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Source: United States House of Representatives – Congressman Roger Marshall (1st District of Kansas)

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Kansas Rural Development office announced Monday a $658,894 Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant to the Educational Services and Staff Development Association of Central Kansas (ESSDACK). This grant will support the organization’s 10-county, 11-school district virtual learning redesign project to reduce inequality of educational experiences, resources and career exploration opportunities in rural school districts in Central Kansas. 

“Location should never determine a student’s access to resources and career planning opportunities,” said U.S. Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D. “From the beginning, this Administration has been committed to supporting our rural communities and school districts. This grant announcement will help to level the playing field between Kansas City and Kinsley, and ensure that all Kansas public education students have the support and assistance needed to succeed both in school and after graduation.” 

ESSDACK’s Redesign of Virtual Learning project will support 11 rural school districts in Edwards, McPherson, Harper, Ness, Harvey, Reno, Kingman, Rice, Marion and Stafford counties. The grant announcement is part of a 40-state, $72 million investment in Distance Learning and Telemedicine projects across the U.S. 

Because of the potential to reach more students with fewer resources, Rep. Marshall has been a consistent advocate for greater broadband deployment distance learning opportunities. Investments in virtual infrastructure will continue to strengthen rural districts and communities, and continues to build upon broadband funding available through the 2018 Farm Bill, USDA ReConnect program, FCC Universal Service Fund and the CARES Act.