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E-Rate

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  1. E-Rate Status, Steps, and Strategies Michigan Training Meeting October 12, 2000

  2. Workshop Agenda • Overview of E-Rate Program • Remaining issues from last year (PY2) • Current issues this year (PY3) • Application for next year (PY4) • Q & A Major Focus E = Expert topic

  3. General Concepts • Funded by carriers under Telecommunications Act of 1996 • Not a typical government grant program. • Funding not based on competitive applications • Funds are provided indirectly as discounts on • eligible services from the vendors. • Four program years so far: • PY1: 1/1/1998 - 6/30/1999 • PY2: 7/1/1999 - 6/30/2000 • PY3: 7/1/2000 - 6/30/2001 • PY4: 7/1/2001 - 6/30/2002 -- Upcoming

  4. General Framework • Discounts available on three types of services: • Telecom • Internet • Internal Connections (Networking) • Eligible schools & libraries apply for discounts through the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) • Service providers provide discounts to approved applicants

  5. General Framework • Annual applications for funding • Funding level set each year by the FCC (capped at $2.25B) • Rules of Priority (if necessary) • Priority 1: Telecom and Internet Access • Priority 2: Internal Connections

  6. School Eligibility • Public schools and school districts • Non-profit, private K-12 school with endowment of $50M or less • Must meet federal definition of elementary or secondary school • ESAs and other consortiums

  7. Library Eligibility • Non-Profit • Eligible for LSTA (Library Service & Technology Act) • Completely separate budget required • Public library • K-12 School library • Research library: Public docs & freestanding • State-designated private library • Library consortia

  8. Discount Percentages % of Students Eligible for School Lunch Program Discounts

  9. Establishing Discount • National School Lunch Program Eligibility • Information needed for each school • Libraries use data from local school district(s) • Officially sanctioned methods exist for alternative methods of determining eligible students • Urban/Rural defined by counties

  10. Eligible Services: General • Purpose of fund is affordable access to Information Superhighway by schools and libraries down to the “classroom” level • Focus is on infrastructureand transport, not content and end-user equipment

  11. Eligible Services: Telecom/Internet • Basic telephone (local & long distance) • Advanced telecom (T-1, ATM, Frame Relay, etc.) • Mobile services (limited) • PBXs eligible only as Internal Connections • No end user equipment (phones, faxes, etc.) • Internet access (not content)

  12. Eligible Services: Internal Connections • Eligible: • Wiring • Routers • Switches • Hubs • Network servers • System operating software • Wireless LANs • PBXs and key systems • Ineligible: • Personal computers • FAX machines • Modems & cable modems • Asbestos removal • Cameras • Electrical wiring • Teacher training • Curriculum software • WANs (non-carrier)

  13. Technology Plan • Five SLD technology plan criteria • Goals and Objectives • Needs Assessment • Professional Development • Budget • Evaluation • No Tech plan required for basic phone service • Tech plans approved for no more than 3 years

  14. File Form 470: Seeking Services 28 DAYSReceive bids for new services/hold pre-existing contracts Develop a Technology Plan Negotiate a Contract Problem Resolution/Program Integrity Review File Form 471: Services Ordered Discounted Bills or Discount Reimbursement Funding Commitment! File Form 486: Services Flowing(Tech Plan must be final) E-Rate Process at a Glance

  15. E-Rate Opportunities and Issues • Important source of technology funding • $5.6 billion nationwide (PY1 - PY3) • $190+ million for Michigan (PY1 - PY3) • Time-consuming, bureaucratic, and confusing program • Forms 470, 471, 472, 498, and 500 • Long lead time competitive bidding procedures • Strict application review process • Vendor coordination problems (contracts and payments)

  16. E-Rate: A Year Round Program Summer PY2: Bills and BEARs Grace period installations PY3: Remaining application reviews Form 486s and Form 500s SLD (and FCC) appeals Fall PY2: Out-of-window applications PY3: Vendor discount coordination PY4: Form 470s

  17. E-Rate: A Year Round Program, cont. Winter PY3: Initial bills and BEARs PY4: Vendor contract negotiation Discount rate optimization Form 471s Spring PY4: Application reviews Form 486s and Form 500s SLD (and FCC) appeals Renewal of tech plan approval

  18. PY2: Remaining Issues • BEAR deadline November 20, 2000 • Out-of-the window funding • Appeals and waivers

  19. PY3: Current Issues • Remaining funding “ripples” • Appeal processing • BEARs vs. discounted bills • Field audits(?)

  20. PY4: Workshop Focus • Flexible Form 470 preparation • Accurate Form 471 preparation • Contract issues • Tariff and MTM services • Contingent contracts • State master contracts • Technology plan renewal

  21. Application Schedule 2001-2002 Program Now 1999-2000 Program Oct. 23 1999 Mid-Jan 2001 Jan. 19 2000 Apr.-Oct. 2000 Spring/Summer 2001

  22. Funding Schedule 2001-2002 Program Sprint/Summer 2001 2000-2001 Program Apr.-Sept. 2000 Now July 2001

  23. New for PY4 • Minor revisions to Form 471 • Improved online Form 471 filing • Upgraded SLD correspondence • Pink stationary for PY4 • IVR on SLD help line • Unified SLD application database

