E-Rate Training

E-rate Year 2011 Opportunities for Kansas Schools and Libraries | Topeka | BTU Consultants Don Dietrich

Laura and I spent yesterday hearing about changes to the E-Rate program.  I left at noon, but she stayed all day.  I’ll have to quiz her on Monday to see what I missed.

Here were the important things I took from the training:

  • Priority 1 (to the building) Services no longer require a Tech Plan, but Priority 1 services are always funded.
    • Include Telecommunications Services – local and long distance
    • Internet Access – Internet costs, WEB HOSTING, Email services
  • Priority 2 (within the building) Services still require a Tech Plan, but are funded based on Need.
    • Internal connections category (only available 2 out of 5 years) – cabling and hardware, Network servers for Internet access and email, telephone systems
    • Basic maintenance of Internal connections – maintenance charges
  • All requests for new services (470 postings, say for a new ISP) have to be made through a Competitive Process and the requests must be posted for 28 calendar days
  • Priority 2 Services and Tech Plans
    • Plan has to be written before the Form 470 is Filed…so between Oct. and early Dec.
    • Plan must cover all 12 months of the funding year, but not more than 3 years
    • Must contain 5 elements:  Goals | Professional Development | Assessment | Budget | Evaluation
    • Must be approved by a USAC Certified Tech Plan Approver
  • CIPA Requirements
    • Technology Protection Software, as in OpenDNS filtering
    • An approved Acceptable Use/Internet Safety Policy
    • Public Hearing and Public Notice – do you have this yearly, say at the January Board meeting??  For our libraries new to e-rate and Tech plans, we need an orientation packet and check list!
    • All documentation supporting compliance with CIPA rules is maintained in E-rate binder.  So a copy of the Minutes of that January meeting need to be in this binder, along with all of those colored confirmation letters and copies of anything USAC AND e-Rate Solutions AND Kan-ed sends you)
  • Eligible Services List (embedded in this PDF from the USAC site)
    • Dark Fiber is now eligible, in case a School District wants to become their own ISP
    • Expanded coverage for Web Hosting (added chat rooms and blogs)
      • THIS is very exciting, as the My Kansas Library on the Web project is based on blogging software and is hosted off-site, so many of the costs associated with this service are now Priority 1 e-rate reimbursable.
      • Provides a means for a library to display content on the Internet.
      • Generally includes: bandwidth for web site traffic | disk space for storing applicant provided content (Amazon cloud) | FTP or Web interface to upload files
      • Not eligible: Content creation tools, including templates, ILS check in/check out software, Book catalogs (??) and other library applications.
      • Question: Is the OPAC from Koha, as it is used to display content on the Internet??
    • Questions to ponder:
      • Can Eddie file a 470 extension for KLOW
      • Flickr fees are eligible – not content, but hosting – does this apply to NEKLS?
      • Amazon cloud hosting eligible – woot!
      • BLOGS now eligible – woot!
      • Digitiziation project – storage of the pictures – will it be an eligible provider?  Historical Society can apply for a SPIN number in 5 minutes.
      • Management fee for storage is eligible – what you want from the vendor is a line that says “erate eligible items = $1234” – will Amazon do this for us??
      • Off-site data storage? If it’s web-accessible data then it’s eligible
      • Koha is NOT eligible b/c it’s a Content creation tool – if paying a company to host our OPAC, a portion would be e-rate eligible. Something to talk to Eddie about for NExpress – what percentage of the hosting will be for Koha OPAC? Add to an RFP – Do the Koha support companies have a SPIN?
  • Procurement – public money is involved, so the process needs to be transparent
    • Plan > Procure > Implement
    • Competitive RFP, vendor selection, award contracts, submit specific requests
  • Plan – Form 470 – “notice of applicant’s intent to acquire goods and services” – it’s an RFP – can file additional 470’s – cancel and file another – only file once if a multi-year contract is signed
  • Procure – Form 471 – Specific request for goods and services by entity, category, detailed costs and vendor (signed contract) – but this has to be re-filed every year to ask for the $$
  • Implement – Form 486 – Notice of intent to accept funds awarded and Form 500 Change award amount or items
    • Form 472 (BEAR) – Recover discounts already paid to vendors for eligible goods and services.
  • Web Hosting Services – 470 – “Web hosting services for district website including all eligible services.” “Vendors shall clearly separate pricing for all non-eligible services proposed.”

Again, I need to work on an E-Rate Survival Kit and checklist for new librarians and new-to-e-rate librarians.  Anyone already have such a thing??

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