To get federal funds for future technology-related purchases, districts must first meet a Friday, Aug. 13  deadline to qualify for the Federal Communications Commission’s Emergency Connectivity Fund Program.

The NJSBA is urging its members to meet this deadline so that they can be reimbursed for the technology they will need for their digital instruction programs.

To schedule a consultation to start your district’s application process, email erate@shi.com.

The $7.17 billion ECF, which Congress created as part of the American Rescue Plan, enables districts to buy laptops, tablets and establish Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband connectivity deemed critical during the pandemic. The “eligible equipment” allowance is for up to $400 per device and up to $250 for hotspots to close the nationwide homework gap associated with remote learning.

Funding requests can be made for eligible services and equipment purchases between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022.

The New Jersey School Boards Association has partnered with SHI of Somerset, N.J., as part of its cooperative pricing system to help public school districts and member charter schools buy discounted school technology, COVID-19 related goods and services, and low-cost resources. SHI will be allowing applicants to use the SPI invoicing method, in which case SHI will submit invoices directly for the cost of eligible goods and services.

The cooperative pricing system, supported by the New Jersey Department of Education and developed in cooperation with the N.J. Department of Community Affairs, enables districts across New Jersey to save money on items necessary to create 21st Century Classrooms.

SHI can assist NJSBA member districts to identify and select eligible products and services that meet their academic goals and ensure that their investments are efficient, secure and cost-effective.

For questions or more information, email erate@shi.com.

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