Seven rural South Dakota school districts have announced they'll use nearly $1 million in grant money to become the latest consortium to establish two-way audiovisual communication among their schools. Known as the East Central Interconnect (ECI), the distance-learning network will allow participating schools to offset the challenges of geographic isolation and sparse student populations.

Previously, other districts in South Dakota and elsewhere have banded together in similar networks. Scheduled for a test run this spring, ECI will connect the Brookings, Deubrook, Deuel, Elkton, Estelline, Rutland, and Willow Lake school districts.

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