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Thursday, September 11, 2008

USAC training roundup

All in all, I'm giving the USAC training in DC last week a passing grade. I think it's worth attending, no matter what level you're at.

My only gripe: my company name wasn't on my name tag. But then again, maybe some of the school district folks would have avoided me if they'd known I wasn't one of them.

The idea of a separate "advanced" session in the beginning was excellent, and the topics were pretty good. For next year, maybe they should ask for topic suggestions.

The Audit session was informative, especially for old hands. I think it must have been frightening for first-timers, though. And since most of us never need that info, I think the main goal should have been to assuage fears for newcomers.

Program Compliance didn't introduce much that was new, but it is information that bears repeating every year.

The Cost Effectiveness Review session was completely unsatisfying, because all the information about the review that really matters (how you get picked for one, what you need to do to pass one, etc.) is all secret. But I was able to restrain myself from getting too snitty, so it was a success for me.

Calculating Discounts seemed to me to be a better session for the Beginners track, although I suppose USAC needs to say "You can't extrapolate percentages based on NSLP form returns" to as many people as possible.

The Eligible Services session was interesting: it focused in on a few rules, rather than trying to cover the whole topic. Since there was an "Eligible Services for Beginners" session, that was just right. I have to say, though, that the info on the 67% rule was probably way over the head of 67% of the people there.

I don't want to give any spoilers concerning items not on the agenda, so I'll just say that E-Rate Bingo can't have been easy to prepare: given the rules in this program, it must be difficult to think up questions to which the answer is not, "It depends."

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