Summary: S.1019 — 101st Congress (1989-1990)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for S.1019. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Introduced in Senate (05/17/1989)

Rural Star Schools Act of 1989 - Amends the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 (the Act) to establish a Rural Star Schools educational opportunities program to provide electronic or telecommunications access by students and faculty at educational facilities in rural areas to improve instruction in mathematics, science, computer technology, foreign languages, health sciences, English, and other areas of study.

Authorizes the Administrator of the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) to make grants to telecommunications partnerships to develop and acquire instructional programming, computer hardware and software, telecommunications facilities, terminal equipment, audio and visual equipment monitors and related devices, and interactive video equipment, among other items.

Authorizes appropriations for FY 1990 through 1994 for such grants program.

Requires that at least 25 percent of such funds be used for instructional programming, including programming to assist elementary and secondary schools and adult and vocational education and training centers.

Requires partnerships to try to limit the Federal share to 75 percent or less and to work with REA borrowers and the local community in seeking donations of equipment and other in-kind assistance. Permits waivers of the Federal share limitation.

Prohibits the use of program funds for telecommunication facilities to receive or transmit into or out of a building, school, or other facility if, within specified deadlines, a local telephone service exchange carrier agrees to and does provide the partnership with access to telecommunications facilities or services for the distance learning program, at a cost, if any, that does not place an undue burden on the partnership or interfere with program purposes. Exempts certain equipment and partnerships subject to special circumstances from such prohibition.

Requires that rural educational opportunities telecommunications partnerships consist of: (1) REA borrowers, telecommunications, corporations, or other entities participating on a multicounty, regional, Statewide, or multistate basis; (2) a national organization (such as the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative) selected by the Rural Educational Opportunities Board, organized by consumer-owned electric and telephone systems, and capable of serving as a central catalyst and organizer; and (3) one or more educational institutions, agencies, or organizations with substantial academic and teaching capabilities. Allows other appropriate organizations to be included.

Sets forth requirements for grant applications and for program informational efforts.

Establishes the Rural Educational Opportunities Board to advise and guide grant recipients and to review and make recommendations on grant applications.

Directs the Administrator to: (1) review and approve grant applications within a specified period; and (2) report annually, with a program evaluation, to specified congressional committees.

Directs the Administrator to implement procedures to assure expedited consideration to requests for loans and advances to local exchange carriers in order to provide rural area telephone services associated with the rural educational opportunities telecommunications grants program.