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NEWS RELEASES 2005-06 :: JUNE 21, 2006


North Carolina's E-rate efforts have received a boost with the appointment of Benny Hendrix, a technical specialist in the Department of Public Instruction's Instructional Technology division, to lead this work. State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee and State Superintendent June Atkinson made this appointment recently to ensure that North Carolina is leveraging this federal resource.

Hendrix is working on E-rate issues "with the goal in mind of helping local school districts leverage E-rate benefits to deliver the most return possible for local schools," said State Superintendent June Atkinson.

"Our goal is to give local school districts any support, encouragement and technical help that we can so that they can make E-rate work more efficiently for their schools," said State Board Chairman Howard Lee. "The E-rate team under Mr. Hendrix's leadership provides expertise to assist local districts in this effort."

The E-rate efforts include the work of several employees, including a financial specialist, six instructional technology field support employees, a technology specialist and a support person.

Hendrix has a strong background in instructional and school leadership. He first came to the Department of Public Instruction in 1995 as one of the first four instructional technology consultants in the agency. Since that time, he has served as director of the Networking Technologies division, a position from which he focused the division priorities on the educational applications of network infrastructure and telecommunications, and as an instructional technology statewide consultant providing overall management and leadership in the infrastructure, technical and distance learning delivery systems for public schools.

A graduate of Western Carolina University with a master's degree in educational supervision and instructional technology, Hendrix began his career as a mathematics and technology teacher in Henderson County where he also served as director of technology.

The E-rate program is administered by the Schools and Libraries Division of the Universal Service Administrative Company. The program was set up in 1997 when the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Universal Service Order implementing the Telecommunications Act of 1996. The Order was designed to ensure that all eligible schools and libraries have affordable access to modern telecommunications and information services. Up to $2.25 billion annually is available to provide these schools and libraries with discounts under the E-rate program for authorized services. North Carolina has received approximately $324 million in E-rate funding since 1998.

E-rate provides discounts of 20 to 90 percent for eligible telecommunications services, depending on economic need and location (urban or rural). The discount level is based on the percentage of students eligible for participation in the National School Lunch Program or other federally approved alternative mechanisms.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 126 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.

For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.