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Regional Hearings To Consider Education Satellite

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Washington--State and local officials hoping to advance a proposal to dedicate a satellite to educational uses will hold a series of regional meetings on the idea beginning later this month.

The seven meetings have been scheduled to decide what next steps should be taken to further the proposal, Shelley Weinstein, executive director of the nonprofit edsat Institute, said last week.

"We decided that we should go to the grassroots and discuss what is the best way to go," she said. The meetings are not designed to address the issue of funding, she added.

The two-day sessions will be open to Congressional leaders, state precollegiate- and higher-education officials, educational broadcasters, satellite vendors, and other interested parties.

The decision to hold the meetings was prompted, Ms. Weinstein said, by an outpouring of interest in the findings of a feasibility study on the concept that the edsat Institute, based here, issued earlier this year. (See Education Week, March 13, 1991.)

Since the report was published, she said, officials from 33 states have asked for more information.

"The single factor that was identified as most important to them was the rising and unpredictable costs of their [current] satellite time," Ms. Weinstein said.

Gov. Wallace G. Wilkinson of Kentucky broached the concept of dedicating a satellite to educational use with President Bush during the 1989 education summit in Charlottesville, Va. Mr. Wilkinson has won support for the concept from the National Governors' Association.

Jack Foster, Kentucky's secretary of education and the humanities, said the regional meetings may eventually help create a multi-state governing board to guide the project.

"We think now, based on what we've heard, that the country is ready for some sort of a national organization to do this," he said.

The first meeting is scheduled for June 27 and 28 in St. Louis. Others are planned for Dallas, July 25 and 26; San Francisco, July 29 and 30; Salt Lake City, Aug. 1 and 2; Boston, Aug. 8 and 9; Atlanta, Aug. 14 and 15; and Baltimore, Aug. 26 and 27.

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