Assessing eRate 2.0 – Part Two
Last week during the first of a two-part series of blog posts, I discussed the modifications and changes associated with eRate 2.o and I asked, what do these changes mean for districts seeking eRate help to connect a campus?
Today, I’m going to tell you. One thing is very clear; strategic planning has never been more important. Previously, districts were required to have an approved three-year technology plan in order to qualify for much of eRate’s reimbursements. Most districts treated these plans as “credenza documents.” These program changes will make technology plans vital to a successful eRate process over a longer period of time. These new plans should continue to incorporate the district-wide goals and objectives with regard to technology, not only in the classroom, but also in areas like operations, business, administration, professional development, and more. Never has it been more important for districts to communicate internally to ensure that the Information Technology needs of today and tomorrow have been clearly identified, researched, discussed, and ultimately, included in the planning.
So, for those schools that have written off eRate completely or have discounted eRate down to simply an ISP and telco reimbursement program, I ask that you take another look. Gone are the days of simple technology plans created for the program, but doomed to live out their days in the IT department’s credenza. Today’s eRate looks better than ever and, if the program lives up to its renewed expectations, it should prove to be a valued resource for schools’ IT Directors and CIOs.