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Ohio ESC Association


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About ESCs

Ohio’s Educational Service Centers are Making a Difference... 

Ohio’s Educational Service Centers (ESCs) are dedicated to providing school districts with professional development, technology, support, planning, and administrative services that help improve student learning, enhance the quality of instruction, expand equitable access to resources and maximize operating and fiscal efficiencies.

What is an Educational Service Center?


  • Educational Service Centers (ESCs) are local political subdivisions.

  • ESCs are school districts under state law – 3311.055 Ohio Revised Code.

  • ESCs are local education agencies or LEAs under federal law – 20 USCS §7801(17) (ESEA, IDEA, HEA, Perkins).

  • ESCs are governed by publicly-elected boards of education.


What is an ESC's relationship to Ohio school districts?


  • ESCs are large-scale service providers offering administrative, academic, fiscal and operational support services to Ohio’s school districts, chartered nonpublic schools, community schools, and STEM schools.

  • Every district with enrollment of 16,000 students (ADM) or fewer is required to be aligned to an ESC.

  • Districts are able to realign to a different ESC (anywhere in the state) every 2 years, consistent with the state budget process, if they are not satisfied with the services they are receiving.

  • Districts with enrollment over 16,000 students may align to an ESC.

  • Districts may purchase services from any ESC at any time – even ESCs to which they are not aligned.

  • ESCs are consortia by definition and don’t exist if not for their client school districts. Under section 3311.0510. (A) of the Ohio Revised Code, if all of the client school districts of an ESC terminate their agreements the governing board is abolished and the ESC is dissolved by order of the superintendent of public instruction.

ESCs, as Defined in Both State and Federal Law as School Districts, are Public Education Agencies

ESCs are grounded in state and federal law. ESCs are defined as school districts under section 3311.05 of the Ohio Revised Code and, in federal statute are defined in the Higher Education Act (HEA), Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), and Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as such, “(A) -The term ‘local educational agency’ means a public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a State for either administrative control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public elementary schools or secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a State, or of or for a combination of school districts or counties that is recognized in a State as an administrative agency for its public elementary schools or secondary schools. (D) The term includes educational service agencies and consortia of those agencies.”

An Essential Component of Ohio’s Educational System

ESCs are a vital and necessary component of Ohio’s educational system. Am. Sub. H.B. 115 of the 127th General Assembly created the Ohio Educational Regional Service System and positioned ESCs to serve as the conduit and delivery system for Ohio’s statewide school improvement and education reform efforts. Under the new law, ESCs must implement state or federally funded initiatives assigned to the service centers by the General Assembly or the Ohio Department of Education.

Ensuring Proper Public Oversight and Accountability

Keeping with the tradition of maintaining local control of public schools, ESCs operate under the oversight of a locally-elected Governing Board. The day-to-day operations of ESCs are conducted through ESC superintendents, treasurers and other administrators.

How are ESCs funded?

As public agencies ESCs receive some state funding to support operations. Despite their public and not-for-profit status, ESCs are unable to generate funds through taxation. Each ESC depends on revenues from contracted delivery of services to districts of competition for public dollars and/or grant funds as their primary source of revenue. On average 23.51% of and ESC’s funding is provided by the state, 8.75% federal, 3.13% other, and 64.61% is generated through fee-for-service contracts with customer school districts.