Iowa School Microsoft Settlement

Frequently Asked Questions


Click on the question below to see the corresponding answer, or scroll down to see all questions and answers. If your question is not answered below or if additional information is needed, contact the Claims Administrator by phone at 1-866-591-7245 or submit an email inquiry to ClaimsAdmin@IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com
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  PROGRAM:
 
  • Is this a cash program?
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  • How much money is going to Iowa public schools through the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement?
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  • Are there any program restrictions?
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  • Is there a state evaluation program and if so, do all schools have to participate?
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  • Will the evaluation program cost my school anything?
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  • When will my district receive a login ID and password for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement website?
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      ELIGIBILITY:
     
  • What schools are eligible?
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  • Are non-public schools eligible?
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  • What do I do if my school is eligible but is not on the list?
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      PRE-APPLICATION LETTER OF INTENT:
     
  • What is the purpose of the Letter of Intent?
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  • Do all districts need to submit an electronic Letter of Intent for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement?
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  • What is the deadline for submitting the Letter of Intent?
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      APPLICATION:
     
  • Does each school need to submit an application for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement?
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  • Why does the district have to apply when it is only for specific schools?
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  • My district is small; may we apply for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement as a consortium?
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  • When will applications be accepted?
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  • When is the application deadline for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement?
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  • May my district have a deadline extension for submitting our application?
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  • How does my school submit an application for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement?
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  • May I submit a hardcopy application instead of an electronic application?
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  • What type of information must be provided in the application?
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  • Will my district be bound to its submitted budget plan?
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  • Where do I get an application addendum?
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  • How do I file an application addendum?

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  • How will I be notified that our application addendum has been approved?
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  • If the application is submitted electronically, how do we submit the signatures of the Board President, Superintendent, Building Principal(s), and IT director?
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  • How do I schedule an application interview?
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  • Who is required to participate in the application interviews?
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  • What questions will be asked at the interview?
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  • When will we know if our application has been approved?
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      VOUCHERS:
     
  • How will vouchers be distributed?
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  • When will my district receive its vouchers?
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  • When do purchases need to be made to be eligible for reimbursement from the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement?
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      PRODUCT AND SERVICE ELIGIBILITY:
     
  • What types of products may be reimbursed using the General Purpose Voucher?
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  • What types of products may be reimbursed using the Software Voucher?
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  • What if I want to purchase a product that does not appear on the eligible or ineligible product lists?
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  • Do we have to purchase a certain brand of products? Do we have to purchase PC products?
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  • Can vouchers be used for professional development for teachers and staff?
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  • Can we use vouchers for the payment of our IT staff members?
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  • Is refurbished hardware eligible for reimbursement?
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  • Is purchasing equipment the only option, or can the vouchers also be used to lease equipment?
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      VOUCHER REDEMPTION:
     
  • Do I have to make all of my purchases at the same time and submit on one voucher?
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  • What if we purchase a product that is ineligible and include it on our reimbursement request? Will our whole transaction be denied?
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  • How do I redeem my district’s vouchers?
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  • How do we submit for reimbursement of IT Support Services and Professional Development Services performed by our own staff since we will not have a vendor receipt?

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    Q.  Is this a cash program? (Top)
    A.  No, this is a voucher program. Vouchers will be distributed by the Claims Administrator to approved applicant districts for the benefit of eligible schools. Allowable products or services must be purchased using existing funding, and then the vouchers for those purchases may be redeemed for cash through the Claims Administrator.
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    Q.  What schools are eligible? (Top)
    A.  An “eligible school” is a public elementary, middle or high school building in Iowa reporting a qualifying free and reduced lunch eligible student count in the Basic Educational Data System (BEDS) for fall 2007-2008, as certified by the Iowa Department of Education. For elementary and middle school buildings, the percentage of students reported in the free and reduced lunch count must be 23.8% or above. For high school buildings, the percentage of students reported in the free and reduced lunch count must be 18.9% or above. The list of eligible schools will be posted on the Department of Education website, http://www.iowa.gov/educate/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1571&Itemid=1.
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    Q.  Does each school need to submit an application for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement? (Top)
    A.  No. Each district will apply for its eligible schools. Each district is required to distribute the award to eligible schools only. If buildings are doing different activities, multiple applications will be required.
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    Q.  How will vouchers be distributed? (Top)
    A. 

    Vouchers will be distributed by the Claims Administrator to approved applicant districts for the benefit of eligible schools. Each district is required to distribute the award only to eligible schools.

