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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Eligible Services List 2006

The proposed Eligible Services List for 2006-2007 is out. And we've only got 9 days to comment on it. But then it seems to be basically the same as last year, with a few clarifications here and there. Should I dust off all the comments I made last year, since many of the same problems exist? Probably not; if they wanted extensive comments, they'd give us more than 9 days.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Training from the SLD

The word is out: the SLD will be running training in Washington, DC on September 30, for the first 200 people who register. Read more at:
Register at:

There will also be trainings in the New York area and in Southern California. The dates have not been set, but will apparently be in October.

Training outside the DC area is good. And it's great that there will be multiple trainings. However, they have taken the 3-day "Train-the-Trainer" and condensed it into 1 day. How? Entire subject areas are just left out. Here's the agenda:
8:30am - 9:00am Welcome
9:00am - 10:45am ABC's of the Application Process
10:45am - 11:00am Break
11:00am - 12:00pm Eligible Services - What's New Part 1
12:00pm - 1:30pm Lunch
1:30pm - 2:45pm Eligible Services - What's New Part 2
2:45pm - 3:00pm Break
3:00pm - 4:00pm Understanding the Rules
4:30pm - 5:00pm Q&A

Why is almost half the time dedicated to Eligible Services? Will we see a significant change in this area? One thing's for certain: the Eligible Services List won't be final by then; the FCC posts it for comment before finalizing it, and it hasn't been posted yet, so I don't see how it will be final before September 30th.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Extended Outreach site visit - the visit

Today we completed the actual site visit. Here's the short view:
A single BearingPoint employee came at the appointed time, and we sat down and went through a series of prepared questions, with him jotting down notes on our responses. He asked for the documents listed in the letter, we went over them where necessary.

What did we cover?

We talked about the tech plan: when it was approved, what period it covered, who approved it. Interestingly, we never really had to describe how it was prepared.

We talked about the details of the invoice, mostly about how we arrived at the amounts. Since there was no equipment involved, I think we skipped most of the questions on this section, not to mention avoiding having to show where the equipment was and how inventory was tracked.

We talked about the E-Rate process: how we managed the competitive process, who completed the application, what suggestions we had for improving the process. My favorite question: What recommendations do we have for other applicants in completing the E-Rate. I do two-hour workshops on just that subject, but I gave him the highlights.

We talked about training, both of students and teachers. And about how students and teachers use the Internet. Since there were no students or teachers in the building, we didn't show the auditor anything.

I shouldn't say "auditor"; the BearingPoint employee kept stressing that this was not an audit. But using the term "visitor" seems wrong, and I don't know what else to use.

Have your paperwork ready, and the visit is easy enough. One suggestion I would make is to think about the feedback section; get your ideas ready on your problems applying and suggestions for improving the program.

What's next? Within 60 days, a secret report goes to the SLD. The SLD will then follow up. I'll post info on the follow-up then.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Extended Outreach site visit - Checklist

The Extended Outreach first contact letter has a good checklist, with the exception of one item.

The first item is "Evidence of E-Rate document retention." Which documents? The FCC says an exhaustive list is impossible, but here is an E-Rate documentation checklist of everything I can remember having been asked to produce.