Feb. 19, 2008
MOREnet Council Meeting Minutes
Members present: Margaret Conroy, Chair, Gary Allen, Russell Brock, Rita Gulstad, Karen Hicklin, Debbie Hughes, Glenda Hunt, Jeremy Kintzel for Robert Stein, Bill Mitchell, Bert Schulte, Tom Stokes for Dan Ross
Alternates present: Dave Byland, David Doennig, Barbara Reading, Deborah Sutton
Staff present: Chip Byers, MOREnet, Bill Giddings, MOREnet, Joyce Herzing, MOREnet, Sherry Loyd, MOREnet, Debbie Rodman, MOREnet, Greg Silvey, MOREnet
Public present: Joel Lareau, Ozark Technical Community College
Chair Margaret Conroy called the MOREnet Council meeting to order. Those who were in attendance are listed above.
Due to the number of new members and alternates attending this meeting, Chair Conroy reminded everyone that alternates do not vote; however, everyone is encouraged to voice their comments and questions.
Minutes of the November 13, 2007, MOREnet Council Meeting – Approval
Chair Conroy asked for amendments to the meeting minutes. Bert Schulte moved to approve the November 13, 2007 minutes as distributed. Rita Gulstad seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
CY08-10 MOREnet Strategic Plan – Endorsement
Byland reported that the CY08-10 strategic plan provided in the meeting packet was the result of staff reviewing MOREnet’s vision, mission, guiding principles and long-term perspectives during the October – December 2007 timeframe. In addition to management and staff, several MOREnet members and key stakeholders were involved. Staff is currently developing actions and projects to be completed in CY08 as well as additional identification of actions which need to occur in CY09-10. In the next two months staff will be developing measurements of performance/success to help gage progress in attaining the defined goals and objectives over the next three years.
Russell Brock asked if specific action steps will be defined to gage goals so that progress can be reported back to members. Byland responded that there would. Glenda Hunt questioned the use of the word “right” in reference to right set of services on page 3, 2. Services. Byland replied that staff was at a loss for a better descriptive word. He also added that good communications will have to occur in order for the services to be right. Barbara Reading questioned the Core Values being employee driven versus organization/member driven. Gulstad added that a principle should be included for keeping costs down. Byland shared that principles are viewed within MOREnet as statements that are what our employees do day-to-day, in all they do. Bill Mitchell added that core values are the values that MOREnet, as an organization, focuses on our employees. Gulstad suggested changing the strategic plan titles to make it better understood as to what group is being talked about; employees versus members. It was also decided to add a cost statement under Excellence on page 2. Karen Hicklin also suggested that grammar consistency be checked.
Chair Conroy asked that MOREnet staff make the corrections noted above for the next Council meeting. In addition, she asked for an update on the measureable activities and asked that a timetable be shared showing when progress will be measured annually.
Mitchell asked if the goal statements and activities are the things that MOREnet should be focusing their time on. By lack of response, Chair Conroy assumed they were.
Subject to the modifications listed above, Karen Hicklin moved to endorse the CY08-10 Strategic Plan. Jeremy Kintzel seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Reserve & Fund Balance Use Policies – Information
Greg Silvey reviewed the current reserve and fund use policies. Kintzel questioned the restriction under the Plant Fund (PF) Use Policy stating that “MOREnet would work with the University of Missouri to move these funds to operational areas”. Debbie Rodman explained that would occur only after Council approval and that it was referenced as a worst-case scenario. She added that if MOREnet were to be shut down, all reserves would be on the table.
FY08 Mid-Year Budget Reprojection – Endorsement
Rodman reviewed the FY08 mid-year budget pointing out the changes in actual revenues and expenditures in excess of $50,000. She also reported that the MERC and TNP fee structures were set after the August 2007 meeting.
Overall, revenues are projected to remain about the same as reflected in the original FY08 budget. Expenses are up $542,000, due primarily to NGN-related costs originally planned for FY09.
The recommendation for FY08 was to use estimated non-program balances to: 1) bring Shared Network balance up to the FY08 FER target, if necessary, and 2) the remainder (currently projected to be $764,000) to be transferred into the PF at the end of FY08 to bring the projected Plant Fund ending balance to $2,100,000 after capital equipment purchases related to NGN.
