After the anticipation of returning to my roots to attend the USAC training in my home state of New Jersey, I was greeted by some much welcomed cooler weather, fall colors and friendly faces. Adding to this, I had the opportunity to meet with a variety of school and library people and talk with some familiar faces from the USAC team. After an informative morning filled with reminders that were beneficial to most everyone in the room, I suddenly found myself caught in a “gifting” whirlwind that was more like a bad word problem, reminiscent of a darker side when I was in grade school trying to understand why it really mattered how fast the two trains were moving.

The further we went into the gifting slides, the more I questioned the value of spending so much time on a topic that was neither a certification on any FCC form, nor relevant to the impending filing window targeted to open in just few short weeks. (Not to mention that the recent Funds For Learning's survey of E-rate applicants revealed that 31 percent of respondents believed that "clarifying the gift rules" was the least important action for the FCC to take in regards to the current E-rate program.) It seemed the further USAC traveled into the “gifting” examples, the more unclear it became if it was a violation to eat the food at the conference that one couldn’t attend...

Perhaps this is just an overreaction to the cries for clearer rules and for quicker processing of the applicants' funds that are crippling school district’s budgets across the country, that time may have been better spent on other more valuable, certifiable topics to help applicants succeed.