Classroom Connectivity was successful and has ended in 2020.
HB 1926 (83rd Legislature) directed the Agency to conduct the Public School Network Capabilities Study. The study revealed that 74% of the campuses were below target Internet connectivity requirements. EducationSuperHighway, a non-profit, analyzed the districts in Texas that had not applied for Category 1 E-Rate funding and estimated it would cost up to $250 million to build or buy the necessary fiber networks to provide high-speed access.
To help districts finance their local funding share, the federal government has established a matching program so if the state of Texas provides funding for the local funding share, the federal government will provide a dollar-for-dollar match. Texas provided $25,000,000, and the federal government provided $25,000,000. This combined $50,000,000 in state and federal funding was then used by school districts to pay for their local funding share.
Once districts paid their local funding share, they drew down an estimated $200,000,000 in additional E-Rate Infrastructure Program federal funds. Thus, the entire $250,000,000 in funding needed to build certain broad band infrastructure - according to the EducationSuperHighway - was provided with little or no cost to the districts.
For applicants who applied for and were approved for the 2017-2020 E-rate Classroom Connectivity (State Match) grant, the last day to expend grant funds was August 17, 2020. These NOGAs are now closed.
For applicants who applied for and were approved for the 2018-2021 E-rate Classroom Connectivity (State Match) grant, the last day to expend grants funds is May 31, 2021. This means if your project was approved by TEA, that funding will expire May 31, 2021 and funds must be drawn down by this date.