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FCC Grants Hickory Public Schools District’s Appeal

Over this past year the FCC has released over a dozen appeals which have been favorable to E-rate applicants. In this most recent case, the Hickory Public School District filed their 2005 Form 471’s in a timely manner, however, failed to respond fully to SLD selective review requests during the application review stage. The SLD subsequently denied the school on the grounds that Hickory did not secure access to the funds needed to pay their fair share of the charges.

The FCC in granting this waiver argues,

“Even if Hickory’s consultant failed to respond within the time frame, this error was procedural and involved a USAC administrative deadline, not a failure to adhere to a core program requirement, misuse of funds, or violation of a Commission rule. As the Commission recently found, given that this error was procedural, not substantive, we find that the complete rejection of these applications is not warranted…. Furthermore, it appears that Hickory may have provided the information in question…”

However, while the FCC continues to grant waivers and appeals, they caution applicants that deadlines are still an important part of the E-rate application process. The FCC stated in this appeal that,

“Although we grant the appeal before us, our action here does not eliminate USAC’s deadlines for processing applications. In addition, this decision is not intended to reduce or eliminate any application review procedures or lessen the program requirements that applicants must comply with to receive funding. We continue to require E-rate applicants to submit complete and accurate information to USAC as part of the application review process.”

The FCC is likely to continue to release new appeals every few weeks as they are trying to reduce their heavy backlog. See below for Funds For Learning’s news stories about recent FCC appeals.

View the Hickory FCC Appeal Decision

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