Responses to this question generally were consistent, regardless of school size or eRate discount level. However, two of the eight statements did elicit significantly different responses: (1) Sixty-six percent of applicants receiving only Priority 1 (P1) funding agreed with the statement, “Our buildings are wired. Eliminate P2 and focus on P1.” However, only 33 percent of applicants who receive Priority 2 (P2) funding agreed. (2) By a similar but opposite margin, 59 percent of applicants receiving P2 funding indicated that they rely on basic maintenance support; whereas only 32 percent of P1-only applicants indicated a reliance on basic maintenance.
The results are clear: Applicants who currently receive P2 funding rely on it and would not choose to eliminate it. More surprising, perhaps, is that one-third of respondents who do not currently receive P2 funding still support it.
What matters most: the predictability, speed, amount, or flexibility of funding?
This question asked applicants to rank four aspects of eRate funding—predictability, speed, amount, and flexibility—from least to most important to their schools.
• The largest majority of respondents indicated that predictability of funds was most important, followed closely by the amount of funding.
• Flexibility in the use of funding was ranked least important by a significant margin.
Being able to rely on eRate funding is consistent with the need to plan projects, budget funds, and so on. School administrators are required to plan many aspects of their organization’s operation far in advance. Shrinking budgets mean that schools need as much funding from outside sources as possible, and the stability and predictability of those funding sources is critical to ensuring that schools can carry out their plans effectively.
Current and future technology use
This series of questions asked applicants to rank the readiness of their existing infrastructure, the importance of certain types of technology initiatives for the future, and what changes they anticipate for their budgets for P1 services five years from now.
• Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they felt their telecommunications and internet budgets will be up slightly or significantly in five years.
• One-third of respondents believe their current infrastructure is lagging, with only 10 percent indicating that their telephony, data, and WAN infrastructure is “ready for tomorrow.”
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