(a) The Legislature hereby finds and declares that:
(1) It is the duty of this state to provide the best educational training possible for all its citizens;
(2) The encouragement and use of noncommercial educational radio, television and related media operating and originating from educational broadcasting, closed circuit or related facilities located at a site or sites within this state serving all the citizens of this state on a regional basis or as part of a coordinated statewide plan is a proper, necessary and beneficial means of providing and extending enriched educational instruction to all the citizens of this state at the preschool, elementary, secondary and higher education and adult levels;
(3) Private nonprofit corporations have been established in this state for the sole purpose of raising funds for the financial support of the state's Public Broadcasting Network, which funds have been a vital source of private funding for the authority and enure to the benefit of all the citizens of the state; and
(4) Because of the unique educational benefit conferred upon and available to all the citizens of the state by the efforts of the authority and the private nonprofit corporations established for the sole purpose of providing support for public broadcasting in this state, authorizing the authority to allow its employees to work with, and its property and facilities to be used by, the private nonprofit corporations is a proper, necessary and beneficial means of providing financial support for the state's Public Broadcasting Network.
(b) The following terms have the following meanings:
(1) "Authority" means the Educational Broadcasting Authority established by the provisions of this article.
(2) "Distance learning" means educational courses, seminars, programs and teleconferences transmitted electronically and designed to instruct students who are remote from the instructor or other participants; such courses, seminars, programs and teleconferences may constitute all or a significant portion of a class offered for college or public school credit, or they may be provided for faculty development, continuing professional education, for training employees of governmental agencies, nonprofit organizations, business or industry;
(3) "EdNet" means those individuals identified as an enterprise of the university of West Virginia college of graduate studies and West Virginia state college on behalf of the state college and university systems who are delegated the responsibility for developing, operating and maintaining facilities for the production and transmission of distance learning; and
(4) "SatNet" means those individuals identified as an enterprise of the state college and university systems who are delegated the responsibility for developing and providing distance learning.
(a) The West Virginia Educational Broadcasting Authority is continued as a public benefit corporation. The Authority shall consist of eleven voting members, who shall be residents of the state, including:
(1) The Governor or designee;
(2) The State Superintendent of Schools;
(3) One member of the West Virginia Board of Education to be selected by it annually;
(4) One member of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission to be selected by it annually; and
(5) Seven members appointed by the Governor by and with the advice and consent of the Senate for overlapping terms of seven years, one term expiring each year.
(b) Not less than one appointive member shall come from each congressional district. Any vacancy among the appointed members shall be filled by the Governor by appointment for the unexpired term.
(c) Employees of noncommercial broadcasting stations in West Virginia are not eligible for appointment to the Authority.
(d) The authority shall annually select a member to serve as the chair. The authority shall annually select one of its public members as vice chair and shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the Authority and who shall keep records of its proceedings.
(e) The authority shall appoint the executive director and fix his or her salary. The executive director is responsible for managing and administering the daily functions of the authority and for performing all other functions necessary to the effective operation of the authority. The authority is authorized to establish offices for the proper performance of its duties.
(f) The authority shall hold at least one annual meeting. The time and place of the meetings shall be established upon its own resolution or at the call of the chairperson of the authority. The members shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred in the performance of their duties in a manner consistent with the guidelines of the Travel Management Office of the Department of Administration.
(a) The Legislature finds that the educational benefits of making a broader range of courses available to West Virginia students, and the economic benefits from continuing education and staff development for businesses, industry and the professions, are immeasurable and that distance learning technology offers an efficient means of delivering such education and personnel development courses. The Legislature further finds that distance learning technology requires a substantial financial investment and the acquisition and utilization of such technology should, therefore, be coordinated among the various affected agencies.
(b) To facilitate such coordination, there is hereby created a West Virginia distance learning coordinating council which shall be composed of one representative of each of the following: SatNet, EdNet, the educational broadcasting authority, the West Virginia Library Commission, the state Department of Education, the higher education central office, the Department of Administration's division of information systems and communications and the office of the secretary of education and the arts. The chair elected by the council shall serve a term of one year, at which time the council shall elect a new chair. A member of the council may not serve for more than two consecutive terms as chair, except by unanimous vote of the council.
