Public School Districts Praise FCC Report

April 2, 2001

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The following was released today by the American Association of School Administrators:

The American Association of School Administrators (AASA) commends the Federal Communications Commission for their work on the Final Spectrum Report on Instructional Television Fixed Services (ITFS) systems released today. Since the 1960s, ITFS has been the preferred method of delivery for educational services by school districts and educational service agencies. AASA is the professional association for school system leaders with over 14,000 members.

This federal report reviews the feasibility of repurposing the 2.5 GHz spectrum for Third Generation or 3G services, which is currently being used by schools for a broad range of distance learning applications. As the education community has long known and the FCC confirmed the burden of shifting to alternative spectrum would be significant to incumbent educational users and would carry a huge cost, both educationally and financially. As the Report points out the potential cost of repurposing this spectrum could equate to $19 billion over a ten-year period.

With over 750 local K-12 license holders, and thousands of other districts receiving services, the number of districts reached and students served far exceeds the actual number of license holders and their immediate student population. Long used by public school districts, ITFS systems provide greater access to professional development, more efficient delivery of curriculum and a variety of other distance learning opportunities to hundreds of thousands of students in the U.S.

Paul Houston, executive director for AASA said, “It’s not just technology companies and dot.coms that are leading edge. Our schools, when given the tools, provide educational services in ways never thought of before. Our members are using the ITFS system for some of the most innovative education I’ve seen in my 30 years as an educator.”

Again, the Final Report states that both urban and rural communities and school districts and educational service agencies of all sizes use the ITFS system. Thus any educational entity participating in this system would be adversely affected by any changes made in the spectrum allocation.

In urban Miami-Dade (Florida), the district uses the spectrum to broadcast two cable channels serving 204 elementary schools, 12 primary learning centers, 14 charter schools, 53 middle schools, 33 senior highs, 15 alternative schools, 5 specialized education centers and 26 adult education schools. The services reach more than 360,000 K-12 students and over 140,000 adult learners daily with 10,000 hours of programming a year. “Furthermore,” says John Johnson II, deputy superintendent, “we use these two channels to provide in-service training to approximately 18,700 teachers thought the district.” They also reach 450,000 households with such live call-in shows as Dial-A-Teacher.

By contrast, rural areas are just as successful in using the spectrum. The Greenbush (Kansas) Interactive Distance Learning Network provides 61 different high school and college classes to 1305 students in 49 sites in the eastern part of the state. Carol Woolbright, the network director said, “We use a variety of technologies to deliver essential curriculum classes in order to provide students with quality educational choices. The ITFS spectrum is vital to our mission.” The district also serves more than 3000 elementary and middle school students in special projects programming.

More information on this issue may be found at The Final Report is located at

Contact Information

Kari Arfstrom


American Association of School Administrators

Mary Conk


American Association of School Administrators