DIXFIELD — RSU 10 in Dixfield and RSU 72 in Fryeburg learned Thursday that they are the recipient of a nearly half-million grant to provide more courses through videoconferencing.

The two districts received a total of $498,907 from the Distance Learning and Telemedicine Grant program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development.

RSU 61 in Bridgton also received a nearly half-million-dollar grant.

RSU 10 Superintendent Craig King said the grant is designed for rural areas so they can be more interconnected.

“This is pretty exciting,” he said.

Kevin Kaulback, technology director at RSU 10, and his team applied for the grant. Two other school districts, a community health organization and the Rockland-based Island Institute also received grants. A total of $2.5 million will be distributed.

Kaulback said he had applied for the grant in the past, but this is the first time the district received it.

Kaulback said the district’s technology and business departments will serve as fiscal agents for the grant, which is expected to begin at the start of the 2014-15 school year.

The technology department will soon begin installing the hardware and training those who work with it.

“This is an exciting opportunity for students,” he said.

RSU 10 offers videoconferencing classes. Videoconferencing allows teachers to offer a class in many schools at the same time.

He said the Region 9 School of Applied Technology in Mexico will also be a part of the new Tanberg videoconferencing equipment that provides courses.

Another part of the grant allows instruction of paramedic or first responder classes for high school students through partnerships with the River Valley Healthy Communities Coalition in Rumford and Med-Care Ambulance Service in Mexico, Kaulback said. It will also provide for creative methods to promote wellness for district employees of RSU 10 and RSU 72. Each district will receive some technological equipment for the program.

Kaulback will present the program at the RSU 10 board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 12, at Rumford Elementary School.

Other school districts that each received nearly a half-million dollars for similar purposes are RSU 54 in Skowhegan and RSU 37 in Harrington.

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