    Awards will be distributed in the form of vouchers. Fifty percent of the award will be in the form of General Purpose Vouchers and fifty percent will be in the form of Software Vouchers.

    General Purpose Vouchers may be used for reimbursement of purchases of specific hardware, non-custom software for that hardware, IT support services, and professional development services.

    Each school may spend up to ten percent of the General Purpose Voucher award value on IT support services.

    Each school is required to spend thirty percent of the General Purpose Voucher award value on professional development services (i.e., the equivalent of fifteen percent of the total award value). Districts may seek a waiver from the Professional Development Services percentage requirement if they are able to provide evidence that they have allocated funds to support professional development activities associated with this application. To request a waiver, contact John O'Connell from the Iowa Department of Education by email at john.oconnell@mchsi.com.

    Software Vouchers may be used for reimbursement of purchases of software published or sold by any software provider including operating system software, word processing software, spreadsheet software, presentation software, desktop relational database software, web-authoring software, productivity suite software, and encyclopedia software.

    A list of some of the eligible expenditures can be obtained online at http://IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com. Click on the Product Eligibility Information link on the left side of the page. If you are uncertain whether an item you wish to purchase is considered an eligible expenditure, you may also call the Claims Administrator at 1-866-591-7245 or submit an email inquiry to ClaimsAdmin@IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com.

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    Q.  What types of products may be reimbursed using the General Purpose Voucher? (Top)
    A.  A General Purpose Voucher may be redeemed for any qualifying hardware, any non-custom software, Professional Development Services, and IT Support Services used in connection with the hardware or software acquired through this program.

    A list of the some of the eligible expenditures can be obtained online at
    http://IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com. Click on the Product Eligibility Information link on the left side of the page. If you are uncertain whether an item you wish to purchase is considered an eligible expenditure, you may also call the Claims Administrator at 1-866-591-7245 or submit an email inquiry to ClaimsAdmin@IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com.
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    Q.  Do I have to make all of my purchases at the same time and submit on one voucher? (Top)
    A.  No. Each time you redeem a voucher, a check will be sent to your district for the benefit of the designated school in the amount of your eligible purchases up to the amount of your voucher within approximately 30 days of submitting your redemption, provided the school district has submitted the required documentation. If you purchase eligible products that total less than the amount of your vouchers, you will receive a check in the amount of your eligible purchases and a new Balance Statement and Voucher Redemption Form for the balance.

    However, because of the effort involved in filing for redemption and the processing time required, it may be more convenient for you to have enough purchases to use a significant portion of the voucher before you send it in.
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    Q.  What is the purpose of the Letter of Intent? (Top)
    A.  The Letter of Intent will provide program administrators including the Iowa Department of Education, Claims Administrator and Settlement Parties information that will be used for planning purposes.
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    Q.  How much money is going to Iowa public schools through the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement? (Top)
    A. 

    Approximately $60 million is being distributed to eligible Iowa public schools through the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement.

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    Q.  Why does the district have to apply when it is only for specific schools? (Top)
    A.  According to the Settlement Agreement, “School districts in which potentially Eligible Schools are located will be required to apply on behalf of such potentially Eligible Schools for the General Purpose Vouchers and Software Vouchers made available in this program.”
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    Q.  What types of products may be reimbursed using the Software Voucher? (Top)
    A.  Software Vouchers may be redeemed for current or future software products including operating system software, word processing software, spreadsheet software, presentation software, desktop relational database software, web-authoring software, productivity suite software, encyclopedia software, and server software including client access licenses.

    A list of the some of the eligible expenditures can be obtained online at
    http://IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com. Click on the Product Eligibility Information link on the left side of the page. If you are uncertain whether an item you wish to purchase is considered an eligible expenditure, you may also call the Claims Administrator at 1-866-591-7245 or submit an email inquiry to ClaimsAdmin@IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com.
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    Q.  What if we purchase a product that is ineligible and include it on our reimbursement request? Will our whole transaction be denied? (Top)
    A.  If an ineligible product or service is submitted for reimbursement, the district contact will be notified by the Claims Administrator. Eligible products and services will be reimbursed, only the ineligible product(s) will be denied and excluded from the reimbursement check.
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    Q.  Do all districts need to submit an electronic Letter of Intent for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement? (Top)
    A.  Although completion of the Letter of Intent is not required, participation is highly encouraged.
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    Q.  Are non-public schools eligible? (Top)
    A.  No. The Settlement Agreement specifies that an “eligible school” is an Iowa public elementary, middle or high school.
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    Q.  When will my district receive its vouchers? (Top)
    A.  Initial vouchers will be distributed to approved applicant districts on a rolling basis beginning on June 30, 2010. The award notification packets will be mailed to the named contact identified in your program application in specially marked envelopes. Keep your program documentation in a secure location. An original Iowa School Microsoft Settlement Voucher Redemption Form must be submitted along with the appropriate documentation of eligible purchases for reimbursement to occur.
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    Q.  Are there any program restrictions? (Top)
    A.  There are some basic requirements for this voucher program. The program is to supplement and not supplant existing district programs. Purchases under this program must be above the district’s expenditure for hardware, IT support services, professional development services, and software.

