Effective and efficient
schools for Ohio

Now, more than ever, Ohio must be smart about how it invests in education. The state must find ways to give its 1.8 million students a world-class education that will allow them and the state to thrive in an increasingly competitive global economy – while at the same time making the best use of limited resources in the context of an ongoing economic downturn.

Finding ways to do more with less

Ohio Smart Schools is a collaborative, nonpartisan initiative of Ohio Education Matters that has been seeking ideas and approaches that will allow the state to achieve innovative education reform.


KnowledgeWorks and Ohio Education Matters Host Statewide Conference on Ohio Cradle to Career Initiatives

An October 4 panel discussion in Columbus addressed ways that Ohio P-16s are improving academic achievement amid budget challenges

Statewide education leaders and stakeholders gathered October 4th in Columbus to examine how communities in Ohio can work together to improve student achievement from cradle to career. To follow the event on Twitter, use hashtag #OhioC2C.

Andrew Benson, executive director of Ohio Education Matters, said he believes local P-16 councils represent a way to better utilize existing resources.

“Over the past two years, through the Ohio Smart Schools Initiative, we have identified ways for school districts to operate more efficiently through the reduction of non-instructional spending. Today, it’s important that we expand our focus and look for ways Ohio communities can be more collaborative in their approach as education funding continues to constrict,” Benson said. “Ohio must pursue new structural arrangements and strategies to help create better schools at less cost.”

The convening was hosted by KnowledgeWorks and its subsidiary, Ohio Education Matters, and co-hosted by the Ohio Grantmakers Forum, the Strive Partnership, Learn4Life Columbus, and the Stark Education Partnership.

Download the agenda for the Cradle to Career discussion

Download Ohio's Plan to Develop Local P-16 Councils

Read the full press release for this event

Ohio Smart Schools helps advance strategies for shared services in Ohio

The Governor's Office of 21st Century Education and the Office of Budget and Management released Beyond Boundaries: A Shared Services Action Plan, which includes policy recommendations, potential collaborations and other changes to help local governments and school districts in Ohio benefit from the cost-saving efficiencies of shared services.

Ohio Education Matters' executive director Andrew Benson participated in the preparation of the plan, which utilizes data from the Ohio Smart Schools' report Towards a New Model of Educational Governance for Ohio and builds upon its accompanying recommendations

Ohio's House Bill 509, which was passed with substantial bipartisan support, newly emphasizes shared services as an important cost-savings measure.

Download the press release from The Ohio Office of Budget and Management
Download "Beyond Boundaries: A Shared Action Plan for Ohio Schools and Governments"

Benchmarking Ohio's School Districts: Identifying districts that get more for their money in non-instructional spending

Ohio school districts could save more than $1.4 billion a year if they were able to emulate the best practices of the most efficient districts in the state, according to an independent study released today by Ohio Education Matters.

Analysis: Ohio's rural school districts could save most in non-instructional spending if they met efficiencies of top performers

Benchmarking Ohio’s School Districts: What kinds of districts seem to be getting more for their money in non-instructional spending?

CINCINNATI – Ohio’s rural public school districts have the potential to save up to 24 percent in non-instructional spending if they were to follow the lead of their most efficient peers, a savings potential that is higher than in urban and suburban districts, according to an independent analysis released today by Ohio Education Matters.

Much of that savings could come from greater efficiencies in student transportation, where rural districts could save up to 29 percent if they were to meet the performance of their best-in-class peer districts, the analysis found.

“Ohio school districts have the ability to improve efficiency in non-instructional spending areas that won’t hurt student achievement and will help close the budget gap,” said Andrew Benson, Executive Director of Ohio Education Matters, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks. “We urge Governor Kasich and the state to do everything in their power to help school districts achieve these greater efficiencies.”

The analysis shows that Ohio’s 339 rural school districts could save a total of $438 million through efficiencies, which represents a savings of $177.84 per pupil. That is compared to a total savings of $600 million for urban school districts, which represents a savings of only $153.93 per pupil, and a total savings of $344 million for suburban districts, which represents only $141.58 per pupil.

Read the benchmarking analysis

Report: Ohio School districts could save millions and improve outcomes with better regional support from the state

Ohio needs new regional structures to help school districts share services and to help communities better focus local resources on problems in the educational system that are holding some children back, according to a new independent report released in 2011 by Ohio Education Matters.

The report, the second in the Ohio Smart Schools initiative, recommended that the state collapse fractured existing regional entities into Regional Service Agencies that would lead the state’s effort to save hundreds of millions in education spending by sharing services across districts.

In addition, the report called on the state to expand existing P-16 councils into a statewide network of regional P-16 councils. These councils would help create an infrastructure of support for local schools and districts by connecting them more closely to their local and regional service providers for children.

“Most schools and districts in Ohio do not have the ability to easily share services and get the cost efficiencies of regional service delivery,” said Andrew Benson, Executive Director of Ohio Education Matters, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks. “Building a regional market for services would allow districts to reduce costs and focus more dollars and attention on the classroom.”

Report: Ohio can save up to $138 million a year by changing how school districts purchase employee health insurance

A Check-up on School Employee Health Care: A Proposal to Reduce Costs Without Reducing Quality

Ohio public school districts can save up to $138 million a year in employee health care costs if the state were require them to pool together in large groups that benefit from larger economies of scale, according to a report released in 2011 by Ohio Education Matters.