Aug. 30, 2007
MOREnet Council Meeting Minutes
Council Member Attendees: Bert Schulte, Chair, Gary Allen, Cheryl Bielema, Margaret Conroy, Rita Gulstad, Debbie Hughes, Glenda Hunt for Annie Busch and Karen Hicklin, Jeremy Kintzel for Robert Stein, Bill Mitchell, Tom Stokes for Dan Ross and Deborah Sutton for Jeanie Gordon.
Alternates Present: Dave Byland, Russell Helm, Glenda Hunt, Barbara Reading, Jim Tom via conference call.
Staff Present: Bill Giddings, MOREnet, Joyce Herzing, MOREnet, Sherry Loyd, MOREnet, Debbie Musselman, MOSL, Debbie Rodman, MOREnet, Greg Silvey, MOREnet
Public Present: Joel Lareau, Ozark Technical College
Chair Bert Schulte called the MOREnet Council meeting to order. Those who were in attendance are listed above.
Minutes of the April 26, 2007 MOREnet Council Meeting – Approval
Chair Schulte asked for amendments to the meeting minutes. Rita Gulstad moved to approve the April 26, 2007 minutes as distributed. Margaret Conroy seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
FY07 Year-End Results/Plant Fund Transfers – Approval
Debbie Rodman reported that the FY07 year ended with a net increase in revenues over expenditures of $1,525,000, which was better than expected. This increase was mostly due to E-rate revenues that staff hadn’t budgeted receiving in FY07.
Conroy questioned why the sponsorship increase of $198,000, the majority of which was in-kind donations, was recorded as both revenue and expense. Rodman replied that they are considered a gift, and therefore, need to be shown as both an expense and revenue. FY07 shows an increase as this is the first year MOREnet has recorded them this way.
Expenses mostly decreased in the telecommunications area due to delays with NGN in FY07.
Two Plant Fund transfers were made totaling $3,927,000. This transfer was more than originally expected and agreed upon in February, 2007.
Conroy asked if some staffing positions would remain on hold. Bill Mitchell explained that all budgeted positions are now filled or posted. Dave Byland shared that every time a vacancy occurs, an investigation is done to determine the need for the position. For the past 3-4 years MOREnet has had around 110 FTE; Mitchell foresees staying close to that number assuming work load and budgets stay about the same.
Chair Schulte reminded the Council that in February approval had been given for the Plant Fund Transfer and that the staff is now asking the Council to reaffirm their approval. Cheryl Bielema moved to endorse the FY07 balance transfers as requested. Gulstad seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
NGN Project Update/Funding Plan – Endorsement
Bill Mitchell reported that staff have completed “the best and final offer” stage of the procurement process for the fiber IRU and are ready to make an award. Staff is also currently reviewing the Optronics RFP responses, which are necessary to use the fiber. It is anticipated that the NGN optical fiber service should be in production by this time next year.
Mitchell reviewed the proposed topology diagram, pointing out the addition of the bi-sector connection from Columbia to the middle of the St. Louis to Springfield connection. This connection is to assure a more reliable network.
Rodman reviewed the funding plan, explaining that the total 5-year cost was originally estimated at $16.36M but after review of bid proposals has increased by $3.113M to $19.473M. The largest cost changes were in the area of one-time expenses and are related to the increased cost of fiber IRUs. The cost split between MOREnet and UM will stay roughly the same with a recurring expense shift to MOREnet and a one-time expense shift to UM.
Of the $1.3M cost increase for MOREnet, the majority is projected to come from the Operating Funds as the increase is related to recurring expenses. Staff is assuming that 50% of the $2.5M increase received for FY08 would support NGN, as well as, the higher than expected transfers into the Plant Fund during the FY07 year end, which together equal $2.4M that will go towards one-time NGN costs.
Gulstad asked if staff felt comfortable with the ability to carry the $1.3M one-time monies forward. Rodman affirmed and added that other one-time purchases could be switched to Plant Fund monies if need be.
Jeremy Kintzel asked that the minutes reflect how great a job the MOREnet staff has done with this large project. There was agreement around the table. Chair Schulte also recognized the good work that has been done to date on the project. Mitchell said that he would pass it on to the staff that has been doing the work.
Gulstad moved to endorse the updated funding plan as requested. Debbie Hughes seconded and it passed unanimously.
FY08 Budget – Endorsement
Rodman reported that thanks to the $2.5M increase from HB3, the FY08 budget looks better than the preliminary estimate. Other factors include an increase in E-rate receipts, as well as, the sponsorship/in-kind donations mentioned above. The State Library has also decided to use REAL reserves to pay new Online Resource expenses which are also reflected in this budget.
