In the most recent edition of the Schools and Libraries News Brief, the SLD announces that this week will have it’s last “regular wave for FY 2007.” The wave (numbered 80) will be issued on May 14 and will feature decisions for a number of Internal Connections and Basic Maintenance funding requests for the funding year that ended on June 30, 2008. Going forward, the SLD will release funding decisions for these requests “occasionally” as applications are reviewed.
An analysis of the available information shows that 1,495 requests are currently pending (in all service categories) for a total of $336 million. The applicants that will have pending requests after this final wave is released should receive a letter from USAC giving them “additional information about the current status” of their applications. That is, unless the applicant already knows why their applications are pending.
So, what does it mean for an applicant that finds itself without a funding commitment for FY 2007 after this week and the applicant isn’t under some kind of higher scrutiny review?
First, it means more delays. Since the SLD will only issue waves occasionally, applicants will have to wait until the SLD feels like they have enough funding decisions to issue a wave.
It probably also means additional paperwork. At a minimum, a Form 500 to notify the SLD that a contract extension is exercised. But, it could also mean a product substitution request and service provider changes if things have changed substantially since three years ago, when the original funding requests were made.
The SLD’s job of managing the E-rate program can’t be simple. But, it seems that unless an applicant has been unresponsive, a decision is under appeal, or if there is some sort of investigation underway, the SLD should have issued a funding decision within the three years since applications were submitted.