USDA grant to benefit Conway Springs, Argonia

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development state director for Kansas Lynne Hinrichsen announced that USDA is investing $791,638 to provide interactive video conferencing equipment and instructional programming licenses to aid in the distance program to allow access to students throughout Kansas.
Conway Springs USD 356 and Argonia USD 359 among the Kansas schools to receive aid. The announcement was made Oct. 14.
“Distance learning provides more educational resources to difficult to reach populations,” Hinrichsen said. “This project enhances the focus on rural education…
“The USDA has been working tirelessly to be a strong partner to rural America in building stronger and healthier communities, because we know when rural America prospers, all of America prospers.”
The investment will help the Kansas Association for Interactive Distance Education (KAIDE) members purchase monitors, video and audio-conferencing equipment, wiring, software licenses for distance learning upgrades, and instructional programming licenses to aid in the distance program.
The project will expand educational opportunities for rural residents within the five KAIDE member areas encompassing 36 counties in Kansas: Interactive Consortium Academic Network (I-CAN), Southwest Kansas Interactive Consortium Academic Network (SKI-CAN), South Central Kansas Distance Learning Network (SCKDLN), ESSDACK Education Service Center, and Smoky Hill Education Service Center.
In addition to Conway Springs and Argonia, other school districts receiving funds include USD 285 Cedar Vale, USD 357 Belle Plaine, USD 360 Caldwell, USD 390 Hamilton, USD 462 Central Burden, and USD 463 Udall. Cowley County Community College also is a recipient.
This announcement is in conjunction with a larger announcement made by USDA, where it is investing $72 million in 40 states through the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant Program. These investments will benefit more than 12 million rural residents.
USDA Rural Development provides loans and grants to help expand economic opportunities and create jobs in rural areas. This assistance supports infrastructure improvements; business development; housing; community facilities such as schools, public safety and health care; and high-speed internet access in rural areas.