The council shall meet at least quarterly and shall develop long-range plans to integrate the instructional telecommunications system, to coordinate distance learning in West Virginia and to clarify the roles of the agencies involved in the state's distance learning enterprise. The council shall submit an annual report to the Governor and the Legislature, which includes its recommendations for achieving the best use of limited resources in the development and operation of a distance learning technology system.
(c) A goal of the council is the creation of a statewide technology system linking universities and colleges, schools, libraries and, eventually, homes with software, databases and video learning capabilities. In pursuit of this goal, the council shall determine the most effective and efficient ways to integrate the capabilities of the state for producing, delivering and receiving electronic instruction and establish a comprehensive long-range plan to further the cooperation and coordination of the various educational and other agencies of the state, and the county boards of education, in establishing distance learning technology.
(d) There is hereby created in the state Treasury a special fund designated the "Distance Learning Fund" which shall be under the jurisdiction of the secretary of education and the arts for use solely for the purposes of the distance learning grant program as provided in this section.
Appropriate guidelines for participation by school districts, state institutions of higher education, public libraries and public broadcasting stations, in the grant program, shall be established by the distance learning coordinating council subject to approval by the Legislative Oversight commission on education accountability. Such guidelines shall include application procedures and shall establish policies for awarding grants in the event that more grant applications are received than there are funds available to honor the applications in any fiscal year. In allocating funds to applicants, the council may give due consideration to revenues available from all other sources. The state Board of Education shall approve courses offered through this program at the elementary and secondary education level. The higher education governing boards shall approve courses taught at the post-secondary level.
(e) In any fiscal year moneys in the fund shall be used first to ensure that any and all school districts, state institutions of higher education, public libraries and public television stations seeking aid under this program shall receive telecommunications equipment necessary to participate in the satellite learning process; second, to provide the school districts and state institutions of higher education with access to subjects at the advanced level or the remedial level or which are not taught in the schools of the district or the service area or campus; and third, to provide enrichment classes, continuing education and professional development. However, the council may set aside a portion of the funds to be used to contract with state institutions of higher education, state institutions of public education and public broadcasting stations to develop instructional programs for grades kindergarten through twelve. Funds may also be used for undergraduate and graduate course work suitable for broadcast to the school districts, state institutions of higher education, as appropriate, for continuing education and professional development for business and industry seminars and to develop the capability to transmit programs cited in this section.
(f) Participation by a local school district, a state institution of higher education, a public library or a public broadcasting station in the program established by this section shall be voluntary. No school district, state institution of higher education, public library or public broadcasting station receiving funds under this program shall use those funds for any purpose other than that for which they were intended. Any school district, state institution of higher education, public library or public broadcasting station shall be eligible to receive funds under this program regardless of its curriculum, local wealth or previous contractual arrangements to receive satellite broadcast instruction.
(g) The secretary of education and the arts on behalf of the State of West Virginia may contract with institutions of higher education and the state Board of Education for the development or operation, or both, of state employee training programs transmitted by telecommunications technology.
Instructional programs developed under this section which are transmitted one-way through the airwaves or by cable shall be available to all residents of this state without charge or fee to the extent permitted by the West Virginia Constitution. "Without charge or fee" shall not require the providing of equipment to transmit or receive telecommunications instruction or the providing of commercial cable service. If the instructional program involves two-way, interactive communication between the instructor and the participant, the district or institution operating the program may prescribe academic prerequisites and limit the number of persons who may enroll in the specific program and give preference to residents of the district or institutional attendance area who are age twenty-one or younger but shall not discriminate against any resident on any other basis. A fee may be charged which will be paid directly by the individual participant for the specific program, but the fee shall be equal for all such participants. If a subscription fee is charged by the originator of the program, the district or institution may pay the subscription fee for all participants from a grant under this section or from any other public or private fund legally authorized to be used for this purpose. Printed materials designed to facilitate or complement telecommunications programs or electronic reproduction thereof may be made available for loan by the school district, institution of higher education through the public library system or the curriculum technology resource center, subject to the normal rules and regulations of the lending system and in such quantities as may be approved by the governing body of the district or institution.
