In the first round of the Connections for Classrooms grant program in 2014, 146 LEAs applied for more than $198 million in network infrastructure needs. However, the grant program was only able to award $37 million to 104 LEAs. As a result of the significant remaining infrastructure needs, Governor Deal proposed and the General Assembly approved a budget that included an additional $30 million appropriation to the One Georgia Authority for additional investments in school network infrastructure. These funds were used for two additional rounds of awards in 2015.
Round 3 awards have been announced. Click here to view awards.
Round 2 and 3: Focused on E-rate Local Match Funding
Instead of directly funding infrastructure needs, these funds were devoted to ensuring districts maximize federal infrastructure funds through the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) E-rate Program, which provides discounted rates for school internet access and telecommunication needs. In 2014, the FCC infused $2 billion in additional funds to focus on Category 2 services, which align with CFC Tiers 2 and 3, making federal funds available to more districts than in the past. LEAs that receive Category 2 E-rate funds must fund a “local match” of the cost before being able to expend federal E-rate funds, which creates a barrier for many districts. As such, the goal of CFC Rounds 2 and 3 was to fund the “local match” of approved Category 2 equipment and services.
Round 2 Information
Round 2 fully funded the “local match” for all LEAs that applied for 2014 grants but still had unfunded school-level infrastructure needs (134 districts and 2 state charter schools). Gov. Nathan Deal announced Round 2 grant awards on May 5, 2015.
Only Round 1 applicants with unfunded Tier 2 & 3 requests were eligible.
All applicants received local E-rate match of unfunded Tier 2 & 3 requests only up to maximum E-rate local match.
Funds may only be used for E-rate Category 2 items in FY15 and/or FY16 E-rate Funding Years or for previous years if the LEA has a previous Priority 2 E-rate funding commitment for which it has not been able to provide its local match and the equipment or services align with the current Category 2.
No additional application was required.
Round 2 Timeline
GaDOE E-Rate Conference Presentation
Classic Center, Athens, GA
May 5, 2015
Round 2 Grant Award Press Release
Round 2 Grantee Notice of Intent Due
*Round 2 awardees should follow Notice of Intent guidelines found in Section 3.2 of the Grant Overview and Procedures document below.
|Round 2 Document||Explanation|
|Grant Overview & Procedures Document||
Detailed information on the grant program awards, administration, and reimbursement.
Released May 5, 2015
|Round 2 FAQs||
Frequently asked questions and answers on the Round 2 grant program.
Released May 5, 2015
List of all LEAs receiving Round 2 grant awards as well as amount awarded and other relevant information used to determine the grant award.
Released: May 5, 2015, Revised May 22, 2015
Round 3 Information
The application window for Round 3 of the Connections for Classrooms grant program was held from July to October 2015. This round of funding originally awarded $8.2 million to assist Local Education Agencies (LEAs) around the state with their local match for Category 2 E-rate funding. As a result of an additional appropriation of funds during the 2016 legislative session, on May 3, 2016, GOSA was able to award an additional $6.9 million to Round 3 applicants to fully fund applications.
The grant program funded E-rate local match funding to LEAs that either did not apply in Round 1 or that received Round 1 and 2 funds but had remaining Category 2 E-rate funding eligibility (up to the maximum E-rate Category 2 funding).
Funding must be used to cover the local E-rate match.
Scoring was based on educational rubric similar to the one used for the 2014 grants. No technical rubric was used to evaluate applications.
Grant application information, rubrics, and guidelines were released on July 15, 2015.
Award announcements were originally made in January 2016 and then amended due to additional funding in May 2016.
Independent reviewers with digital learning expertise scored applications based upon a scoring rubric out of 50 possible points that was released when the grant competition opened. Each application received two scores that were averaged together. Any review that resulted in more than a ten-point spread between reviewers triggered a third review; that third score was averaged with the other two scores. LEAs were then ranked by total score.
Round 3 Timeline
May 26, 2016
Round 3 Grantee Notice of Intent Due
*Round 3 awardees should follow Notice of Intent guidelines found in Section 4.1 (page 25) of the Grant Overview and Procedures document below.
|Round 3 Document||Explanation|
|Grant Guidelines & Procedures Document||
Detailed information on the grant program application, scoring, administration, and reimbursement. The Appendix includes the rubric that will be used to score applications.
Released July 15, 2015. Amended May 2, 2016 to reflect the allowance of FY17 E-rate applications for reimbursement after additional funds were announced to Round 3 applicants on May 9, 2016.
|Grant Application Planning Document||This document walks applicants through the online application step by step and allows them to fill it out in a Word document before submitting it online.
Released July 15, 2015
|Round 3 FAQs||Frequently asked questions and answers on the Round 2 grant program.
Released July 15, 2015
List of Round 3 grant awards by LEA.
Original Release: January 15, 2016
Additional Funds Release: May 9, 2016