AASA Call to Action: Let the FCC Know Its Proposed Changes to E-Rate Don’t Add Up!

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The FCC is scheduled to vote on July 11 on a set of proposed changes to the E-Rate program that not only jeopardize the 18-year old program with a track record of success, but also include a shift to per-pupil funding that threatens internet connectivity to schools.

Now is the time to weigh in with the FCC, as they still have time to mpdify the proposed set of changes before the July 11 vote. Here’s where you can help. Please take a few moments to submit comments to the FCC. It is imperative they hear from the schools community, as school systems are a key beneficiary of the E-Rate program, the E-Rate is critical to ensuring schools can provide internet connectivity, and school system leaders are uniquely positioned to highlight the shortcomings of this proposal as it relates to program effectiveness, equity, and sustainability.

Background information: Here is everything you need to know about E-Rate, from basic information on the program’s history and how it works to a summary/analysis of the proposed changes and talking points you can use with your community and local media.

Suggested FCC Comments:

  • I write to express my deep concern with the FCC’s proposal to allocate portions of E-Rate funding on a per-pupil allocation. This change would shift dollars away from the neediest schools and libraries, the very entities the program was designed to support.
  • I am concerned that the FCC proposes a five-year timeline for these changes yet only provides funding for the first two years. As currently structured, this plan leaves the E-Rate program in the unsustainable and unacceptable position of siphoning critical funding away from Priority I (basic connectivity) to Priority II (internal connections) of the E-Rate program.
  • Any conversation truly focused on modernizing and sustaining E-Rate will be focused on programmatic changes to update and improve the program as well as funding to ensure the future availability and success of E-Rate.

AASA’s Positions

  • AASA has deep reservations about the FCC’s current proposal. We are opposed to per-pupil funding in the E-Rate program as it runs counter to the program’s cornerstone premise of allocating dollars to the neediest, on a basis of deepest concentration of poverty.
  • The proposed set of changes would exacerbate—not address—the gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. Per-pupil allocations, especially within E-Rate, are a one-size-fits-all approach and limit the ability of the program to equitably support those schools who are neediest and where internet connectivity and Wi-Fi costs are higher due to geographic location/isolation and/or higher concentrations of poverty. 
  • AASA supports a two-pronged approach to E-Rate modernization, one that includes both programmatic changes and a permanent infusion of new funding to the E-Rate program. 
  • The current FCC proposal outlines permanent structural changes and a five-year time line of action, while providing funding for the first two. We sincerely question the ability of the FCC to identify the additional $3 billion promised for the final three years, and are deeply concerned that this short-fall puts E-Rate on a path where funds for one part of the program are raided to provide for the other. More succinctly, we are concerned this set of changes focuses funding on internal connections (WI-Fi) in a way that threatens basic, monthly connectivity (phone line, internet connection, web hosting).

How to File Comments with the FCC

COMMENTS ARE DUE July 11

  • Draft your response comments. You can create your own comments or work from AASA’s provided talking points. Format your response as a Word/PDF document (include district letter head!).
  • Go to http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/display?z=s4tca
  • For the Proceeding Number, use all of the following proceeding numbers: 13-184
  • Complete the rest of the information on the form.
  • Upload your comments at the bottom of the form.
  • If you are pressed for time or need help submitting the comments, I can submit them on your behalf. Please email me your final comments no later than July 9, with the subject line Please file E-Rate comments.

 


I filed my comments this morning and will get the message out to CEO's right now.
Posted by: Lee Warne at 6/30/2014 8:59 AM


Please leave P1 funding as it is now and allow our schools to do internal connection. Basic maintenance is not as important. Our equipment are already over 8 years old and we need new backbone switches and wireless to support BYOD. We are 90% F&R and we got denied last year for P2. Please help, the state cut funding, we closed one of our schools in 2010 and FCC denied P2 and wants us to pay for Web hosting/cellular services. Thank you for any consideration. respectfully,
Posted by: Jamal Dana( Visit ) at 6/30/2014 12:35 PM


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