Barbara Reading shared that the new resource was Learning Express and that it is an online testing service that allows tests, as well as practice tests, to be taken online at no charge. The State Library, for the last three years, has been helping libraries receive grants to help pay for this service. They have expanded the service enough that between the grant monies and the monies the libraries were paying in their cost share, there was nearly enough coming out of the state to pay for a state wide license. The State Library pursued the option and is now waiting on final signature.
There was some confusion on the wording differences and the comparisons shown in the two budgets reviewed. Mitchell asked that if anyone had any ideas on ways to improve the documentation, to let staff know.
Rodman confirmed that the FY08 budget will be revised once sponsoring entities make final member fee decisions.
Deb Sutton moved to endorse the FY08 budget, understanding that the totals may change with final member fee decisions. Conroy seconded and it passed unanimously.
Kintzel moved to endorse the use of the Plant Fund to support NGN capital purchases up to the current plant reserve balance of $5,427,000. Bielema seconded.
Conroy voiced her discomfort with the possibility of zeroing out the Plant Fund. Rodman explained that there is a transfer of $744,000 projected to be available to transfer into the Plant Fund at the end of FY08 and therefore, staff is only asking to spend what was in the fund at the beginning of the year, not what will be put in during FY08. Sutton added that she approves of the action but wonders why a dollar amount approval is requested at this time. Rodman responded that the decision was made to make the process simpler by not requiring multiple Council approvals. Conroy asked if the Plant Fund accrued interest for MOREnet and Rodman replied that it doesn’t. Gulstad added that she would feel better stating that staff will report to the Council if need goes above $3.1M, which was the anticipated amount Rodman reported would be needed.
After further discussion, Kintzel amended his original motion by moving to endorse the staff’s request to the use of the Plant Funds to support NGN capital purchases up to the current plant reserve balance of $5,427,000 with contingency that further notification to the Council be made if spending exceeds projected amounts. Bielema seconded and it passed unanimously.
Participation Fees for FY08 – Information
Rodman reported that the following assumptions were made: REAL fees to stay the same as last year, MERC fees to change slightly and TNP fees to increase. Staff will begin work with the sponsoring entities soon to finalize the fees.
Good News – Information
Bill Giddings reported that in 2007 MOREnet gained five new members (1 TNP, 2 REAL, 1 MERC , 1 Affiliate) and in 2008 expects to gain eight more (3 TNP, 1 REAL( maybe 2), 3 Affiliate).
Giddings reported that the GALE Discovering Collection is coming back and will hopefully be live on September 17th.
Giddings is working with Curt Fuchs to gain information from the Missouri Virtual Instructional Program to learn if access is from a home, the school or a library. Reading asked Giddings to share the information with her as well so it can be used in the Library’s budget request.
Giddings reported that staff is staring to work on next spring’s competition. The Blue Springs team from this past year will be bringing their robot to MOREnet’s fall conference. Columbia will also have a Lego Robotics student exhibit at the conference.
Military Child Education Coalition Conference:
Giddings reported that the conference took place in Kansas City and MOREnet worked with MAGPI, their counterpart in Pennsylvania to provided Internet2 access and technical assistance for a videoconference between the Westin Crown Center and Dr. Martin Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania. Approximately 700 were in attendance.
Riverbluff Cave and Great Plains Network (GPN):
Giddings reported that there will be a videoconference on November 7th with organizations from seven states: Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma and South Dakota. Coordination is happening with Paleontologist Matt Forir, his assistant, Lisa McCann and author David Harrison, Cave Detectives: Unraveling the Mystery of an Ice Age Cave.
Giddings reported that KOPN recently taped an interview about MOREnet to be aired in the future. It is anticipated that KOPN will contact MOREnet members about their experience with MOREnet.
Internet Safety Night:
Gulstad shared that due to Fayette’s growing interest, they are going to be a participating site in the upcoming Internet Safety Night on October 23rd. Byland said that an announcement should be made within the next few days listing all of the participating sites. He added that this year there are a lot of participants from outside the state. The event is growing at a fast pace and fortunately there are numerous sponsor donations so MOREnet’s out-of-pocket expense should be minimal.
Byland reported that Rebecca Miller answers questions for schools and libraries even if they’re not a MOREnet member. Miller scheduled one first timer informational session for this fall, and now has eight sessions that are full. She also has regional meetings coming up, two of which will be via videoconference this year.
Giddings added that videoconferencing usage continues to grow dramatically, 30 % increase.
