Atlanta Public Schools this week received $3.4 million in federal E-rate reimbursements.
Added to other E-rate dollars the district began receiving earlier in 2012, and reimbursements to date total $15.8 million. These funds are among the first received under the federal E-rate program since 2002, following an investigation that uncovered previous wrongdoing in the system’s handling of the program.
After strengthening internal operations, developing a comprehensive technology plan and negotiating with federal officials to restore the district’s standing in the program, APS will now qualify for millions of dollars under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. This law helps to increase student and community access to state-of-the-art services and technologies by allowing schools and libraries to purchase telecommunications and internet services at a discounted education rate or E-rate. The rate may be applied to purchases of phone service, email, web hosting and wiring but not computers, telephones or staff training.
Because E-rate funds are actually reimbursements for services the school system has already bought, the funds will be placed into APS’ general fund to be used to offset declining revenues as identified through the budget process.
Shown below is the math on the breakdown of APS E-rate reimbursements received since 2002:
$ 3.4 million received in fiscal year 2012
+ $12.4 million received in fiscal year 2013 (including $3.4 million this week)
= $15.8 million in total E-rate funds received so far