A state legislative panel has approved the first round of education innovation grants through Ohio's Straight A Fund.
The Ohio Controlling Board cleared $88 million in recommended grant funding on Monday. The fund's governing board selected the 24 finalists from among 569 applicants. State Superintendent Richard Ross said the small number of winning applications involve 150 institutions and benefit 360,000 children. Gov. John Kasich launched the $250 million fund in September. The program aims to reward creative ideas that significantly boost student achievement, reduce spending or target an impressive share of resources into the classroom. Democrats on the panel criticized the fund's all-white, all-Republican governing board for lacking the same diversity found in Ohio's schools. Superintendent Ross says a diverse mix of educators and others helped screen the applications.