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Friday, January 13, 2006

No macs allowed

I just saw something in an E-Rate Central newsletter about people having problems with the online Form 470 changing where they put data. That's not too surprising: I used to do QA/tech support on an ASP application, and errors do happen. (What little I've heard of the problem makes me think that it's a proxy server issue. Proxy servers don't play nice with ASP applications.)

What amazed me was the SLD response. First, they said they don't support Adobe Reader 7. I knew this from difficulties with the Form 486, but it's a bit surprising that 15 months after version 7 was released, it's still not supported. And it's a nuisance, because Adober Reader is always pestering me to upgrade to the latest version.

But the shocker for me: the SLD does not support Macintosh computers. An application used primarily by K-12 education does not support Macs?! Last time I looked, admittedly a few years back, Macs were about 25% of the education market. So SLD applications don't run on a quarter of the computers in schools. I had to check: neither Bill Gates nor Steve Ballmer are on the USAC board.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Eligibility of Adult Ed/Pre-School

The SLD has nicer guidance now on what they're calling Non-traditional Elementary and Secondary Education. I has a nice table on the eligibility of pre-kindergarten, adult education and juvenile justice facilities.

The guidance on eligibility of facilities leaves one area uncovered. I asked about it in one of the trainings this fall, but we still haven't gotten answers to those questions yet. Can school districts treat ineligible "non-traditional" locations as non-instructional facilities?

I'll use an example from an actual client. This client has a building that houses the board offices, a pre-school and adult ed in one building. This client is in NJ, where pre-schools are eligible for E-Rate, but adult ed is not. So should the district treat the building as only partially eligible? What if the adult ed location is separate?

It creates the rather strange situation that a district could receive funding for a bus garage, where only bus drivers are present, but if the district tried to teach a GED class for those bus drivers, the eligibility of that building is jeopardized. Providing education could render a facility ineligible. In other states, where pre-K is not eligible, a maintenance shed is eligible, but if 4-year-olds enter the building to receive an education, it's no longer eligible?