"'Televote' May Be Expanded"
A proposal to enlarge San Jose Unified School District's "Televote" system, the first computer- telephone communication program in the nation, has been announced.
Dr. Vincent N. Campbell of American Institutes for Research (AIR) of Palo Alto said discussions are under way to include several county and city governmental agencies in the system to broaden its scope to govern- mental as well as school issues.
AIR will seek an additional grant from the National Science Foundation for two more years of operation and improvement of the system, Campbell said in a progress report to board of education.
He said a partial or total funding by local agencies would be proposed if outside funds are reduced or become unavailable.
Campbell said, "It is clear that we still have a great deal to learn about effective participation of citizens through telecommunications. A workable system has been demonstrated, nevertheless, and has been evaluated favorably by most people at all levels of involvement in school decisions,"
More than 5,000 citizens voluntarily registered to become televoters during the first half of the demonstration, Campbell said.
According to preliminary estimates, one- half of those who registered actually participated in one or more televotes. An average of 700 people participated in the experiment.
In a recent televote, Campbell said, 41 per cent of the voters indicated they would pay $1 a year to support a public televote system in San Jose. About 16 per cent said they would pay 25 cents annually- - the amount necessary to maintain a minimum program.
It would take about 50,000 a year to support a minimal televote system and about $100,000 for a more comprehensive program that could include educational, municipal and national issues.
Televote utilizes a computer and telephone to compile results, Campbell said. A voter picks up his phone and dials a Televote number, then a code number that is assigned to him, then a series of numbers corresponding to the answers he wishes to record. The responses are recorded on magnetic tape and a centralized computer compiles the results.
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