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Rural Education Groups Seek Changes to E-Rate Proposal

By Alyson Klein

Cross-posted from the Politics K-12 blog.

Six education organizations representing rural school superintendents and practitioners are calling the Federal Communications Commission's recently announced plan to overhaul the E-rate program "a disappointment" and are seeking big changes before the Obama administration proceeds further.

The plan, which was introduced earlier this month, falls "far short of expectation and potential," the organizations write in a statement released Monday. The organizations include AASA, the School Superintendents Association; the Association of Educational Service Agencies; the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools; the National Rural Education Association; the National Rural Education Advocacy Coalition; and the Rural School and Community Trust.

Specifically, the groups are unhappy that the plan would allocate funds on a per-pupil basis. This method gets the E-rate further from its mission of distributing funds based on need, they argue. And the groups also worry about a proposal to consider district-level poverty instead of school-level poverty. That would put rural schools located in comparatively wealthy districts at a disadvantage, and could provide a windfall for high-wealth schools in districts with a lot of poverty.

Read the full letter here.

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