    Vouchers will be issued in two types: General Purpose Vouchers and Software Vouchers. Eligible schools must adhere to the fifty percent split between general purpose/hardware purchases and fifty percent for software purchases. In addition, thirty percent of the General Purpose Voucher must be used for professional development services, and up to ten percent of the General Purpose Voucher may be used for IT support services.

    Schools must also adhere to the allocation amount for each eligible school based on free and reduced price lunch counts. Vouchers are non-transferable between schools or districts.

    Finally, any products purchased must be on the approved building application or addendum, and must be on the eligible products list posted online at
    http://IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com. If you are uncertain whether an item you wish to purchase is considered an eligible expenditure, call the Claims Administrator at 1-866-591-7245 or submit an email inquiry to ClaimsAdmin@IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com..
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    Q.  What do I do if my school is eligible but is not on the list? (Top)
    A.  Contact John O’Connell immediately at john.oconnell@mchsi.com to seek a review of your school’s eligibility.
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    Q.  When do purchases need to be made to be eligible for reimbursement from the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement? (Top)
    A. 

    Vouchers must be redeemed for eligible products purchased between August 17, 2009 and June 30, 2014.

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    Q.  What is the deadline for submitting the Letter of Intent? (Top)
    A. 

    The Letter of Intent may be submitted electronically at http://www.edinfo.state.ia.us between September 20, 2008 and October 1, 2008.

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    Q.  My district is small; may we apply for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement as a consortium? (Top)
    A.  Yes. Smaller districts that are planning to use a common professional development provider in their career development plans are encouraged to belong to a consortium and apply to the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement as a consortium. There is a place to specify the consortium name, if applicable, on the electronic application.
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    Q.  What if I want to purchase a product that does not appear on the eligible or ineligible product lists? (Top)
    A.  If you do not see a particular product that you are interested in on either the eligible or ineligible product lists online at http://IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com, or if there is any ambiguity about the eligibility of a product or service the district would like to purchase, contact the Claims Administrator with the product information by calling 1-866-591-7245 or submit an email inquiry to ClaimsAdmin@IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com. Do NOT guess or assume a product or service is eligible as this exposes the district to financial liability.

    The Claims Administrator will provide an eligibility determination of the requested product or service along with a confirmation number that is unique to the specific inquiry. Confirmation numbers are intended to be a tool to encourage school districts to understand the eligibility of technology products and services prior to making purchases.
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    Q.  How do I redeem my district’s vouchers? (Top)
    A. 

    To redeem your vouchers:

    1.  Detach and complete the Voucher Redemption Form for the specific eligible school. Indicate the dollar amount claimed for each of the vouchers listed for that school. Vouchers may only be redeemed for eligible products purchased between August 17, 2009 and June 30, 2014. Vouchers cannot be transferred to any person or entity and cannot be transferred between schools or districts.

    2.  Enclose a photocopy of the itemized receipt or vendor invoice for the products you purchased and circle the items for which you would like to redeem the vouchers.

    3.  Mail to: Claims Administrator, Iowa School Microsoft Settlement, P.O. Box 195, Minneapolis, MN 55440-0195. Forms must be signed by the district Superintendent and Business Manager and postmarked on or before June 30, 2014.

    Note that an original Voucher Redemption Form must be signed and submitted for reimbursement to occur.

    The Claims Administrator will send a reimbursement check to your district for the benefit of the designated school in the amount of eligible purchases up to the amount of the voucher within approximately 30 days of redemption submission. If you purchase eligible products that total less than the amount of your vouchers, you will receive a check in the amount of the eligible purchases and a new Balance Statement and Voucher Redemption Form to redeem the remaining balance. Balance Statements for schools in your district are also accessible online at http://www.iowaschoolmicrosoftsettlement.com/. 

