Grants given for distance learning and telehealth projects in three Mississippi school districts

Today, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith announced the award of grants worth more than $1.87 million for distance learning and telehealth networks in three rural Mississippi school districts.

The USDA Rural Development approved Distance Learning and Telemedicine (DLT) program grants to West Point Consolidated School District, Lawrence County School District, and Scott County School District for telecommunications networks that support distance learning and telehealth services.

Since 1994, the DLT Grant Program has helped to establish hundreds of distance learning and telemedicine systems for thousands of residents in rural communities across the country.

Through the DLT program, a total of $49,676,058 was rewarded to various states for distance learning and telemedicine networks in rural areas.

“The lack of upgraded broadband and telecommunications services in rural Mississippi hinders educational achievement and limits the benefits of telemedicine,” Hyde-Smith said. “There is a stepped-up effort to increase appropriations to help rural communities upgrade these needed technologies, and I’m very pleased these three Mississippi school districts submitted successful applications for resources that will benefit their entire communities.”

The USDA Rural Development grants in Mississippi include:

  • West Point Consolidated School District – $804,379 for equipment to improve access to telemedicine and classroom instruction, including state-of-the-art video conferencing equipment, interactive boards, teacher technology lecterns that support online learning.

  • Lawrence County School District – $600,742 for equipment to provide a telemedicine and distance learning network, which would also support access to college courses, dual credit classes, teacher sharing, professional development, adult education classes, and workforce training.

  • Scott County School District – $466,043 for equipment for a telemedicine and distance learning network that supports basic learning and educational services, language services, access to math, science and advanced classes (dual enrollment).

USDA Rural Development operates over fifty financial assistance programs for a variety of rural applications such as Business Programs, Community Facilities Programs, Water & Environmental Programs, Single Family Housing Programs, Telecommunications Programs, and more.

DLT funds may be used for eligible capital assets, such as: broadband facilities; audio, video and interactive video equipment; terminal and data terminal equipment; computer hardware, network components and software; and inside wiring and similar infrastructure that further DLT services. Instructional programming that is a capital asset and technical assistance and instruction for using eligible equipment can also be attained through the grant.