CoSN 2019: Complexity and Logistics Remain E-Rate Challenges
The E-rate program can be a challenge for K–12 districts to navigate, even as it allows many schools to achieve technology initiatives that otherwise might not be possible. As the Federal Communications Commission considers recommended changes to the E-rate program, Eric Chambers of the Northwest Council for Computer Education says that one potential change may be increased funding for small districts. He advises that districts, regardless of size, create five-year E-rate plans to facilitate both project management and funding.
Eric Chambers, Director of E-Rate, Northwest Council for Computer Education
- The FCC is expected to publish a draft order of recommendations in the next couple of months, with the final order coming in mid to late summer after a public comment period.
- The five-year E-rate spending cycle may not align with districts on a longer replacement cycle or those that don't replace hardware until it fails, factors that may discourage districts from participating in E-rate.
- Five-year planning initiatives help districts prioritize IT upgrades, obtain the necessary vendor support, improve project management and prepare for the undiscounted portion of funding.
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