eRate applicants face important changes with this year’s program

Privately, many service providers have expressed concerns about the new gift rules. They’re worried the new rules are too stringent and will force many changes in how they do business—hampering their ability to hold raffles encouraging school personnel to visit their booth during trade shows, for instance.

In March, the Education and Libraries Network Coalition (EdLiNC) filed a brief with the FCC seeking clarification on a few points related to the new gift rules. In particular, EdLiNC asked if the rules could apply only to individuals with a direct bearing on the eRate procurement process, and not all educators.

The group also asked the FCC to allow exceptions for raffles in which eRate employees participate—“so long as the eRate vendors have no control over the awarding of the auction or raffle prizes.” As of press time, the FCC had yet to respond.

CIPA updates

There are no changes to the CIPA requirements for libraries. But schools must amend their existing internet safety policies by July 1, 2012, to include information about how they are educating students about proper online behavior, cyber bullying, and social networking sites.

For more eRate guidance, see also:

How to make sense of the new eRate gift rules

Five tips for eRate success

USAC will look at schools’ CIPA policies to confirm that they are, in fact, meeting the new requirements, Blackwell said.

As part of the continuing CIPA requirements, schools and libraries must have an internet safety policy, a technology protection measure such as web filtering or monitoring software, and a public notice of—and a public meeting or hearing about—their internet safety policy.

Internet safety policies must address specific policy issues, including access to inappropriate material, safety and security when using direct electronic communications, unauthorized access, and more. In schools only, the internet safety policy must include the monitoring of minors’ online activities.

Schools and libraries are advised to keep a copy of their internet safety policies, retain documentation proving that filters are in place, and keep documentation of both a public notice of a hearing and a board agenda, meeting minutes, or other documentation from the meeting itself.

Laura Ascione

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