FY13 MOREnet State Appropriation Request
As many of you know, MOREnet’s state funding through House Bill 3 has been completely withheld for the last two fiscal years. Previously, this funding helped to level the playing field for connectivity and Internet access for Missouri’s public K-12 schools and higher education institutions. Now, without the state funding, hundreds of MOREnet member sites are bearing the full cost for connectivity and Internet access, with many schools paying significantly more than others for similar service levels.
MOREnet has continued to reduce expenses in order to stabilize or lower its member fees; however, the cost of Internet access, as driven and set by third-party circuit providers, remains a direct pass-through and is not something MOREnet can control. To assist with lowering some of the highest connectivity costs incurred by MOREnet members, for fiscal year 2013 MOREnet submitted an appropriation request in the amount of $316,718. While there are a number of factors in the formula that change regularly, MOREnet estimates that currently more than 260 K-12 and higher education member sites could potentially benefit from the request, if funded.
In an effort to seek member support, earlier this week MOREnet sent information directly to several K-12 and higher education member contacts regarding the appropriation request. While MOREnet does not expect state funding to return to its previous level, we do feel that where there is limited connectivity access, inconsistent availability and highly variable costs, the state should be encouraged to help to level these costs for education. MOREnet will continue to support its ongoing commitment to lower costs for its members and will endeavor to preserve the appropriation line item to benefit its members.
Members are encouraged to contact their local legislator(s) and Mr. Jeff Harris in the Governor’s Office to educate them on this inequity and seek their support for the FY13 MOREnet appropriation request. For more information or to request a form letter template to use to contact your elected officials, please contact Sherry Loyd at (573) 884-2666.