Rita Gulstad moved to endorse the mid-year reprojected FY08 budget as provided. Glenda Hunt seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Debbie Hughes moved to endorse the plan to transfer FY08 non-program ending fund balances to Shared Network to meet the FER target, and the remainder to the Plant Fund. Gulstad seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Fiscal Exigency Reserve (FER) Update – FY09 -Endorsement
Silvey reported one change to the FER calculation and assumptions for FY09:
Staff asked for a recommendation to increase the FER reserve by $100,000 for the share contributed by the Shared Network, and that the FER increase be funded by FY09 non-program ending fund balances.
Chair Conroy questioned what would happen to E-rate reimbursements that came after the closing of MOREnet, should that ever happen. Staff assumes that expenses would be offset with those monies. Rodman was unsure of the process should there be additional reserves over expenses.
Schulte moved to approve the FER assumptions and estimate for FY09 as described. Glenda Hunt seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Schulte moved to approve the addition of $100,000 increase needed in the FER to the share contributed by the Shared Network, and that the FER increase be funded by FY09 non-program ending fund balances. Gulstad seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Videoconferencing Equipment Upgrade – Information
Silvey discussed a multi-year upgrade plan that has been developed to address the approaching end-of-life vendor support on existing equipment and to phase-in and prepare for the ever-increasing demand for videoconferencing events. Mitchell said that the upgrade will happen over the summer; however, he isn’t sure it will solve the dropping of events that some members are facing now. Mitchell will get back to the Council confirming if the upgrade will solve this problem.
Preliminary FY09 Budget – Endorsement
Rodman walked through the revenues and expenses, pointing out the following corrections to the Council materials regarding how HB3 funds are distributed:
1. State Appropriations and Contracts – no change in total:
HB3 funds are distributed based on the following distribution: 51 (instead of 47) percent Shared Network, 40 (instead of 44) percent TNP, 9 percent Higher Education.
When compared to the mid-year reprojected FY08 budget, a net decrease of revenues over expenses of ($562,000) is expected for FY09.
Due to the cooperative agreement for NGN where the University of Missouri will pay the full cost of the long-term fiber leases (IRUs), the UM campuses, UM System and the UM Hospital connections have been removed from the Shared Network cost allocation. The FY09 budget was prepared with no other changes to the MERC fee schedule.
The Salaries and Benefits expense increase of $590,000 was based on 32 percent of total salaries. This will be updated and shared at the next meeting using 29.75 percent.
Reading voiced her concern over the Online Resource increase being projected using Learning Express Library. The concern was with the Council having the ability to overrule the State Library. Chair Conroy added that the library would like to add databases in the future and expect a significant increase in the cost. An extremely good cost was received for this year’s bid and that was paid for with E-rate funds, another deal like that is not expected. How should the cost be allocated across all partners? It was decided that a decision didn’t need to be made at this meeting. Gulstad said that MERC would want to help support certain services and added that the MERC board would need to discuss this topic in May. Chair Conroy was already planning to attend that meeting. MOREnet staff will provide the Council with current Online Resource contract deadlines.
Gulstad moved to endorse the FY09 preliminary budget subject to final appropriations. Hughes seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Plant Fund (PF) Projections – Approval
Rodman reviewed the PF funding and expense projections. In August, 2007, the Council approved using $3,135,000 from the PF to support NGN capital purchases in FY08. The cost for this equipment has risen to $4,090,000. In addition, MOREnet expects to make two significant capital purchases in FY09. Hicklin asked when final NGN equipment cost figures could be expected. Mitchell believes those costs should be final this summer. Hicklin asked that major cost changes be communicated to the Council.
Schulte moved to endorse approval of the increase in FY08 proposed spending from the PF from the original estimate of $3,135,000 to $4,090,000 with any increase above an additional 10% (409,000) coming back to the Council for additional approval, and the approval of FY09 proposed spending of $571,000 from the PF with any increase above an additional ($57,000) also coming back to the Council for approval. Hicklin seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
July 1, 2008 Member Agreements
Byland reported that staff has consolidated four member agreements into one agreement that will automatically renew until either the Member or MOREnet acts to terminate it. This new agreement incorporates the new Service Policies by reference as a part of the formal relationship. Two areas that bear attention are 1) acceptable use and 2) special use requests. The Service Policies have been shared with groups of our members for comments and suggestions and UM General Council has tentatively approved the agreement and policies, subject to any final edits. Once final, the agreement will be mailed to the Institutional Representatives. The Service Policies will be maintained on the public website.
