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Friday, October 06, 2006

More outreach

The SLD is piloting a new outreach program. So far, they’ve only visited two districts, and one of my clients happened to be the second one.

In the pilot phase, they are looking at applicants who had trouble getting funded for a couple of years, then did get funded, and asking them what turned the program around for them. It was a big team: three SLD staffers, two reviewers from BearingPoint, and one other guy whose title I didn't catch, but I think was also from BearingPoint.

There was no investigation of compliance, no documentation required, just questions about what was difficult for the applicant, and how they managed to turn the process around, and what could the SLD do to improve the process. They wanted to talk to anyone in the district who had been or is currently involved in the E-Rate application process. The interview was pretty unstructured (again, perhaps because it was a pilot).

I hope this will turn into a full-blown outreach program, because it looks like it has nothing but an upside for applicants. My understanding is that it will expand to districts that are currently having trouble, so the SLD can help them directly. Excellent news for districts having trouble, but perhaps not so great for those of us who make our living helping districts that are having trouble.

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