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Thursday, March 28, 2019

The squeeze

It's past time to trot out my annual table of ESL and window dates (I missed 2018 entirely).  First, my comments on the trends I see in the dates.  [The most important trend ended up buried in the middle, so I put it in bold.]
  1. The ESL release date has been sliding.  It should be July 1, but it's sliding towards December.  On the one hand, the ESL isn't changing much, so it doesn't matter much.  On the other hand, the ESL isn't changing much, so why the long review?
  2. The "60 days" column is shrinking, almost hitting the minimum in 2019.  That's bad.  The 60-day rule was put in place so that applicants would have time to look at the ESL, decide what they were going to apply for, post a Form 470, wait 28 days, select a vendor and be ready for the opening of the window.
  3. The size of the window is shrinking a little.  That wouldn't be a big deal, except that with the "60 days" number dropping, we've gone from having 241 days from the release of the ESL to the close of the window in 2017 to having only 131 days in 2019.  That means applicants have a lot less time to look at needs and budgets, put together a 470, collect bids, sign a contract and file a Form 471.  I still wouldn't say it's a tight squeeze (we only had 71 days in 2010), but it's a squeeze.
  4. The window close have moved from May, where it was for a couple of years, to late March.  It's better than the old mid-February close dates, but I'm all for closing the window in May.  Did you notice that the window closed in May for a couple of years, and the sky didn't fall?
Fund YearFCC releases ESL Days passedWindow announcedPrep daysWindow open60 days?Window closeWindow days
(ext. to 4/16/2015)
(ext. to 5/26/2016)**
** Extended to 7/21/16 for consortia and libraries
Some explanations:
"Days passed" is the number of days that passed between the release of the ESL and the announcement of the window dates.
"Prep days" is the number of days between the announcement of the window dates and the opening of the window.
"60 days" is the number of days between the release of the ESL and the opening of the window, which should be at least 60 days per the Third Report and Order
"Window days" is the number of days that the window is open.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:01 PM

    Good stuff! Two obvious improvements: 1) Set a firm, consistent date for window closing - such as April 15th (unless that is a weekend day - like the IRS) to allow for predictable planning in advance; and 2) STOP picking window closing dates anywhere near what are almost universal Spring Break weeks for public (and often private) schools. We can assume thousands of schools were on Spring Break between March 9th and 24th - horrible (yet highly predictable) time to end a complicated federal funding application process on the 27th...