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The sole approver for State Education Agency (SEA) technology plans is the U.S. Department of Education. An SEA with an approved plan under the Technology Literacy Challenge (TLCF) initiative or the Enhancing Education Through Technology (EETT) program has an approved plan for purposes of the universal service program. Although these plans cover a period of more than three years, they include provisions for periodic progress evaluations, and USAC will ask the U. S. Department of Education for progress reports under these plans during their third year.
Pursuant to FCC Order 97-157, SEAs are the preferred approvers for K-12 public school plans. A school, school district, or education service agency that has developed a plan approved under a TLCF or EETT initiative has an approved plan for purposes of the Schools and Libraries Program. Many states also have established their own state-wide technology planning initiatives, and schools, school districts, or education service agencies may develop technology plans for state approval by participating in such initiatives, if those initiatives include the criteria and standards outlined in the Technology Planning and Tech Plan Scope and Timeframe pages of the USAC website. School districts that have not developed approved technology plans under one of these national or state initiatives may have their own district-level plans approved by their SEA, following the criteria and standards outlined above in Elements of a Technology Plan and Technology Plan Scope and Timeframe. In the case of a Local Education Agency (LEA), plans that were approved for the U.S. Department of Education's EETT program satisfy the requirements for Schools and Libraries Program technology plans as long as they are accompanied by a current operating budget.
A SEA may delegate its approval authority by designating a third party to establish and operate an independent peer review process on its behalf. In the event of such delegation, the SEA should notify USAC. USAC will certify the alternative approval entity, but the state will retain responsibility for the approvers operating under its jurisdiction.
In FCC Order 97-253, the FCC states that: "the Schools and Libraries Division may review and certify schools' and libraries technology plans when a state agency has indicated it will be unable to review such plans within a reasonable time." If such an event occurs, the SEA will notify USAC, which will consult with the SEA to certify a third party that can establish and operate an independent approval process on behalf of the public schools in the state. Although USAC will certify the alternative approval entity, the state will retain oversight responsibility for this entity, which will be operating under its jurisdiction.
Note: Schools that are subject to a state review process by state or local law may not circumvent the state process by submitting plans directly to USAC (FCC Order 97-420, paragraph 157). In the event that USAC certifies alternative procedures for approval of public school technology plans in a state, these procedures may not be used as an alternative approval process for public schools in any other state, and no USAC certified approval procedure may be used as an appeals mechanism for any school in any state.