Chair Conroy thanked Byland for his attentiveness on this issue and for the strong documents created.
Hicklin moved to endorse approving the updated Participation Agreement and Services Policies to be effective July 1, 2008. Kintzel seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
Mitchell thanked Byland as well as Gary Allen, UM Legal and Kintzel for their parts in the process.
Prior to breaking for lunch, Chair Conroy recognized Schulte as the past Chair of the Council and presented him with a plaque.
MOREnet FY10 Appropriation Request – Discussion
Mitchell reported that staff will be working on the FY10 request over the next several weeks. Staff will be meeting with UM mid-March so should have something to share at the April 15th Council meeting. An FY10 increase request will be prepared assuming no increase in funding is received for FY09. However, if increased funding for FY09 is eventually received, the FY10 request will be reconsidered.
Appropriations Updates – Discussion
DESE – HB2
Deborah Sutton reported that the Governor has recommended continuing some of his METS initiatives. DESE received $2.9M for FY08 to support 100 classrooms across the state that couple NSF math and/or science curriculum with eMINTS professional development and classroom technology. For FY09, the Governor has proposed to continue the eMINTS portion and add $2.1M to help schools adopt NSF-funded mathematics and science curriculum. The FY09 grants will support school-wide implementations rather than individual classrooms. The goal is to fund 12 eMINTS, 12 math and 12 science grants: one elementary, one middle/junior high, and one high school implementation for each grant program in each quadrant of the state.
CHBE – HB3
Kintzel reported that CBHE is expecting around a 4% increase to the higher education institutional budgets. A new item in the budget is the Preparing to Care Initiative, which is for additional incentive funding for the health care institutions related to degree completion and production of healthcare workers, nurses in particular. DHE is also hopeful to keep 5 FTE that have up to this year been funded by federal grants. Their expectation is that those positions will continue through state funding.
SOS – HB12
Chair Conroy reported that flat funding was requested from the amount appropriated last year; which included an extra $150,000 for the Gale Discovery Collection database. Static funding for state aid to public libraries and a couple of smaller programs was also requested. All was included in the Governor’s budget; however, it did not include full funding for the Athletes and Entertainers Income Tax Fund which would give funds to public libraries for materials. SOS always requests the full amount of that anticipated income from that fund which this year should be around $3.2M for public libraries. Each year the amount is dialed back at the Governor’s discretion. Last year the Governor indicated that he is working for full funding but behind an incremental basis they received 50%, this year they asked for 100% and received 75% of the Department of Revenue’s estimates of what that income tax will bring in. The State Library is pleased as that will bring in $2.4M for state public libraries to use for materials. The State Library is encouraging one-time purchases as this money isn’t promised each year. She also added that currently, libraries are lobbying their legislators to make it known how much they rely on the MOREnet network.
Mitchell reported that flat funding was recommended by the Governor for this fiscal year, however, there is very strong support from the House Education Budget committee. The feeling is that the committee will recommend an increase for MOREnet. The committee is currently creating a letter with their signatures and priorities listed.
The Senate Appropriations Committee questioned how bandwidth capacities are determined and who makes that decision. Commissioner Stein will be responding and MOREnet will forward his response to the Council as they are mentioned as oversight.
Chair Conroy noted that Representative Icet was named Legislator of the Year by the Missouri Library Association.
It was recommended that Council Members contact their representative if they are on the House Budget Committee, and stress their support of MOREnet.
Next Generation Network (NGN) Update – Discussion
Chip Byers discussed how the need for a Next Generation Network (NGN) was due to 40-50% growth in bandwidth needed each year. The NGN will enable better handling of the bandwidth increases needed and allow extra bandwidth for needs beyond our knowledge.
Today tail circuits are leased from teleco providers and that determines what the costs are for the contract life (3 to 5 years). The NGN fiber solution will provide a fixed cost with additional equipment purchases on an as needed basis. MOREnet could not afford the cost of implementing a fiber solution by itself, so the University of Missouri System partnered with MOREnet and worked out a cost allocation methodology.
