Effective for FY 2011, beginning July 1, 2011, approved E-rate technology plans no longer are required to provide budgetary information. In our view, however, budgets are a critical aspect of the planning process and should be included. We recommend that projected expenditures for each year of the technology plan be shown, broken down by major expense categories. Projected funding for the plan should also be shown, indicating what portions are to be funded out of the annual operating budget, from a bond issue, or from other sources. Portions of the funding plan dependent on the approval of E-rate discounts should be clearly identified.
E-rate applicants should note that an adequate budget, while no longer a requirement of the technology plan, is central to separate certifications in the Form 470 (Item 23) and Form 471 (Item 25) that each applicant must submit. The SLD frequently performs “Item 25 Reviews” on Form 471 applications requiring the submission of detailed budgetary information to assure that the applicant has indeed:
secured access to all of the resources, including computers, training, software, maintenance, and electrical connections necessary to make effective use of the services purchased as well as to pay the discounted charges for eligible services.