The Kansas Connect and Learn Initiative, a partnership between KSDE, the Governor’s Office, and the non-profit EducationSuperHighway, is anticipating the availability of matching funds for fiber construction during the 2020 E-rate application window. The next indication on the availability of the funds will be when the Governor’s budget proposal is announced in late December.
As you know, current E-rate funding is based on your school district’s discount rate. The Governor’s budget proposal would fund 10% of the cost to construct new broadband infrastructure, triggering additional 10% match from E-rate to cover these projects. Effectively, this provides an extra 20% of funding above and beyond your district’s regular E-rate discount for broadband construction.
Examples and more information about the federal program that the proposed fund takes advantage of can be found here: State Matching Provision
School districts need to follow the normal E-rate process to request an infrastructure upgrade.
Please keep your eye out for this year’s E-rate Form 471 filing deadline which you can find on the USAC website. By this date, school districts must have signed contracts with service providers. To meet this deadline, we recommend that school districts file a corresponding E-rate Form 470/RFP to request new services no later than 6 weeks from the 471 filing deadline.
Other key considerations:
- Applicants wishing to take advantage of this opportunity must check a box on their E-rate Form 471 to indicate that a state match funding exists.
- This money must be allocated by June 30, 2021. This is an outstanding opportunity if your current contract is expiring in 2020. If you are currently in a multi-year contract that expires after 2020, and are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, please contact KSDE so we can help you evaluate your options.
- These matching funds are only for the one-time new construction costs and the resulting broadband infrastructure must meet FCC bandwidth recommendations.
- Note: This is currently a budget proposal and the budget is a long way from being finalized. We recommend that school districts wishing to take advantage of the potential opportunity file the appropriate E-rate forms during the current application window and, if necessary, indicate on the associated contracts that service is contingent on state funding availability. If the state match is not made available this year or the funding cap is reached prior to your district receiving funding, you can continue to utilize your existing E-rate discount funds to complete the project or just walk away from the project.
Please contact Sarah Palubinski at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.