E-rate Plan Approval Criteria
As stated in Title 47, Code of Federal Regulations section 54.508, a technology plan is required before an E-rate applicant starts receiving discounted services. The three-year E-rate technology plan has four approval criteria:
- The plan must include a clear statement of goals and a realistic strategy for using telecommunications and information technology to improve education or library services.
- The plan must include a professional development strategy to ensure that staff understands how to use these new technologies to improve education or library services.
- The plan must include an assessment of the telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services that will be needed to improve education or library services.
- The plan must include an evaluation process that enables the school or library to monitor progress toward the specified goals and make mid-course corrections in response to new developments and opportunities as they arise.
E-rate Plan Certification Process
The CDE has delegated its authority for approving E-rate technology plans to certified technology plan approvers. The LEA will submit its E-rate only technology plan to the County Office of Education in their area.
Approved technology plans should cover a period of not more than three years. Long-range planning is important for the effective use of information technology in schools and libraries. All approved plans should include provisions for evaluating progress toward the plan's goals, and ideally these assessments should occur on an annual basis. There may be cases in which an approved plan is longer than three years to conform to federal, state, or local requirements. Whenever an approved plan is longer than three years, there should be a significant review of progress during the third year.
In light of the dynamic nature of this field, technology plans should undergo periodic revision to take advantage of new hardware, software, and telecommunication opportunities. As school or library staff become more proficient in the use of these information technologies, new education and library service improvement possibilities are also likely to emerge. A technology plan should be responsive to these opportunities, open to revision, and not a static document. Technology plan revisions should also be sent to the COE E-rate coordinator to keep the files up to date.
Districts should submit E-rate technology plans to the COE E-rate coordinator for uploading to the system. The COE E-rate technology plans are to be mailed to the CDE for review and approval.