E-Rate Central News for the Week
June 18, 2012
The E-Rate Central News for the Week is prepared by E-Rate Central. E-Rate Central specializes in providing consulting, compliance, and forms processing services to E-rate applicants. To learn more about our services, please contact us by phone (516-801-7804), fax (516-801-7814), or through our Contact Us Web form. Additional E-rate information is located on the E-Rate Central Web site.
The SLD has announced that next week is the target to run the first wave for FY 2012, which will include Priority 1 services only. The Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) would be dated a week after the wave is actually run. Meanwhile, applications are being reviewed and there is a large volume of applications ready to go. Because of the expected volume of the wave, it may take longer than usual to stuff the envelopes, but funded applicants are expected to receive their FCDLs by the end of this month. The online Form 486 should be available when the wave is issued, which will be important for applicants who are eager to begin discounted billing at the beginning of the funding year. As discussed in our newsletter of April 30th, USAC's preliminary estimate of FY 2012 demand showed a total increase of 21.5% over the comparable figure for FY 2011. At this level, funding for Priority 2 may not be fully available even at 90%. SLD staff do not expect to know what will be done about P2 funding for FY 2012 for several months.
Wave 49 for FY 2011 will be released on Tuesday, June 19th, for $20 million. Cumulative funding for FY 2011 is $2.23 billion. This wave will include Priority 2 funding for FY 2011 at the 90% level. Priority 2 funding is being denied at 79% and below.
Wave 97 for FY 2010 is scheduled for release on Wednesday, June 20th. This will be a very small wave – a total of just over $600 thousand for just one applicant in each of two states. Cumulative funding for the year is over $3 billion. SLD staff have reported that FY 2010 is "just about wrapped up." As always, some applications linger because of various issues, for example, those that require action by the FCC.
E-Rate Updates and Reminders
FCC Appeal Decisions Watch:
The FCC issued four appeal decisions last week. All were applicant-specific.
DA 12-747 granted in part and denied in part an appeal from Birmingham (AL) City Schools. USAC had denied three FY 2002 funding requests based on a number of different issues: violation of the requirement that requests be for eligible services and the related 30-percent rule, the 28-day posting requirement, and the requirement that price be the primary factor in vendor selection. The FCC carefully reviewed USAC's decisions and upheld some and not others. It overruled on price as primary factor since the denial occurred before the Ysleta Order, which amended the requirement from "a primary factor" to "the primary factor."
DA 12-895 was a similarly mixed decision on appeals from Milburn (OK) Public Schools. USAC had denied four FY 2005 funding requests, finding that Milburn did not have a technology plan prior to posting its FCC Form 470. USAC also concluded that, with respect to two of the FY 2005 requests and three FY 2006 requests, price was not the primary factor in selecting vendors. The FCC reversed USAC on the tech plan issue, but upheld USAC's decisions on price as the primary factor.
DA 12-914 granted a request from Kearney (NE) Public Schools to reduce the recovery amount under a Commitment Adjustment (COMAD) for an FY 1999 funding request. A 2003 audit had determined that Kearney had invoiced for services that had not been purchased or installed at approved locations or where the invoice amount was in excess of actual costs. Kearney asked that funds for seven switches not be subject to recovery. The FCC decided that the switches, while not the same switches for which Kearney had sought funding, would have been approvable as a service substitution, and, therefore, recovery was not appropriate.
DA 12-915 granted an appeal from a service provider, Marconi Communications, Inc., that it not be the subject of a recovery as a result of a COMAD of an FY 2000 funding request because the applicant, the Heritage Charter School, was ineligible to receive E-rate funds during FY 2000 or beyond. Marconi delivered and installed equipment at the school in 2001. The FCC determined that USAC should have determined that the applicant, not the service provider, was in violation of FCC rules and should have sought recovery from the applicant.
Tech Plan and CIPA Deadline Reminders:
With less than two weeks remaining before the start of FY 2012, school applicants for services other than pure telecommunications are reminded that their Internet safety policies must be updated to include a component regarding the education of minors about appropriate online behavior (including cyberbullying). Priority 2 applicants with technology plan approvals expiring June 30, 2012, need to have updated plans approved by the start of the coming year. Additional information on these deadlines is available in our newsletter of April 23rd.
SLD System Issues:
SLD reported in last week's News Brief (see below) that it has now changed the status of FY 2012 Form 471s that were filed by the March 20 deadline but not certified by that date as long as they were certified by May 9th. Those applications had been shown in the Form 471 Application Status tool as "Certified – Out of Window;" now they are shown as "Certified – In Window." USAC will now issue Receipt Acknowledgement Letters for these applications. It will also start the process of identifying all applications that are truly out-of-window in order to send Out-of-Window Letters to those applicants.
It also appears that FY 2012 applications that were of the type "Statewide" are now showing up in the DRT.
Schools and Libraries News Brief Dated June 15 – Updating Form 471 Contact Information and Changes to FY 2012 Form 471 Application Status
The News Brief for June 15, 2012, reported on the change of status of FY 2012 applications that had been filed but not certified by March 20th. If the applications were certified by May 9th, they are now shown as "Certified – In Window" in the USAC database. The News Brief also covered the process for updating the contact information for Form 471s or providing alternate contact information for the summer. Correct information and the list of Form 471s affected should be sent by e-mail to the Program Integrity Assurance (PIA) manager for your state. The News Brief includes a list of those state PIA managers.