Kauffman Foundation Update – Information
Giddings reminded everyone that the grant is to excite and engage students in METS. There have been several meetings and conference calls of the Planning Grant Committee, led by Dr. Terry Stewart.
There are two meetings set:
September 11th Informational Meeting – Dr. Stewart will explain to the Kansas City area representatives about the planning grant and what it means. Internet2 will be there as well to share what technology is possible.
September 27th Expo – An invitation was distributed to Council members. Mitchell encouraged Council members to attend, reminding them of the goal to learn about advanced technologies.
MOREnet has applied to present information about these events at the Internet2 Member meeting in September and at COSN next spring.
CALEA Update - Information
Byland reported that MOREnet originally looked at an open source solution, found it to be acceptable, and then submitted an RFI to learn more. An RFP is currently on the street and is expected back the end of next month. MOREnet doesn’t expect to be compliant by the deadline of October 1st, however, should be by the beginning of the year.
E-conferencing Service Update - Information
Byland reminded everyone that the e-conferencing for-fee service with Centra would be terminated and that all members are aware. Support will be available through January 2008.
Staff is working with UM as they continue to work to fulfill the identified requirements of their parallel project. Staff is also reviewing existing University e-Conferencing product licensing agreements for expansion to other UM entities. As part of the process, staff is seeking an opportunity for members to be able to purchase these services from the UM agreements, on a for-fee, individual opt-in basis.
AUP Review Update
Byland shared that most concerns involve the possible commercial use of the MOREnet network. The incubator environments, research park tenants, and other new activities emerging from the changing environment of our members are the source of pressures to amend the MOREnet AUP. Staff is currently looking at what other state networks have done.
Usually staff is able to answer very easily when contacted by members for AUP issues. However, an increasing number of alternative use issues are appearing. Staff plans to have a document for reactions from each of the sponsoring entities by the first of the year.
Hughes reported that the Jefferson City Public Schools have implemented a new student management system and a library management system. It has been challenging getting them to work together. Also looking at MOSIS Phase 3, which is the way in which they report core data to the state.
Glenda Hunt reported that the Adair County public library is doing well and that they are in the process of hiring staff. They are also hiring 10-15 Truman State work study students.
Russell Helm reported that school has started at University of Central Missouri and it’s an exciting time. He is very interested in MOREnet’s AUP as most campuses are having similar discussions.
Conroy reported that the Secretary of State’s office has requested and received funding for the Missouri Digital Heritage Initiative. She also reported that the state library is working with archives to migrate the Virtual Missouri, an initiative that showcases digitalized collections from libraries and institutions from around the state, into a new website. The library recently learned that the project is supposed to have a curriculum component that they are pretty sure will need to be reported on. The Secretary of State would like have the website designed and implemented with all functionality and databases loaded by January so they are working very hard on that effort.
Sutton announced that DESE has a library media technology consultant position open.
Bielema invited everyone to UMSL on November 1st and 2nd for their 6th annual regional Focus on Teaching and Technology Conference. The conference is in collaboration with St. Louis University, St. Louis Community College and Maryville University. Go to http://www.umsl.edu/services/ctl/fac_programs/teach_with_tech/index.html for more information or to submit a proposal. Jim Tom highly encouraged attendance for the conference.
Tom Stokes reported for Dan Ross that the Office of Administration is currently meeting to figure out the next steps for the State’s next generation network. He also reported that Ross has a trip planned in late November/early December to visit with the contractor’s disaster recovery site in Texas. Ross also has some Missouri Telehealth meetings coming up, in which, there will also be MOREnet staff involved. Their office is busy preparing for the budget process and Ross asked Stokes to remind everyone of the new leadership in the Senate this year and the need for enhanced communications between OA and MOREnet. He asked that if the Council had any thoughts on items that OA should be working with MOREnet on, to let him know.
Debbie Musselman of the state library reported on Real Easy Web, a website template program for people who don’t know HTML. Currently there are 16 public libraries participating. Reading added that this program provides another access point for rural users to access the Online Resources databases.
Byland reported for Kintzel and DHE that Donna Imhoff has transferred to Social Services which leaves a hole in their budget development group. Paul Wagner has joined DHE. He was a Senate Appropriations staff member responsible for higher education and before that worked at DHE, and will be instrumental in the development of the budget request for next year and will probably be the person who will present the DHE budget to the legislature.
- September 21, 2007 – Council agreed to cancel this meeting.
- November 13, 2007
Open Time for the Public to Address the Council
Adjourned at 12:50 p.m.
Respectively Submitted by Sherry Loyd