Arkansas distance-learning centers face uncertainty over budget cuts

Many of Arkansas’ distance-learning teachers have been advised their contracts were not automatically renewed for the coming school year because of uncertainty about budget cuts, reports the Arkansas News Bureau. Administrators of the centers say they believe the cuts won’t prevent them from rehiring the teachers in the near future, though they worry that in the meantime some might look for work elsewhere. The centers, whose teachers use communications technology to instruct students without being physically present in the classroom, are funded through grants from the state Education Department. The department expects its budget for distance-learning grants to be cut from $6 million to $4 million for the 2010-11 school year. Close to 15,000 Arkansas public school students took distance-learning classes last year. Some of the classes were ones that school districts were required to offer but could not have done so without distance learning, usually because of a lack of certified, highly qualified teachers…

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