The Federal E-Rate Program has provided reimbursement for telecommunication and broadband access and services to school buildings since 1997. This program can be used in conjunction with State Building Aid. The rate of discount for reimbursement by the E-Rate Program varies from school to school based on a needs index, calculated by using Free and Reduced Price Lunch (FRPL) program data. To address the needs of increasing Internet access and sufficient bandwidth for computer-based testing (CBT), districts should carefully examine and explore the E-Rate Discount Program Services in budget planning and infrastructure development. It also important for schools to work with their service providers to secure necessary security and sufficient bandwidth, but avoid unnecessary costs associated with over-supply.
NYSED also recommends the following guidelines for adequate technical support in schools and districts:
- Have a technology integration specialist in each school that will administer CBT, to facilitate the planning and implementation timetable and process, and to provide technical and instructional support for technology-based learning and testing in general.
- If a school does not have a designated technology integration specialist,
seek technical assistance from the district technology office or a
regional support center:
- For schools in the “Big Five” city school districts, the central school district technology office tends to coordinate the planning and implementation of the E-Rate Program. Individual school buildings in need of assistance in assessing, planning, and implementing technology readiness strategies can turn to their central technology offices within their city school districts.
- For schools and their district technology offices outside of the “Big 5” that desire to increase their technology expertise and/or capacity, consider seeking assistance from a regional service provider (e.g., BOCES and/or Regional Information Centers, or “RIC’s”) in assessing and addressing needs for technology capacity and development.
Technical support from technology offices in school districts or regional support centers should focus on both technology capacity development and instructional support for technology-infused learning and assessment.
For more information on E-Rate, please see Funding