Traditional Public School (District Schools)
All children of school age in Ohio can attend the public schools of the district where they live at no charge. Traditional public schools in Ohio are funded through state, local and federal tax dollars. Some districts accept students residing in neighboring districts through open enrollment.
In addition to a scholarship program, home education, private schools, and public charter schools, several options exist within Ohio’s traditional system of school districts. Some districts offer intra-district enrollment where students may choose which school within the district they prefer to attend. Magnet schools within the district may provide specialized programs such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics programming (STEM), arts-based instruction or career and technical training. Other options offer an alternative to the district of residence and involve enrollment outside the district. Out of district options include open enrollment, College Credit Plus (dual enrollment in higher education), STEM schools, and career and technical programs.
Under state law, each public school district can decide whether or not to enroll students from other districts through open enrollment. Districts have three options: (1) accept open enrollment students from any Ohio district, (2) accept only open enrollment students from adjacent districts, or (3) opt to not participate in open enrollment. Approximately 75% of Ohio school districts accept students through open enrollment. During the 2018-19 school year, more than 90,000 students took advantage of open enrollment, making open enrollment one of the largest educational options in the state.
Unlike when a student enrolls in a private or charter school, parents of students enrolled in a district other than the district of residence are responsible for transportation. Some districts provide transportation to open enrolled students. Parents are urged to talk with districts about whether the district provides transportation for students participating in open enrollment.
A list of open enrollment districts is available here.
Career and Technical Programs
Career and technical training programs are available to students enrolled in a traditional public school district or charter school. Some districts are part of a joint vocational district and have access to a career center. Other districts work together to provide these programs through career compacts. If you are interested in finding a program near you, a list of associated programs by school district is available here.
Established criteria can receive designation as a STEM school. Additionally, Ohio funds stand-alone STEM schools that operate independent of a school district.
A list of STEM schools is available here.
College Credit Plus
The College Credit Plus Program (CCP) permits students enrolled in grades 7 – 12 to earn both high school and college credit through enrollment and successful completion of college courses. CCP covers the cost for tuition, books or fees for students attending a public institution of higher education. (There may be fees associated with enrollment in a private college or for homeschooled students.)