KET eliminating distance learning program as one way of addressing budget cuts

Faced with the need to cut nearly $1 million from its budget, Kentucky Educational Television is eliminating its online campus offerings, long known as “distance learning.”

The online campus program has given middle and high school students around the state the ability to take courses not offered in their home schools. In order to give students now enrolled the ability to finish their courses, the program will end June 30, said KET spokesman Todd Piccirilli.

Courses offered included hard-to-get offerings such as German, Latin and physics.

Enrollment in the program this academic year is 648 students. Eliminating the program saves KET $500,000 of the nearly $1 million it has to cut as the state budget is pared.

Online campus currently serves schools in Kentucky and 12 other states, Piccirilli said. The majority (73 percent) are in Kentucky and range across the state from McLean and Logan counties in the west to Pikeville in the east.

The “distance learning”/online campus program has been in operation for 30 years, Piccirilli said. The program has four permanent full-time employees who will lose their jobs, including two teachers, a classroom manager and a service director. Also losing jobs will be 14 part-time employees, mostly tutors, and five contractors.

Other cuts will be made in the budgets of individual KET departments totaling up to $300,000, Piccirilli said, and up to $200,000 will be saved by not filling the jobs of employees who leave or retire.

Overall, over the last 10 years, KET’s state budget has been cut $7.8 million. The organization has 27 percent less staff than 10 years ago.


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