Friday, July 19, 2019

Federal Legislative Report 116-04

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that could lead to the adoption of an aggregate cap on the Universal Service Fund (USF) and a combined program level cap for the E-Rate and Rural Health Care programs. These administrative changes could force E-Rate and the three other USF programs to compete with each other for annual funding.  This could not only diminish E-Rate funding, but also disrupt cooperation among USF stakeholders working to address broadband gaps across the country.  E-Rate is a crucial program in aiding schools to connect to high-speed broadband that is important for learning in today's modern world.

Comments to the FCC for the NPRM are due on July 29, 2019, and reply comments are due on August 26, 2019.  Click here for more detailed information about E-Rate, and here for a simple "how to" instruction one pager on the process for submitting comments to the FCC, both documents prepared by the National School Boards Association (NSBA).

NSBA also worked with a coalition to secure House language in the FCC's Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriation that would prevent the agency from completing the rulemaking. It is unknown if the Senate will adopt the same language.

Additional FCC Action: The FCC also released a new and additional NPRM last week concerning E-Rate separate from the one calling for an overall cap on the Universal Service Fund. This NPRM seeks comments on how to continue the "category two" funding approach adopted in earlier reforms when E-Rate was expanded and modernized. The date for comments and reply comments has not been determined at this time.

Click here to read the complete Federal Legislative Report 116-04, which includes Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) appropriations, the comprehensive immigration bill, U.S. Department of Education guidance on Title I, an IDEA rule providing one national calculation for significant disproportionality, and federal grant opportunities.

Click here to read the entire Federal Legislative Report 116-04, including information about FY 20 appropriations, DACA legislation, Title I, IDEA, and a number of grant opportunities.