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    Q.  When will applications be accepted? (Top)
    A. 

    Applications are no longer being accepted. Application information was distributed to districts with eligible schools in spring 2009. Electronic applications were accepted from April 15, 2009 through May 15, 2009 on the Iowa Department of Education website at http://www.iowa.gov/educate/.

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    Q.  Is there a state evaluation program and if so, do all schools have to participate? (Top)
    A.  Yes, there is a state evaluation program and all participating schools will be part of the statewide evaluation. This evaluation will be web-based with participating teachers/administrators submitting answers to questions monthly. There will be a secure login and no more than ten questions. The school will submit a list of participating teachers/administrators and folder numbers to the external evaluator. The evaluator will create accounts for these participants who will use their folder number as their user identification as well as a password that they create. School Administrators will be able to monitor participation of teachers/administrators but not able to see their specific answers.
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    Q.  Do we have to purchase a certain brand of products? Do we have to purchase PC products? (Top)
    A.  No. The program is intended to be platform neutral. The General Purpose Vouchers and Software Vouchers distributed in the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement may be used for any platform that the school district chooses.
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    Q.  How do we submit for reimbursement of IT Support Services and Professional Development Services performed by our own staff since we will not have a vendor receipt?(Top)
    A. 

    The Claims Administrator will accept a spreadsheet, worksheet or internal service order that shows:

    IT Support Services: Name of the products procured through this Settlement that were being installed and/or maintained, number of hours spent on the installation and/or maintenance, hourly rate, and date of installation and/or maintenance.

    PD Services: Name and description of the PD event, hourly rate, number of hours spent, date of the PD event.

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    Q.  Will the evaluation program cost my school anything? (Top)
    A.  The external evaluation cost for each eligible school will be automatically subtracted from the school General Purpose Voucher allocation at the rate of fifty-one cents per year per student. The number of students used to determine the cost for each school is based on the same number of students used in determining the allocation for the school building. This results in a total cost of $2.04 per student for all four years of the first distribution. There will be no further external evaluation costs unless the building or district chooses to do more than what is required.
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    Q.  When is the application deadline for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement? (Top)
    A. 

    The deadline for submitting an Iowa School Microsoft Settlement application was May 15, 2009. The Claims Administrator and Iowa Department of Education will contact all eligible districts to follow-up in the event applications are not submitted.

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    Q.  Can vouchers be used for professional development for teachers and staff? (Top)
    A.  Each school is required to spend thirty percent of the General Purpose Voucher award value on Professional Development Services related to purchases made with Iowa School Microsoft Settlement vouchers (i.e., the equivalent of fifteen percent of the total award value). The cost of substitute teachers is excluded.

    Districts may seek a waiver from the Professional Development Services percentage requirement if they are able to provide evidence that they have allocated funds to support professional development activities associated with this application. To request a waiver, contact John O'Connell from the Iowa Department of Education by email at john.oconnell@mchsi.com.
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    Q.  May my district have a deadline extension for submitting our application? (Top)
    A.  Districts may request up to two (2) 180-day extensions to the deadline for submitting applications. The second 180-day extension ended on May 11, 2010.
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    Q.  Can we use vouchers for the payment of our IT staff members? (Top)
    A. 

    Up to ten percent of the General Purpose Voucher value may be used for payment of IT staff members for the time that they spend on maintenance of hardware procured through the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement and the installation and maintenance of software procured through this Program so long as this would supplement, and not supplant, funding that would have been available in the absence of the Settlement.

    Example:

    A district has three eligible schools that received vouchers through the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement. Each school received a total award of $5,000 comprised of a General Purpose Voucher for $2,500 and a Software Voucher for $2,500. Each school may be reimbursed for up to ten percent of its General Purpose Voucher value for eligible IT support services, therefore in this example a maximum of $250 per school may be reimbursed for IT support services.

    An employee in the IT department spends 20% of his/her time over a two-month period installing and maintaining newly procured software purchased via Iowa School Microsoft Settlement Software Vouchers in two of the three eligible schools. The corresponding 20% of his/her salary is considered an eligible expenditure for IT Support Services. This time is over and above his/her current contract time.

    Assuming all required documentation is submitted to the Claims Administrator for voucher redemption processing, reimbursement will be processed for the 20% salary up to a maximum of $250 at each of the two eligible schools where the software was installed. The maximum reimbursement for the IT support services in this example is $500.

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    Q.  When will my district receive a login ID and password for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement website?(Top)
    A. 

