Educational Service Centers (ESCs) have been making a difference in Ohio’s schools for over 100 years. ESCs were established in 1914 through an act of the Ohio General Assembly.
The law created 88 “County School Districts” and charged them with the task of “elevating the state’s system of education to a proper standard.” This effort entailed county office staff members drafting courses of study for school systems, providing in-service training for teachers and assuring quality classroom instruction through supervision and evaluation.
The role of the county offices of education evolved and expanded over the next several decades. In the 1930’s, they began assisting districts with fiscal and purchasing services; later in the 1960’s, their responsibilities expanded again as they began operating special education programs and increased professional development and technical assistance for schools.
In 1995, Am. Sub. H.B. 117 changed the role of the “County School Districts” by redefining their responsibilities, and renaming them “Educational Service Centers” – a statutory name change intended to reflect the evolving nature of ESC programs and services. The law also encouraged county offices to merge into regional agencies.
In June 2003, Am. Sub. H.B. 95 granted local school districts greater choice in selection of ESCs. Districts were granted the ability to sever their districts from the territory of an existing ESC and annex to the territory of another adjacent ESC. Granting districts greater choice in ESCs, and allowing the ESC’s funds to transfer with the districts, insures the ultimate accountability – customer satisfaction, supervision, and evaluation.
- 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.
Educational Service Centers operate under the oversight of a locally-elected Governing Board. The day-to-day operations of are conducted through the ESC superintendent, treasurer, and other administrators.
Learn more about what Ohio’s ESC’s do for education at the Ohio Educational Service Center Association (OESCA).