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10. Identify discounts; don’t let others take your share.

There are a number of state and federal programs that can give school districts relief from high utility bills. If your school district qualifies for these programs, but doesn’t apply, others will get your share.

The State Power Program, an energy program begun in September 1999 by the Texas General Land Office (GLO), can save participating districts 4 to 5 percent on their utility bills, if their current utility provider is also a participant in the state program.

During the 1999 Legislature, Senate Bill 7 authorized the Commissioner of the GLO, under Chapter 35 of the Texas Utilities Code, to negotiate and execute contracts for the conversion of royalties taken in-kind to other forms of energy. These other forms include electricity for sale to public sector retail customers, including public school districts, state institutions of higher education, state agencies and political subdivisions of the state.

Districts are not charged to participate in the program and they are able to keep their present utility provider and keep the same services they currently use.

The federal Universal Service Fund for Schools and Libraries, more commonly referred to as E-Rate, provides discounts on telecommunications services to schools and libraries. Discounted services can include local telephone service, high-speed data communications lines, Internet access and internal connections. The Schools and Libraries Division (SLD) of the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers E-Rate with oversight from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Discounts range from 20 to 90 percent on eligible services. The discounts are based on the number of students eligible for the federal school lunch program. To be eligible to participate in the E-Rate program, schools must have an approved technology plan. The Texas Education Agency is the official approving-agency for public schools in Texas.

Additional Resources:

Below is a list of additional resources you may find helpful. Information in the documents and URLs listed below are not necessarily endorsed by this agency, only provided as a resource.

State Power Program
(General Land Office)
To receive an application and more information on the State Power Program.
Toll-free phone number: 1-800-998-4456

Universal Service Administrative Company Schools and Libraries Division