West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin believes distance-learning technology might be the answer to the dilemma of how to expand curricula throughout the state without sacrificing small schools to consolidation.

Manchin, a Democrat who took office in January, said West Virginia First Lady Gayle Manchin and Nancy Sturm, an education technology specialist in the governor's office, are working on a plan to promote distance-learning initiatives.

"I'm just committed to doing everything I can to preserve the community and rural schools that we have throughout West Virginia," he said. "That doesn't mean I'm against consolidation. It


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