The federal E-rate program will lose impact and some school districts will be harmed without additional funding, the National School Boards Association (NSBA) has warned the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
In a July 1 letter to FCC commissioners, NSBA Executive Director Thomas J. Gentzel warns, “The absence of a meaningful increase in funding – at the heart of NSBA’s recommendations and those of many other organizations – undermines the future of E-rate as a catalyst for progress. The simultaneous retrenchment of resources from the discount matrix and legacy services exacerbates the dilemma for school districts. Further, a multi-year commitment to Wi-Fi expansion without a clearly identified funding source in the later years puts the entire E-rate fund at potential risk. Finally, any departure from need-based dissemination of resources would fundamentally alter the program and potentially harm the very students and schools that need it the most.”
NSBA and other groups have urged the FCC to permanently raise the E-rate’s funding cap and continue the program’s poverty-based funding formula. The FCC is expected to modernize the program sometime this year.
“For nearly 20 years, NSBA has supported the goals of the E-rate program to increase Internet connectivity and provide digital learning opportunities to underserved students, schools and libraries,” the letter states.
Learn more on NSBA’s positions on educational technology and E-rate.