For FY 2006 and later, the Minnesota Telecommunications/Internet Access Equity Aid program provides school districts and charter schools with financial assistance to help with the costs of maintaining Internet access, video connectivity and related telecommunications services as defined on the federal E-Rate Eligible Services List as recurring Priority I services for Internet access, video connectivity, and other related information transfer services. This program does not include and is not intended to support any component of voice services. A school district or charter school’s telecommunications/internet access equity aid equals the approved cost for the previous year that exceeds $15 times the adjusted marginal cost per pupil units (AMCPU) for the previous year OR reimbursement of approved costs with no per pupil unit limit if the school district or charter school is a member of an organized telecommunications access cluster that was in operation by July 1 of the previous funding year.
Nonpublic schools are also entitled to aid under this program. School districts are required to work with the nonpublic schools within their boundaries, at the nonpublic schools’ request, to provide or arrange for telecommunications access services to the nonpublic school either through existing school district providers or through separate providers.
Nonpublic schools receive aid in the amount of the lesser of:
For the purposes of this program, nonpublic pupil counts shall be for pupils weighted by grade level using the weighting factors defined in section 126C.05, subdivision 1.
School districts directly providing telecommunications/Internet access services to nonpublic schools may claim up to five percent of the nonpublic school’s aid for the costs of administering service. The nonpublic school is responsible for the telecommunications/Internet access costs not covered by the program.
At the request of a nonpublic school, a school district may allocate the amount determined for nonpublic telecommunications/Internet access aid directly to the nonpublic school to pay for or offset the nonpublic school’s costs for services; however, the amount allocated directly to the nonpublic school may not exceed the actual amount of the nonpublic school’s ongoing or recurring telecommunications access costs.
The Legislature has appropriated $3,750,000 for FY 2013.
An organized telecommunications access cluster meets all of the following conditions:
Organizations that are currently considered eligible telecommunications clusters by the Minnesota Department of Education include:
East Central MN ED Cable Cooperative (ECMECC) (50-6003)
Contact: Marc Johnson
Central Minnesota Education Telecomm Systems (CMETS) (50-6054)
Contact: Jennifer Hiltner
Freshwater Education District (61-6004)
Contact: Rich Murdock
Little Crow Tele-media Network (50-6040)
Contact: Pete Royer
Minnesota River Valley Education District (61-6018)
Contact: Mary Brown
Southwest/West Central Service Cooperative (83-0991)
Contact: Josh Sumption
Project SOCRATES (50-6036)
Contact: Glenn Morris
Wasioja Education Telecommunications Cooperative (50-6048)
Contact: Aaron Bergstralh
(507) 732-7395 ext. 1190
Region 10 (SEMNET) (83-921)
Contacts: Kim Ross
Northwest Links (82-0869)
Contact: Bob Wheeler
TIES – Region 7 (82-0925)
Contact: Dennis Fazio
Arrowhead Regional Computing Center (ARCC) (82-0868)
Contact: Cindy Lee Olson
Northeast Service Cooperative (83-0927)
Contact: Linda Borchardt
Itasca Area Schools Collaborative (50-6070)
Contact: Lora Mathison
Central Minnesota ERDC (0867-82)
Contact: Tracey Fiereck
Scott County Schools Network (6081-50)
Contact: Yvonne Anderson
Mid-State Education District (6979-50)
Contact: Charles Diebel
NOTE: There may be organizations that qualify as telecommunications access clusters that do not appear on this list. If you have a question about eligibility of an organization as a telecommunications access cluster, contact Chris Kubesh at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Membership in a telecommunications access cluster is defined by a school district or charter school meeting all of the following conditions.
School districts, charter schools, and nonpublic schools are asked to submit their actual costs for telecommunications/Internet access for the previous fiscal year within statutorily allowable cost categories to the Minnesota Department of Education. These costs will then be calculated against the statutory allocation for the program, and funding will be disbursed through the Minnesota Department of Education IDEAS payment system. The Telecommunications/Internet Access Equity Aid statute allows for aid payment for school districts and charter schools who are members of a telecommunications access cluster to be paid directly to the cluster. Nonpublic school aid is paid to the school district in which the nonpublic school resides.
Please note that organizations such as education districts and intermediate districts do not generate telecommunications/internet access equity aid directly. Costs of connectivity for these districts, however, can be claimed by member districts on their behalf.
Eligible schools are approved charter schools, public school districts operating elementary, middle, and secondary schools that meet definitions established in Minnesota Statutes Section 120A.05, subdivisions 9, 11, and 13.
In order to be eligible, public school districts and charter school entities must:
Nonpublic schools are also eligible. Home schools are NOT eligible.
The Telecommunications/Internet Access Equity Aid program is intended to help schools pay the costs associated with Internet access and related connectivity needed to deliver instruction. It is not intended to support payment for regular telephone voice service. Therefore, each school district, charter school, and nonpublic school should report the following ACTUAL costs for the previous fiscal year AFTER subtracting any E-rate discounts received:
Again, all costs are to be ACTUAL and reported AFTER -Rate discounts received have been subtracted.
For any service that is in question, the Minnesota Department of Education will consult the current Universal Services Administrative Company (USAC) Eligible Services List for the E-Rate program for guidance on any extenuating situations.
Nonpublic schools are eligible for E-Rates and are encouraged to apply for E-Rate to leverage state resources. Nonpublic schools, however, are not required by the Telecommunications/Internet Access Equity Aid statute to either apply for E-Rates or file a three-year technology plan with MDE.
School districts are not required to report data for nonpublic schools within their boundaries. Nonpublic schools should report cost data directly to MDE.
MDE has created an online data collection website for schools or clusters to submit cost and e-rate data. The deadline to submit cost data is February 28, 2013. The following link will take you there:
Yes. Telecommunications Access Clusters may enter cost data on the MDE website for member districts as long as the cluster has been given authority by the school district to submit on their behalf. School districts and charter schools should check with the appropriate Telecommunications Access Cluster coordinator to verify whether data will be submitted by the school district/charter school or the cluster. See the list of cluster representatives included in this document.
The following items are acceptable documentation, depending on the cost category: