We recently received word from the Network Coordinator, Mary Mehsikomer, indicating that schools applying for Priority 1 services for E-Rate will no longer be required to submit a Technology Plan. See below list of changes.
- Technology plans will no longer be required for school districts and libraries who are applying only for Priority 1 services (telecommunications and Internet access).
- Technology plans will still be required for any school or library that is applying for Priority 2 (Internal connections – wiring and eligible equipment) requests.
- With this change in the technology planning requirement, it is even more important that you pick the correct services “bucket” (Telecommunications, Internet Access, Internal Connections, or Basic Maintenance on Internal Connections) when filing for E-rate.
- These changes take effect beginning with the Funding Year 2011 (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012).
- Technology plan approval for schools and libraries filing for Priority 2 (Internal Connections) from a Certified Technology Plan Approver, will still be required.
- All CIPA requirements still apply.
- Technology Plan requirements have been altered to remove the requirement to have a section on the budget.
I am truly not a fan of this change. I think having a technology plan was one of the only ways the state was able to enforce the importance of technology in school district. Of course there were issues with the way it was done in the past. Plans weren’t followed. Budgets weren’t funded etc, but it was better than not having a plan at all.
I would highly recommend all districts continue creating technology plans, even if you don’t apply for Priority 2 requests. Technology is an important part of our education system, but it is not the most important part. Districts need to account for the money they spend, and a Technology Plan helps in that accounting process. The plan is not intended to be a static document and can change as the years go by, but hopefully the original direction is still in place, or you’ve at least documented why your direction is now changing.
Technology departments should not be flying by the seat of their pants. If you are, take a few minutes to think about where your district is heading and where it wants to go and how technology can assist in some of those goals. That should write your plan for you. If you don’t know or your district doesn’t know, you best be concerned.