms.
New applicants are seeking funding for a variety of projects, including increased classroom activities related to job training, better student online access in areas without widespread Internet service, increased sharing of transportation and other services and more science, engineering, mathematics and technology-related courses.
A state board will review the applications and determine which ones will receive funding. Twenty-four grants covering 150-plus school districts were selected during the first funding round.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.