E-rate Tips for School Boards

By Peter Kaplan and Scott Weston

The federal E-rate program can be a boon to school districts. E-rate allows rural and low-income school districts and libraries to purchase Internet access and other telecommunications services at discounted rates. However, to truly get all the benefits from the program, you need a long-term strategy.

School board members may think that E-rate is a once-a-year application process, but you must address planning and other activities year-round. In fact, one E-rate year can span as many as 24 to 36 months, so you need a comprehensive, long-term strategy to make sure your district doesn’t run into problems down the road -- whether related to unused funding or problems during an audit.

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