Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Today, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty announced the District’s award of more than $20 million dollars for key technology investments in the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) from the Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Fund (USF), more commonly known as “E-Rate.” The Mayor made the announcement at Washington DC’s First Annual Education and Technology Summit, which was coordinated and led by a public-private partnership between the Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) and the Center for Digital Government.
Approximately $6.3 million will go toward outstanding debt, dating back to 2003 (this check was paid directly to Verizon for services rendered) and $13.8 million will be used to fund current IT initiatives, including installing wireless access points, internal cabling, conduit repairs, switch and router maintenance, and network interface cards at DC public schools.
The announcement comes at a time when the Fenty administration has achieved a number of IT accomplishments, including the deployment and installation of more than 6,300 new PCs for DCPS teachers and administrators, completing an agreement to receive 250 laptops for DCPS from the US Department of Justice, and supporting work by a District-based telecommunications carrier, Allied Telecom, to connect over 90 schools to a high-speed broadband network. OCTO also digitized 4.6 million DCPS personnel files in 54 days and created an IT Investment Board comprised of key District government business and technology owners to ensure proper and efficient usage of DCPS IT dollars. This E-Rate reimbursement coupled with more than $14 million being approved for spending by SLD, will total more than $20 million for DCPS technology investments.
“This announcement symbolizes an incredibly important step for the District and our schools,” Mayor Fenty said. “We hope that securing these critical funds will be another catalyst toward our ultimate goal to transform not only the school system but the District’s ability to leverage resources, like E-Rate, with greater effectiveness on behalf of our residents, businesses and visitors.”
Mayor Fenty used the Education and Technology Summit as backdrop for this announcement to highlight the Summit’s objective of bringing together some of the best thinkers and practitioners in the fields of education and technology to discuss an increasingly important nexus that aligns directly with the mission of the USF.
“For far too many years, DCPS was not able to effectively use the full array of resources at its disposal to maximize important infrastructure investments in the schools,” CTO Kundra said. “Because of poor management and lack of prioritization, DCPS has left millions on the table. However, we are now seeing a new day under the Mayor’s leadership where accountability and attention to details as rudimentary as meeting filing deadlines can mean the difference between the schools receiving millions in technology investment dollars for infrastructure upgrades and development or receiving nothing.”
“DCPS is committed to providing the District’s students and their families with the best path to educational success,” DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee said. “This E-Rate funding announcement and Education and Technology Summit are prime examples of the innovative and positive direction that the Mayor’s transformation agenda is taking the District.”
SLD is an independent not-for-profit corporation established to administer universal service for qualified schools & libraries. The Schools and Libraries Universal Service support mechanism was established as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 with the express purpose of providing affordable access to telecommunications services for all eligible schools and libraries, particularly those in rural and economically disadvantaged areas. It is administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and is one of four support programs funded through a Universal Service fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunications services.
The Office of the Chief Technology Officer (OCTO) is the central information technology and telecommunications agency in the District of Columbia Government. OCTO’s Education and Technology Summit coordinating partner the Center for Digital Government is a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government that provides public- and private-sector leaders with decision support, knowledge and opportunities to help them succeed in 21st century government.