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FCC Releases Appeal Decisions

On June 12, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission released four appeal decisions based on requests filed for Funding Years 1999, 2000, 2002 and 2005. The decisions include:

Milburn Public Schools, OK

USAC originally denied Milburn’s FY 2005 funding requests due to lack of a technology plan before the Form 470 was posted. However, the FCC determined that a technology plan did exist for those particular funding requests and are directing the SLD to process the Form 471s within 90 days. The FCC upheld USAC’s denials tied to competitive bidding violations which stated that price was not the primary factor in the vendor selection process.

Kearney Public Schools, NE

The FCC reduced an audit recovery amount for a FY 1999 funding request. Kearney purchased different switches than they had originally requested, but the FCC found that no waste or fraud existed and reduced the amount of recovery Kearney is expected to pay back to USAC. The 2003 audit found that Kearney had invoiced USAC for amounts in excess of the actual costs of the products it received; products the school never actually purchased or installed at approved locations; and services installed at an unapproved location.

USAC has 60 days to issue a revised COMAD to Kearney Public Schools based on the appeal decision.

Marconi Communications

Marconi Communications had delivered and installed internal connections equipment to Heritage Charter School in FY 2000. In a subsequent audit, it was determined that Heritage was an ineligible entity, and USAC sought the recovery from the service provider. The FCC reversed USAC’s decision and stated USAC should have sought recovery from the applicant, which was the entity responsible for non-compliance.

Birmingham City Schools, AL

The FCC granted in part and denied in part Birmingham’s appeal related to FY 2002 funding requests. The issues pertained to eligible services as well as competitive bidding violations, with the original denial stating that the 28 day bidding requirement was violated, as was the requirement that cost of the eligible goods and services be the highest weighted factor in the vendor selection process. The FCC ultimately ruled in Birmingham’s favor that:

    “USAC should have applied the standard then in effect from the Tennessee Order, which required that price be a primary factor in the vendor selection process, not that price be given the greatest weight during bid evaluations.”

USAC has 90 days to complete their review of the funding requests based on the appeal decisions.

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