(1) To act as advisor and consultant to television and radio stations concerning noncommercial educational programs supported by federal, state, county, city or private funds;
(2) To cooperate with and assist all local and state educational institutions in planning and development of the use of educational radio, television and related media;
(3) To promote and coordinate the use of these media for noncommercial educational purposes;
(4) To construct, maintain and operate educational broadcasting, closed circuit or related facilities located at a suitable site or sites within this state including, without limitation thereby, production centers, broadcasting stations and an audio-video microwave system for a statewide broadcasting network connecting such communities or stations as may be designated by the authority;
(5) To acquire in the name of the state for the use and benefit of the authority by purchase, lease or agreement, any property, both real and personal, and any interest in such property necessary to carry out the provisions of this article;
(6) To apply for and receive any license from the appropriate federal agency necessary to operate any educational broadcasting, closed circuit or related facility;
(7) To supervise and approve the origination and transmission of all noncommercial educational radio, television and related media programs in this state which would be carried through the facilities of a state network;
(8) To employ such personnel as may be necessary to operate and maintain any facility created under the provisions of this article, and to work with private nonprofit corporations to raise funds for the financial support of the state's public broadcasting network;
(9) To lease from communications common carriers and use such transmission channels as may be necessary or, if it determines it could more economically construct and maintain such transmission channels, it may design, construct, maintain and operate the same, including an audio-video microwave network;
(10) To sue and be sued, plead and be impleaded;
(11) To contract and be contracted with, including the power to enter into contracts with any person, firm or corporation, including any like authority of neighboring states; and shall have the authority, within state regulations, to enter into program royalty and distribution contracts and receive moneys for these purposes: Provided, That any proceeds from such contracts shall be used by the authority for noncommercial purposes only;
(12) To have and use a corporate seal;
(13) To promulgate reasonable rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this article in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of the code; and
(14) To perform such other services in behalf of noncommercial educational radio, television and related media as it may consider to be in the best interest of the state, including the use of the authority's employees, property and facilities for the purpose of raising funds for the support of public broadcasting.
(a) The authority may solicit, apply for and receive appropriations, gifts, bequests or grants from any agency of the United States government, any agency of the State of West Virginia, any municipality or county within this state, any school board or college or university supported in whole or in part by this state or any other person, firm, partnership, association or corporation, within or without this state, and any agency of the State of West Virginia, any municipality or county within this state, or any school board or college or university supported in whole or in part by this state is hereby authorized and empowered to make appropriations or grants to the authority, to assist in achieving the public purpose of the authority.
(b) All such funds shall be deposited with the State Treasurer of West Virginia or with a private nonprofit corporation established for the sole purpose of providing support for public broadcasting in this state which has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the authority pursuant to the provisions of section six of this article, and used exclusively for carrying out the provisions of this article: Provided, That any appropriations, gifts, bequests or grants received by the authority with any restriction or restrictions on the use thereof shall be expended by the authority in accordance with such restriction or restrictions.
The authority may also create one or more advisory councils. Each council so created shall consist of not more than nine members to be appointed by and serve at the will and pleasure of the authority. Each council shall annually elect a chairperson, vice chairperson and secretary. Members so appointed shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for actual expenses incident to the performance of their duties as provided in this article for members of the authority.
Any such council shall serve in an advisory manner to one or more facilities established under the provisions of this article as directed by the authority and shall meet at least twice a year.
(a) The Authority shall appoint an Advisory Committee on Journalistic and Editorial Integrity, which shall consist of five qualified members to serve staggered terms of three years. The Advisory Committee shall annually elect a chair, vice chair and secretary.
(b) The Advisory Committee shall advise the Authority on issues related to the journalistic independence and editorial integrity of public education and public broadcasting stations, which have the same Constitutional protections as other journalistic enterprises in West Virginia.
(a) In furtherance of its mission and fulfillment of its duties, the authority is expressly authorized to allow its employees to work with, and its property and facilities to be used by, private nonprofit corporations established for the sole purpose of providing support for public broadcasting in this state.
(b) To document the implementation of subsection (a) of this section, the authority shall enter into memoranda of understanding with private nonprofit corporations established for the sole purpose of providing support for public broadcasting in this state, to delineate the rights and responsibilities of the parties.
(c) Notwithstanding any provision in this code to the contrary, the names of individual donors to the authority or to a private nonprofit corporation established for the sole purpose of providing support for public broadcasting in this state are not subject to the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-b of this code.
Acts, 1967 Reg. Sess., Ch. 54.