On Monday night, the Hays USD 489 school board discussed the idea of applying for the E-Rate program at Washington Elementary.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the E-Rate program “provides discounts of up to 90 percent to help eligible schools and libraries in the United States obtain affordable telecommunications and internet access.”
Brian Drennon, director of technology for USD 489, also noted the recipients of the benefits are chosen by the poverty level of the school, not by the district. The program does not include any brand or equipment type requirements. A bid would have to be submitted by Feb. 26th in order to meet the March 28 E-rate deadline for providers.
“We are wanting to submit a bid for resellers to respond back to with wired and wireless infrastructure for Washington Elementary.” Drennon said.
The process would include sending out the bid and then, within 28 days, resellers could respond back with their proposal. The school district then would decide if any of them would meet its needs. The school district could reject any or all of the bids without penalty. Services could be discounted by E-Rate at a rate of 20 percent to 90 percent, dependent upon the eligibility.
“This could start the wired and wireless infrastracture upgrade that we’ve been talking about,” Drennon said. “We don’t have a district plan for the wired and wireless infrastructure upgrade. But this would would kick that off.”
Drennon noted this would help the schools move from a 802.11G network to an 802.11N network, which would help provide more capacity and bandwith for the schools within the district:
The board agreed to continue researching the proposal while also looking at the costs of expanding the wireless infrastructure throughout the district.