BELFAST, Maine — Communities around Maine are getting more than $1 million in distance learning grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand opportunities for learning in rural areas.

Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree says the grants will help rural parts of Maine access new technology. A $440,000 portion of the grant will be used to help set up a distance learning network with two hubs in Belfast. Pingree says it will connect to 30 other sites in counties around the state and on tribal lands.

A nearly $500,000 piece of the grant will help schools in Sanford purchase video conferencing equipment that will make interactive distance learning possible. Another $132,000 will fund a distance learning project of the New England Music Camp Association that focuses on performing arts education.

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