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   DataBus - Vol 40 No. 6: October-November, 2000
  
California Takes the E-rate

A Summary of E-rate news and events


Good news

(1) As of October, California has received $458 million in funding commitment letters (all schools and libraries). That is 1 in every 4 dollars allocated nationally.
 
(2) The VET (Volunteer E-rate Trainer) outreach trainings are over (8 sites, approximately 24 sessions). Over 320 attended statewide. Evaluations on a 1-5 scale, 5 being highest, averaged over 4.75. The VET group (comprised of major service providers, other public non-education agencies, and COE/district experts) is now deciding what its next steps will be in support of ed tech federal and state discounts in California.
 
(3) Websites Download the whole VET training series with updates from the SLD (http://www.cde.ca.gov/vet/9-5-00.htm)
Check to see that your COE or district has an E-rate approved tech plan
  • COEs use http://www.cde.ca.gov/erate/certifiedcounties.htm
  • Districts use http://www.cde.ca.gov/erate/certifieddistricts.htm
Just news

(1) File your Form 470 any time after July 1, 2000 to start the E-rate bidding process.
(2) File Form 471 for Year 4 during the "window" (est. mid-November through mid-January--See Application Alert).
(3) November 30, 2000 will probably be the last date to file Form 486 for Year 2 (1999-2000).
 
Ed tech leadership caution item consortium/consortia

Ask yourself, "Am I part of a consortium, or am I a consortium lead?" Recent SLD decisions have re-focused attention on consortia. The SLD recently denied the Oregon Public Education Network (OPEN) its E-rate funding because, while it acted as a statewide consortium lead for its school LEAs, OPEN "did not have permission to act of all the entities that you listed on your consortium application. This determination was made because at least one member of your consortium was unaware of the application that you submitted, and you were unable to provide us with a Letter of Agency from that entity" (from USAC denial letter to OPEN on March 5, 2000).
 
The general situation is:
 
CASE A:
If an entity merely files a Form 470 on behalf of others then backs out of the process, it is clearly not a "consortium lead" as referred to in the FAQ (http://www.sl.universalservice.org/reference/faq.asp#9). Those listed on the 470 as Billed Entities will negotiate and select services providers (sign contracts) and file their own 471s.
 
CASE B:
If an entity files a Form 470 on behalf of others AND is also the negotiator and contract-signer for services AND pays the bills, then it will be filing the 471s on behalf of the consortium. It clearly IS a "consortium lead" as referred to in the FAQ.
 
CASE C:
A problem is raised when an entity performs all or many of "CASE B" functions (negotiates, selects) but does not actually pay the bills, hoping perhaps to remain a "CASE A" entity. Upon audit, the SLD will ask to see the records of who did the negotiating and selecting.
 
! Application Alert

On Monday, November 6, noon Eastern Time, the Form 471 filing window for Funding Year 4 (July 1, 2001- June 30, 2002) is scheduled to open.
 
The window will remain open for seventy-four (74) calendar days and will close on Thursday, January 18, 2001 at 11:59 P.M. EST.
 
Year 4 features NEW and FIRM filing requirements:
  1. The January 18 deadline is a POSTMARKING deadline. In order to make sure your application is in the window, all manually submitted materials must be postmarked no later than January 18.
     
  2. Unlike Year 3, all materials associated with the Form 471 have a January 18 deadline:
    • the 471 Form itself ( whether electronic or paper)
    • the Block 6 certification for the Form 471 with an original signature by the authorized person
    • all attachments for Item 21
    • the Block 6 certification of Form 470 filed for Year 4 ( and which is cited in a Year 4 Form 471) with an original signature by the authorized person

  3. The Year 4 Form 471 is dated October 2000, and this version must be used for Year 4 requests. Old Forms 471 will be returned to the applicant putting at risk the ability to file on time.
Failure to make the January 18 deadline will place your entire funding request outside the application window, and your funding will be jeopardized. Applicants who file manually should also make sure they conform with 471 Minimum Processing Standards as featured in the Reference area of this web site.
 
The Year 4 FCC Forms 470 and 471 may be filed on-line or downloaded for manual filing. Click here for access to the forms. The forms are also available via mail by calling our Client Service Bureau at 888-203-8100.
 
Applicants who have completed the FCC Form 470 28-day posting period, and have selected their vendors for tariff or month-to-month services and/or have executed contracts for contractual services, may submit the FCC Form 471, Services Ordered and Certification Form to the SLD as early as November 6.
Van Wilkinson is with the California Department of Education Educational Technology Office. He may be reached at (916) 323-4709 or by e-mail at