    Website user names and passwords will be sent to approved applicant districts at the time vouchers are issued.

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    Q.  How does my school submit an application for the Iowa School Microsoft Settlement? (Top)
    A.  Applications are no longer being accepted. Application information was distributed to districts with eligible schools in spring 2009. Applications were submitted electronically from April 15, 2009 through May 15, 2009 on the Iowa Department of Education website at http://www.iowa.gov/educate/.
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    Q.  Is refurbished hardware eligible for reimbursement?(Top)
    A.  Refurbished hardware sold by an established retail seller would be considered eligible for reimbursement, provided it is new and unused (e.g., open box or prior year model). Refurbished hardware that has been previously used is not eligible for reimbursement.
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    Q.  May I submit a hardcopy application instead of an electronic application? (Top)
    A.  Applications are no longer being accepted. Application information was distributed to districts with eligible schools in spring 2009. Applications were submitted electronically from April 15, 2009 through May 15, 2009 on the Iowa Department of Education website at http://www.edinfo.state.ia.us.
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    Q.  Is purchasing equipment the only option, or can the vouchers also be used to lease equipment?(Top)
    A.  General Purpose Vouchers may be used to purchase or lease eligible equipment.
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    Q.  What type of information must be provided in the application? (Top)
    A.  The Iowa School Microsoft Settlement application is comprised of four parts.
    • Part One contains a short series of questions for which the applicant describes the proposed strategies, implementation and internal evaluation.
    • Part Two is a detailed budget where the applicant itemizes the total cost of the proposal, including in-kind costs.
    • Part Three contains program statements of assurance which must be agreed to by the applicant district. The statements of assurance must be signed by the Board President, Superintendent, Building Principal(s), and IT director.
    • Part Four is a follow up interview with the Iowa Department of Education that will occur only if further clarification is required after the electronic application has been submitted.
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    Q.  Will my district be bound to its submitted budget plan? (Top)
    A.  Yes, however we recognize that technology will continue to change and that your district's technology needs will change for that and other reasons. As your needs change, you may submit an application addendum to the Iowa Microsoft Coordinator for review and approval. It is the district's responsibility to ensure that all items are referenced and approved in the building's application or addendum, and that all items are eligible for reimbursement prior to making purchases. If you are uncertain whether an item you wish to purchase is considered an eligible expenditure, call the Claims Administrator at 1-866-591-7245 or submit an email inquiry to ClaimsAdmin@IowaSchoolMicrosoftSettlement.com.
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    Q.  Where do I get an application addendum? (Top)
    A.  The parties to the settlement have approved a specific time frame for districts to modify their applications and file addendums for the Iowa Microsoft School Settlement. This timeframe will be open each year from August 1, to October 31, until the end of the project. To file an addendum within this timeframe please use the following information: Contact John O'Connell at the Iowa Department of Education by email at john.oconnell@mchsi.com.
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    Q. 

    How do I file an application addendum?

    (Top)
    A.  Contact John O'Connell at the Iowa Department of Education by email at john.oconnell@mchsi.com.
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    Q.  How will I be notified that our application addendum has been approved? (Top)
    A.  When the application addendum is submitted, the email address of a contact person must be provided. Upon approval of the application addendum, a notification email will be generated.
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    Q.  If the application is submitted electronically, how do we submit the signatures of the Board President, Superintendent, Building Principal(s), and IT director? (Top)
    A.  On the electronic application include the names of the individuals who will sign to acknowledge the program statements of assurance. Once the electronic application has been submitted, send the hard copy of Part Three with wet signatures to:

    John O’Connell
    MS Settlement
    Grimes State Office Building
    400 E 14th Street
    Des Moines, IA 50319-0146
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    Q.  How do I schedule an application interview? (Top)
    A.  Upon successful submission of an electronic application, applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview if required.
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    Q.  Who is required to participate in the application interviews? (Top)
    A.  Interviews are not required for all applicants; districts will be contacted to schedule an interview only if further clarification is required. Interviews will be conducted by the Iowa Department of Education during an on site ICN/IP video conference session. The interview group will consist of school staff, principals, IT staff, parents and student representatives.
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    Q.  When will we know if our application has been approved? (Top)
    A.  Award notification packets will be mailed to school district superintendents in specially marked envelopes upon application approval on a rolling basis beginning on June 30, 2010.
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    Q.  What questions will be asked at the interview? (Top)
    A.  Information regarding the interview is available on the Iowa Department of Education website at http://www.iowa.gov/educate/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1571&Itemid=1.