Arkansas' distance-learning program is getting a budget cut for next year but is not facing elimination, state officials say.
Distance learning enables high-school students to take one or more courses via the Internet from a teacher based in Little Rock, at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs, or at an educational service cooperative.
Teachers in the various distance-learning centers this past week received notice that their contracts were not recommended for renewal for the coming year. The reason given was that the state Department of Education had not provided notice to the distance-learning centers that their grants would be continued.
Julie Johnson Thompson, a spokesman for the Education Department, said notice of grants totaling about $4 million is forthcoming. That's down from $6 million this school year, Thompson said, but still more than the $3 million in the previous school year.
Thompson said it will be up to the different sites to determine how to adjust for the cut. The centers have the option of charging fees to the schools that use the distance learning services or reducing the number of courses they offer.