A Senate committee has approved a bill addressing financial and administrative issues in the $2.25 billion federal E-Rate program, which supports telecommunications services in schools.
The Senate Science and Transportation Committee on June 28 approved by a 15-7 vote a comprehensive telecommunications bill that includes the E-rate provision. The bill would shore up funding for the E-rate program by allowing the Federal Communication Commission to assess fees on a broader range of telecommunications services than it currently can. The measure would also make permanent the program’s temporary exemption from the federal Anti-Deficiency Act, which bars the FCC from promising to distribute E-rate money to schools before the revenues have been collected.
The House has passed its own telecommunications bill that makes no change to the E-rate program.
A version of this article appeared in the July 12, 2006 edition of Education Week