  24. Form 470: Purpose • Identifies applicant • Generally describes services needed • Begins mandatory 28-day waiting period • Does not replace state and local competitive bidding rules

  25. Form 470: Block 1 • Form Identifier (e.g. 470-2000-01) • Application #: SLD assigns • PY4: July 1, 2001 — June 30, 2002 • Contact Person: For SLD and vendors • Can use Item (11) for alternative vendor contact • Do NOT let a vendor act as applicant contact

  26. Form 470: Block 2 • Be broad and inclusive • Item (7): Check ALL that could apply • Tariff has specific regulatory connotation • MTM is an allowable category for: • Internet, cellular, paging • Items (8) - (10): Check “YES” or “NO”

  27. Form 470: Block 2 Examples

  28. Form 470: Block 2 • Item (11): Optional/alternative vendor contact • Item (12): Sample language (public schools) Public work and purchase contracts for public schools in the State of ______are governed by the provisions of the State’s General Municipal Law. Public schools may also purchase equipment and services under publicly bid centralized procurement contracts administered by the State’s Office of _______ or under cooperative bidding contracts administered by a local educational service agency (”ESA"). • Item (13): Purely optional

  29. Form 470: Block 3 • Avoid checking Item (14) • Item (15a-e): OK to check both boxes • Item (15f): Purely optional

  30. Form 470: Block 4 • Item (16): Check (a) or (c), and add area codes and exchange codes • Item (17): One, for most applications • Item (18): Ties in with last line of Item (16c)

  31. Form 470: Block 5 • Certifications taken seriously • Item (20): Tech plan needed for Form 486 • Item (23): Subject to review • Item (25): Sign in BLUE ink

  32. Form 470: Automatic Rejection • Early version form (should be Sept. 1999) • Missing applicant and contact information • Other missing blocks/pages • Invalid certification: Not an original signature in ink • Wrong program year specified Not many Form 470s are rejected, but many are filed too late for Form 471 filings

  33. Form 470: Filing Online • Assures earliest “Allowable Contract Date” • Use Form 470 Application # to resume data entry at any point before submission • Important: Print signature page before submission, sign, and mail to SLD

  34. Form 470: Filing by Mail • 28 day waiting period starts after form is posted, NOT received. • Form 470 receipt acknowledgment letter will show “Allowable Contract Date” • Can check posting in Vendor Area of SLD web site

  35. Form 471: Purpose • Calculation of discount rate(s) • Requests specific discount on each tariffed, monthly, and contract service • Separates eligible from ineligible costs An important and complex form

  36. Form 471: Blocks 1-3 and 6 • Block 1: Similar to Form 470 • Plus holiday/vacation contact information • Block 2: Special case • “Minor” contract modifications • Filed by mail only • Block 3: Program impact data • Block 6: Similar to Form 470

  37. Form 471: Block 4 • Three types of worksheets • A: Schools and school districts • B: Library outlets and systems • C: Consortia • Worksheets link to Funding Requests (Block 5) • Key concept: Shared vs. site-specific services • Consortia (and groups) require multiple sheets

  38. Discount Rates • All flow from individual school data • Based on need • Poverty • Defined by National School Lunch Program www.fns.usda.gov/cnd/Lunch/Governance/Notices/00-01ieg.htm • Location • Rural vs. Urban

  39. Discount Percentages % of Students Eligible for School Lunch Program Discounts

  40. Discount Percentages • Discount Matrix applies ONLY to individual schools • All other applicants use weighted or simple average depending on type of applicant

  41. Discount Rate Calculations • Individual school rates based on number of students eligible for National School Lunch Program • School districts use weighted average discount based on individual schools. • Libraries use simple average discount based on school districts. • Consortia use a simple average of their members’ appropriately calculated discounts.

  42. Alternative Measures • Comparable measures (milk/breakfast programs, Medicaid/public housing data) • Survey (can extrapolate from 50% response rate) • Sibling searches • Feeder system not approved E

  43. Discount Rate Tips • Focus on schools close to next level • Question lower secondary school numbers • SLD reviews using state lunch program participation data, so document all higher eligibility data E

  44. Individual School Complete Worksheet A, Columns (1)-(7) Columns (3)-(7) step through discount calculation

  45. School District Complete Worksheet A, all columnsColumn (7) gives site-specific discountsItem (10c) gives the shared (weighted average) discount

  46. Library System Complete Worksheet B, all columns Column (5) provides site-specific discountsItem (10c) gives the shared discount

  47. Consortium Complete Worksheets A or B, as appropriate Complete Worksheet C to calculate consortium discount(s).

  48. Form 471: Block 5 • One page per funding request (“FRN”) • Single service may require multiple pages • Original Form 471 had one line per FRN • Each page links elsewhere • Associated Form 470 • Vendor identification and account information • Discount rate worksheets • Contract and service information

  49. Form 471: Form 470 Link • Item (12): Form 470 application number • Previously called “USCN” • Items (17) - (18): Allowable Vendor Selection/Contract Date must be earlier than Contract Award Date

  50. Form 471: Vendor Link • Item (13): SPIN • Source: SLD’s BEAR & SPIN Contact Search • Check: SLD’s Service Provider Information by SPIN • Items (14): Beware “d.b.a” names • Item (16): Billing Account Number