The Wyoming State Department of Education was denied E-rate dollars in 2004 and 2005 because the SLD determined that in their competitive bidding evaluation price was not the primary factor. According to an analysis by Funds For Learning the State lost out on nearly $3 million in E-rate support combined for those two funding years.
The State RFP listed five criteria from highest priority to lowest priority. The evaluation criteria were functionality, pricing, vendor support, vendor qualifications and project plan. Wyoming argued that the highest weight had to be functionality because of Wyoming's large and diverse geographic area in terms of building a state network. Wyoming further argued that while functionality was required to be given the highest weight, pricing was still a primary factor in awarding the contract to Qwest.
The FCC disagreed with the SLD's evaluation of this situation and determined that the State did comply with all competitive bidding requirements and has remanded this back to the SLD for further processing. The FCC found that "the record in this case indicates that Wyoming's procurement process required selection of the most cost-effective bid after evaluating price as a primary factor."
The USAC Schools and Libraries Committee recently approved the SLD spending an additional $3.5 million in order to process quickly and efficiently the recent FCC orders and appeals without slowing up the process of getting out 2005 and 2006 commitments.
The Wyoming Department of Education Appeal can be found at Wyoming Department of Education Appeal