Today the fiber is in two pieces: 1) SURA (Southeastern Universities Research Association) has fiber from AT&T that goes through Missouri from St. Louis to Kansas City and 2) Sho-Me will be used to connect the other hub cities not along I-70. Staff hopes to work with the Office of Administration, which has their own NGN project, in the carrier hotels in St. Louis and Kansas City.
The Sho-Me contracts are finished and implementation is expected in the April/May timeframe. There is one last set of documents to be signed with AT&T as part of the SURA negotiations. MOREnet is very close to a signed agreement on the optical equipment. Carrier hotel contracts are finished. Plan to implement I-70 in the summer timeframe with the rest of the network becoming available during the beginning of CY2009.
There are two phases to the project 1) the core network and 2) a process that will allow members in a geographical area (where possible) access through just one circuit, called Phase II. Staff has identified 20 regions where there is enough density and cost to justify this approach.
Mitchell added that conversations have been taking place with the legislature regarding continued yearly growth and the impact on non-metropolitan areas. These conversations have resulted in two meetings with the Economic Development department as they are very interested in revitalization in non-metropolitan communities. MOREnet is currently working on a whitepaper to address how fiber will assist the revitalization process.
Governor’s Rural High-Speed Internet Access Task Force – Information
Mitchell reported that the task force consists of both county and state government officials, major statewide providers, and local providers, with Lieutenant Governor Kinder chairing the committee. The Governor’s direction was to identify the areas in the state where broadband Internet is not available or not viable and come up with recommendations on how to solve that problem. The schedule asked for a report detailing the successful completion of its objectives and its recommendations to the Governor by February 1, 2008. The task force has completed its work and has submitted a preliminary report saying basically the following: 1) Recommended the state generate a contract to do a full block-level GIS mapping. This recommendation requires funding, which the task force doesn’t have. 2) Extend the task force for another year as there is too much work to be done; such as DED mapping tax programs, incentives and tax credits that may already exist that could help with telecommunication providers extending their services.
There was much discussion among the task force as to how fast is fast enough. As the task force was ending, EDUCAUSE published a broadband report indicating that within 3-4 years broadband will be needed in the home. Mitchell asked Loyd to send the Council members the link to the report. He also asked that she send the link to the Governor’s Rural High-Speed Internet Access Task Force.
Byland reported that implementation from a third-party provider is expected in 30-45 days. This was the easiest and least expensive to deliver. The services will consist of a “box” screening for certain parameters and then reporting offenses to the federal officials. Byers added that this service would only be utilized in response to a legal request.
Public Higher Education Circuit Cap Increase – Information
Byland shared that the circuit cap for MERC has been increased from 75Mb to 100Mb due to no significant cost increase to do so. Kintzel reported that DHE is supportive of the opportunity to have this cap in place so that they can be sure they’re evaluating usage. They also felt this decision was straightforward. Kintzel understands that the MERC board is doing a study in this area and DHE is looking forward to the results.
Giddings gave the following updates:
- Chaffee Public Library has submitted an application to become a REAL member.
- MOREnet went to Seneca Middle School to do an Internet safety resources (NetSmartz) workshop for 375 students in the 6th, 7th and 8th grades. This workshop differed as MOREnet trainers typically train the teachers. The workshop was received favorably and since there isn’t time for MOREnet trainers to train each student, a train-the-trainer type workshop is being investigated so the teachers can learn to train the students.
- Internet Safety Night is April 23rd from 6:30-8:30 p.m. More states are signed up than ever before.
- Collaborating with Kansas for their Distance Learning Week - March 11th. They are focusing on emergency preparedness and will have several sessions available for school age children as well as a session for the community. Each session will have 1-2 videoconference participants from Missouri as well as video streaming. An announcement to schools and libraries is forthcoming.
- March 24th has been confirmed with Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Oak Ridge, TN for a videoconference where a scientist is going to discuss the “Scientific Inquiry Process” with 5th and 6th graders. Video streaming will be available to schools/libraries that aren’t able to join the videoconference.
- MOSL Summer Reading Program, date to be determined, is all about bugs this year with “Catch the Reading Bug” for elementary students and “Metamorphosis @ Your Library” for the secondary students. MOREnet is working to get some videoconferences set up with bug experts.
