WASHINGTON — Congress should tighten the rules for the waste-riddled E-rate
program, which sends technology subsidies to schools and libraries, rather than
end the program, a school official told Congress on Thursday.
The testimony by Arlene Ackerman, San Francisco's school superintendent, carries
weight because her suspicions about requests for nearly $50 million in federal
E-rate funds triggered city and federal investigations.
"The program certainly needs to be reformed," Ackerman said. "But it's a good
program, and where some see the glass half-empty, I see it as half-full."
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), who presided at the hearing, responded, "We want to
make sure the glass doesn't have a hole drilled into the bottom" by cheats and
The House subcommittee exploring the San Francisco scandal will turn its
attention now to other school districts across the country, including
Atlanta's. The panel asked Atlanta Public Schools and its vendors to produce
documents regarding $60 million in E-rate grants after The Atlanta
Journal-Constitution reported that Atlanta routinely paid too much for E-rate
equipment and spent millions on gear it didn't need.