Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Ohio School Mentorship Grants Are Required To Include Faith-Based Partners

The Ohio legislature earlier this year appropriated $10 million for a Career Advising and Mentoring Grant Program, specifying:
The program shall award competitive matching grants to provide funding for local networks of volunteers and organizations to sponsor career advising and mentoring for students in eligible school districts.... Eligible school districts are those with a high percentage of students in poverty, a high number of students not graduating on time, and other criteria as determined by the State Superintendent. Eligible school districts shall partner with members of the business community, civic organizations, or the faith-based community to provide sustainable career advising and mentoring services. [Am H.B. 483, Sec. 263.320]
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that at an informational meeting held in Cleveland last week, school districts that are potential applicants were told by an Ohio Department of Education representative that: "each application must include a school district (or charter school) plus a business and a place of worship or faith-based organization in its partnership." A United Way representative that sits on the advisory panel for the program said the same thing.  Americans United takes issue with the requirement-- added in Department of Education rule making-- that a faith-based organization is required to be part of each partnership.