Nearly all the 34 projects approved for funding under a state education grant initiative in Ohio involve variations on teaching. That is appropriate, of course.
But one proposal - the only one from East Ohio - takes a different approach. It involves getting students to and from classrooms.
State officials have announced grants in the second round of the state Straight A Fund program.?A total of $141.9 million will be handed out to school districts, colleges and other education-related entities. One grant, for more than $1.7 million, has been approved for a consortium led by Noble Local Schools.
Fourteen school districts in Belmont, Jefferson, Monroe and Harrison counties are included in the project. According to the grant application, the 20-county project is aimed at saving money for school systems by "creating a shared services transportation consortium to streamline and eliminate bus routes; track student ridership; reduce time to transport students; and share parking and bus garage centers."
Nearly 31,000 students would be affected by the project, which is aimed at saving nearly $4 million.
That is a lot of money, especially considering the fact efficiencies will be ongoing. If the project is successful, every school district involved will save money that can be used to improve instruction.
For too long, many Ohio school districts operated independently of their neighbors. The transportation project recognizes that money can be saved in many ways by working together. For example, it may be possible in some areas to replace three bus runs operated by two districts with two.
Good for officials in all 14 of the participating local school districts. The key now will be maintaining a spirit of cooperation to make the most of the study's findings.
In the long run the project may make more difference to students' academic performance than other grantees' plans, simply by making more money available for the task.