Garrettsville – The James A. Garfield Schools recently submitted an application to the Ohio Department of Education to create a “Campus of Excellence” through a newly established Straight A Fund.  The project would cost $5 million and be funded 100% by grant dollars that would never have to be paid back.  The project is very extensive and includes moving students from Garfield Intermediate School on Park Avenue, which was built in 1939, to an addition that would be constructed onto the current elementary school. Grant dollars would also supply all students in grades 7-12 with a laptop and access to updated digital resources and online courses.

District officials have made it very clear that they do not want to close Garfield Intermediate School. “The Intermediate School is a beautiful building with a tremendous history,” said district Superintendent Ted Lysiak.

“We are actively pursuing partnerships that may bring some exciting new services to our community.  We have already met with the Greater Cleveland Area YMCA and the Portage County Educational Service Center about utilizing the building.”

The Straight A Grant required applicants to demonstrate ideas that would increase student achievement, reduce the cost of running a school district and funnel more dollars to the classroom.

Garfield’s application would expand instructional time for students by eliminating the need for shuttle buses and allow for more efficient use of staff.  By consolidating to a campus the schools would realize annual savings of more than $310,000.  Even after reinvesting dollars into classroom technology for students and teachers the district would reduce operational costs by more than $250,000 annually.

“This is an innovative approach to lessening the tax burden on our community. Our community has always been very supportive of our schools.  They are a big part of why we can do the excellent things we do year after year.  We owe our community and kids continued excellence and innovative programming.  This grant will allow us to do that without asking them to foot the bill,” Lysiak commented.

Nearly 600 proposals seeking $868 million were submitted by the application deadline. The fund, however, will award only $100 million this school year and $150 million in the 2014-15 school year. Applications will be reviewed in late November and winners will be announced on December 17.