COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 247

December 16, 2005

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

E-Rate Discounts for Virginia Schools

 

Virginia public and private schools and libraries have received discounts on telecommunications services, Internet access, and networking equipment through the federal E-Rate program since 1998. Annual funding requests for Virginia applicants average $35 to $40 million. Each year approximately 20 percent of funding requests are denied by the Schools and Libraries Division, the entity responsible for administration of the program. The filing window for the 2006 fund year closes on February 16, 2006.

 

Discounts for eligible services range from 20 to 90 percent off regular purchase prices. The E-Rate application and funding process is somewhat complex, resulting in a high denial rate by the administrator. To minimize confusion, the Department has provided guidance on the DOE website at: www.doe.virginia.gov/VDOE/Technology/erate.html

 

Several statewide master contracts are available to Virginia schools including Network.Virginia and other services contracted by the Virginia Information Technologies Agency. Links to these contracts are available on the DOE E-Rate website.

 

School divisions receiving E-Rate discounts for the Network.Virginia contract should be aware that the contract was extended to June 13, 2010, by an act of the General Assembly. Because of this extension, school divisions will not be able to use the Form 470 number filed by Virginia Tech in 1998. School divisions must file an individual Form 470, listing services covered under the Network.Virginia contract. At the conclusion of the required 28-day waiting period, school divisions may select Network.Virginia if it is the most cost-effective response to the individual Form 470 posting. Please see instructions on the DOE E-Rate website for more information.

 

The Department of Education strongly encourages each school division to designate an E-Rate coordinator to manage the program. Program updates are provided via email from the department to school division designees on a regular basis.

For more information on E-Rate, addition of school or division designee to the Departments email list, or assistance with the E-Rate application process, contact Greg Weisiger, associate director, teleproduction, (Greg.Weisiger@doe.virginia.gov ) or (804) 692-0335.

JLD/GWW/nb