- MOREnet has been contacted by the Mountain Plains Museum Association. They have an 18 state conference coming up in Kansas City in October and they’ve asked for help with videoconferencing.
- Newly announced Poet Laureate, Walter Bargen, has agreed to do a statewide videoconference, tentatively scheduled for April 14th or 15th. April is poetry month.
- FIRST Regional Competition is March 7th and 8th in Kansas City at the Hale Arena. Mitchell strongly suggests attending the event if at all possible as it is something not to be missed.
- Dr. Curt Fuchs invited MOREnet to come to a MOVIP teacher’s meeting to talk about Learning Express.
- HELIX 2008 and Connections 2008: MOREnet Spring Technical Conferences are April 2nd-4th at Tan-Tar-A, Osage Beach, MO.
E-rate Update – Information
Byland reported that the Letter of Agency (LOA) process is finished for this year. He expressed thanks to Sutton and Reading for their timely help in getting the last ones completed. Rebecca Miller is active nationally and has heard that the E-rate filing window might be moved up to November. This has not yet been decided. She and other state coordinators are voicing their concerns with this change.
Miller is also working on the Rural Health Care (RHC) issue with other state network groups to identify answers to the questions that the SLD has had trouble answering.
Rural Health Care (RHC) Update – Information
Mitchell reported that the RHC program administered by the Universal Services Fund is similar to the schools and libraries E-rate program but has even tougher rules. They are having a problem getting participants due to the rules so they have announced a pilot program. Their goal is to disperse $400M to expand participation. MOREnet with Missouri Telehealth Network (MTN) submitted a proposal using the MOREnet backbone entirely and adding sites for $2.2M. The pilot is to figure out what rules are getting in the way so the rules can be rewritten in three years. MTN has received the award; however, staff is not sure the project can be implemented. There is a meeting next week with the University to determine if there is a possible link to the Preparing to Care Initiative and if there is a way to reshape the proposal in a way to enable participation. There have been over a hundred pilot awards with over 6,000 healthcare facilities that would be touched across the country. The goal is that there should be a national health care network tied into high performance networks, however, the reality is that health care is very local so there are a lot of mismatches between priorities and needs and what to spend the funds on. MOREnet is participating in a lot of forums to try to 1) influence the rules and 2) to figure out a way we can participate.
Council Orientation – Discussion
Byland announced that there will be an orientation session scheduled for new members in the near future. It will be held at the MOREnet offices and will be a chance to meet the MOREnet directors, get an overview of MOREnet, tour the facilities, and review the MOREnet Council MOU.
Council Member Updates
Chair Conroy shared that the State Library is getting ready to start the next round of grant applications for the LSTA grant. They have also identified several libraries in the state that have expressed interest in videoconferencing, and even though MOSL doesn’t have a videoconferencing grant, they have offered to fund the purchase of equipment for the Kansas City Public Library and the Missouri River Regional Library. If other libraries develop an interest, they will be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Reading reported that Debbie Musselman is now the LSTA Grant Officer for MOSL and that they are recruiting for her prior position. She also reported that there has been moderate success with the RealEasy Web program as there are 15-20 libraries using an open source software called Drupal to construct an “in-the-box” website. MOSL will publicize once all libraries have their sites up-to-date.
Sutton reported DESE had to submit information to continue being a USAC-certified technology plan approver. This year about 70 districts have to submit plans for state approval. The plans are due April 15th, just months before DESE anticipates having its new electronic planning tool available. In April, districts and charter LEAs complete the annual Census of Technology, an annual online collection of district and building-level data with regards to technology integration. Applications for the FY09 competitive METS and Title II.D grants are due the end of March. Sutton shared that METS is the only state funding and Title II.D the only federal program specifically for technology. In January, the President recommended zero funding of Title II.D for the fifth year in a row. While Congress has seen fit to appropriate funds each year, the program is currently operating at 40% of its original levels and DESE has exercised the option to distribute all Missouri funding via competitive grants. Bad news, no money; good news, schools are using those funds wisely since grants are tied to eMINTS.
- April 15, 2008
- July 29, 2008
- September 23, 2008
- December 9, 2008
Open Time for the Public to Address the Council
Adjourned at 1:42 p.m.
Respectively Submitted by Sherry Loyd