WE HIGHLY SUGGEST using the State’s Official Numbers for planning your Category 2 (Internal Connections) E-rate budget. NC sends the “State Valid File” to USAC and USAC uses the State’s official numbers to calculate budgets for each entity.
Important Questions for Budget Calculations for Category 2
QUESTION: When will I receive the official numbers so I can begin updating the EPC portal with the most recent ADM and NSLP or CEP numbers?
State Coordinator(s) will send each LEA and Charter School the official “State Valid File” numbers for ADM(average daily membership), and NSLP (National School Lunch Program) and CEP (Community Eligibility Program) as soon as we get the file from NCDPI Child Nutrition. The numbers are reported in late October, and are ready for distribution in November or early December.
QUESTION: Where do the “State Valid File” numbers originate?
The numbers are reported by your own School District and Charter School! Each LEA and Charter School’s Child Nutrition office sends the official student “Average Daily Membership” number as well as the number of students eligible to receive free and reduced cost lunches to Child Nutrition in Raleigh. The Office of Child Nutrition applies a multiplier/factor (corresponding to E-rate rules) to the raw numbers and a calculates the percentage of the population eligible for free and reduced cost lunches . These numbers are the ones which need to be updated in the EPC portal for each entity in the District or individual charter school.
QUESTION: How do I calculate the Category 2 Budget?
Because USAC has not issued an inflation factor yet, we advise applicants to continue using $156.23 for each student, per school(NOT per district) so as to not go over budget! After multiplying the number of students per school, subtract the previously funded application amounts (pre-discount) for each funding year 2015 through 2018 to give the amount of budget remaining for each building. Non-instructional facilities (NIFs) such as Transportation, District Offices, and Maintenance Garages are generally not eligible for Category 2 funds, except under very limited circumstances. Using the USAC Budget Tool is one way to validate the previous application amounts. LINK: https://sltools.universalservice.org/portal-external/budgetLookup/
QUESTION: I hired a consultant, so can’t I just let the consultant worry about the numbers?
Keep a copy of all your data, even data the consultant prepares the forms. A recent example: a consultant prepared documents for a school. The school did not have copies of the filings nor did anyone know the basics of how calculations were done or when the filing deadlines were. The consultant died unexpectedly, and the BEAR deadline passed, leaving the school without getting their funding. School officials tried unsuccessfully to contact the consultant, but the telephone had been disconnected, and the family had moved. Those records were never recovered, except for the ones in the portal. We filed an appeal to extend the BEAR deadline and the appeal was denied by USAC. Always be involved, even if you hire a great consultant!