Ever wondered about that Federal Universal Service charge on your telephone or cell phone bill? What is it and why is it there? Part of the answer has a large impact here at ESSD.
The Universal Service charge is a fee charged to companies that provide interstate and/or international telecommunications services. If this charge appears on your phone bill, part or all of the fee charged to the company is being passed along to you.
The Universal Service fee is used to fund four support programs administered by the Universal ServiceAdministrative Company (USAC) under the direction of the Federal Communications Commission. One program in particular, the Schools and Libraries program, more commonly known as E-Rate, helps make telecommunications and information services more affordable for schools and libraries.
The Excelsior Springs School District participates in the E-Rate program each year to help offset the costs of telephone, cell phone, and data services. For the 2013-14 school year, the district submitted $160,598.40 for E-Rate reimbursement in the form of telecommunication and data services expenses. Because of E-Rate funding, the district's actual out-of-pocket expense was reduced to $59,422.40 or 37% of the actual cost. For the 2014-15 school year, $148,340.88 in expenses are being submitted. If approved, the district's cost will be reduced to $53,402.72 or 36%.
For a long-term view, consider these numbers. From 2011 through the 2014-15 school year, the district has submitted $685,713.29 of expenses. Through E-Rate reimbursements the district's cost was reduced to $342,711.30 for a savings of $343,001.99.
More information about the E-Rate program may be found at http://www.fcc.gov/guides/universal-service-program-schools-and-libraries .