Educational TV in Spokane Depends on Voter Support
By Jim Smith
Spokane voters March 15 can provide financial power needed to put Educational Television Channel 7 on the air.
About one mill of the estimated 17.97-mill general operational levy has been allocated to the educational television program, Supt. Albert L. Ayars said Wednesday.
What would be the effect on educational television if the levy (Proposition 1) fails?
“We would be placed in the position of having a television station without funds for operation and for all of the equipment needed to go on the air,” Dr. Ayars said.
$402,000 Would Be Available
Actually voter support of Proposition 1 will mean $402,000 will become available for educational television. Only $250,000 of the $4,384,680 in the special levy proposition, however, is allocated to television.
The district needs to provide $50,000 in matching money to purchase $100,000 worth of television sets for classroom use. The federal government will contribute $50,000 if it is matched.
More for Equipment
Similarly, the district must raise another $101,000 to put with $100,000 already available in order to match $201,000 allocated by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare to the Spokane educational station. The $402,000 would be spent on equipment for the station.
The other $100,000 in the levy would be for actual operation of the station starting during the second semester of 1966-67, Dr. Ayars said.
Under favorable conditions, the superintendent predicted Channel 7, 55,000 watts strong, will be ready to go on the air one year from now.
Operation of the station is expected to cost $250,000 a year. The $100,000 represents the fraction of the year it will operate next year if voter action and other factors are favorable.
Actual operating plans for the station have yet to be worked out by the district.
Dr. Ayars said a two-month period of interviewing applicants for station director may end next Wednesday with a recommendation to the School Board.
He said applicants for the position have been received from many parts of the nation. They include a number of local persons.
An Educational Television Advisory Committee has formed. Included in the committee of more than 30 members are representatives of other school systems, departments of District 81, community groups and the county school superintendent.
Commercial Stations Aid
Dr. Ayars said “one of the challenges” he faced on arriving in Spokane last October was the activation of the station.
Since then, with the aid of the committee, a technical adviser has been employed, and specifications for equipment have been set.
Plans Before Board
Preliminary plans for the studio building are pending before the Washington State Board of Education. The School Board is expected to make a decision on the purchase of technical equipment next Wednesday.
After hiring the director, the planning of programs can begin, Dr. Ayars said.
He said the planning would be made with the cooperation not only of the staff of School District 81, but of representatives from school districts throughout the eastern part of the state.
$1 a Year Per Pupil
Dr. Ayars said contact has been made with 45 to 50 school districts that have indicated an interest in the station and a willingness to pay as much as $1 a year per pupil to the operation of the facility.
This should provide $45,000 to $50,000 annually, he estimated.
“It is anticipated that we will begin with part-time day programming,” Dr. Ayars said.
The initial programs will be specifically for classroom use in various curriculum areas, he added.
Friday, March 4, 1966