Distance Learning in South Georgia

Budget cuts and a shortage of teachers have Georgia school districts looking for help. Now, thanks to a special grant and new technology, five south Georgia cities will receive a bit of relief.

The Southwest Georgia Regional Education Services Agency provides thousands of students in five cities the opportunity to connect through the Miles by Distance Learning. Now, thanks to the Rural Utilities Service, the program will expand.

Friday, in recognition of the great steps, Southwest Georgia RESA, CNS Cable, and area school districts have taken to educate Peach State students.

RUS officials granted nearly half a million dollars to help out with Distance Learning.

Larry Green, Superintendent of Thomasville City Schools, says, "One problem we're experiencing in our schools is a budget crunch. This will provide us with the opportunity of training without travel."

Tom Berry, Thomasville City Manager, says, "We need support for the schools on the technology side to give more than the state may be willing in their plan to allow to happen."

Students in Thomasville, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie and Sylvester have been linked by Distance Learning since the beginning of this school year. Now, providers hope the service will reach even more people.

Stone Workman, RUS State Director, says, "It really just brings the whole area up. Nobody goes down, everybody goes up and it's such a good thing. We're just proud to be a part of it."

About 30,500 students and 2,000 staff members will be affected by the grant. Project participants say this is only the latest triumph in giving rural Georgia students a chance to get the best education they can.

The Rural Utilities Service is a subsidiary of the United States Department of Agriculture. Friday's grant in Thomasville was only a small portion of the money being handed out for Distance Learning programs across the country.