Congresswoman Constance Morella is scheduled to attend the July 28 business meeting of the Montgomery County Board of Education at 9:00 p.m. to congratulate school system staff for receiving $1.48 million in approved E-rate (education rate) discounts on telecommunication services for the period of January 1, 1998 through June 30, 1999.
Mrs. Morella, chair of the United States House of Representatives Subcommittee on Technology, was instrumental in bringing legislation through Congress that provides these essential resources for technology related services and products to schools and libraries.
E-rate discounts are provided to schools and libraries as a result of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996. Under the program, K-12 schools or districts apply for approval of discounts ranging from 20 percent to 90 percent for eligible telecommunication services, such as basic telephone services, long distance, and data lines. The number of students eligible for the free and reduced meals program determines discount rates. Montgomery County Public Schools qualified for a 49 percent discount rate on eligible countywide services.
Discounts directly benefit students and staff. E-rate discounts allowed the school system to match state wiring funds for six schools added to the Technology in Maryland Schools Program, to significantly increase the bandwidth capacity or speed of data lines connecting schools to the MCPS wide area network and the Internet, and to upgrade telephone services in more than thirty schools and alternative centers.
The school system has requested more than $1.6 million in discounts for telecommunications services and internal connections for the second application cycle of July 1, 1999 through June 30, 2000.