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Technology Plans and E-Rate

Originally, under guidelines for the federal E-Rate program, school districts must have had an approved technology plan to receive all discounts under the program. Technology plans are no longer required at all for E-Rate; however, TEA still requires technology plans for grants and other types of funding. The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) has authorized the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to approve technology plans for public schools and charter schools in the state.

The Agency, in cooperation with the regional Education Service Centers (ESCs), utilizes a peer review system to approve the plans. Districts submit their plans to their ESC where technology specialists and administrators evaluate the plans according to SLD guidelines. Plans recommended for approval are forwarded to the Agency for final review and approval. ESC personnel will assist districts with plans that do not meet all requirements.

To qualify as an approved technology plan, the plan must meet the following five criteria that are core elements of successful school technology initiatives:

      1.     The plan must establish clear goals and a realistic strategy for using telecommunications and information technology to improve education or library services.

     2.     The plan must have a professional development strategy to ensure that staff knows how to use these new technologies to improve education or library services.

     3.     The plan must include an assessment of the telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services that will be needed to improve education or library services.

     4.     The plan must provide for a budget sufficient to acquire and support the non-discounted elements of the plan: the hardware, software, professional development, and other services that will be needed to implement the strategy (include the current year's technology budget with the plan).

     5.     The plan must include an evaluation process that enables the school or library to monitor progress toward the specified goals and make mid-course corrections in response to new developments and opportunities as they arise.

      6.     New this year (2017-18), technology plans are also required to align with the District Site Based plan.

You should also organize and file your documents that relate to technology planning. At a minimum, these include:

  • A dated copy of the technology plan that was written before your FCC Form 470 was filed. Note that if a funding request for FY2017 is based on a multi-year contract that has already been in effect for several years, you may still need to refer to the technology plan that served as the basis for the establishing FCC Form 470 for that multi-year contract AS WELL AS the technology plan that covers the upcoming funding year.
  • A copy of the approval letter or other proof of approval from the USAC-certified Technology Plan Approver that approved your technology plan. The letter should clearly state the period for which the plan is approved, for example: "This technology plan is approved for the three-year period starting July 1, 2012 and ending June 30, 2015."


Sara Crow, E-Rate & Technology Consultant
Phone: 325-675-8638

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