Churchill statue - Fulton, MO

MOREnet Council Meeting Minutes - Dec. 15, 2009

TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2009

PLACE: Room 315
Governor’s Office Building
Jefferson City

Members present: Margaret Conroy, Chair, Gary Allen, Russell Brock, Dave Doennig, Tim Gallimore, Rita Gulstad, Debbie Hughes, Bert Schulte

Alternates present: Mark Mabe, Barbara Reading

MOREnet Staff present: Natasha Angell, Chip Byers, Sherry Loyd, Rebecca Miller, Bill Mitchell, Hank Niederhelm, Greg Silvey

Chair Margaret Conroy called the MOREnet Council meeting to order. Those who were in attendance are listed above.


Minutes of the October 21, 2009 MOREnet Council Meeting – Approval

Chair Conroy asked for a motion to approve the meeting minutes. Bert Schulte moved to approve the October 21, 2009 minutes as distributed. Rita Gulstad seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


FY10 Withhold/FY11 Budget Reduction Scenarios –Discussion

Greg Silvey reminded everyone that in late October, MOREnet received a 25 percent FY10 withhold. He then gave a quick review of the reduced or temporarily suspended critical services and programs that serve all MOREnet members. During this period, bandwidth upgrade exceptions will be handled on a case-by-case basis.

Staff met with Linda Luebbering, State Budget Director, and a request was made of MOREnet to provide an impact statement for a permanent 35 percent core cut for FY11. The draft response memo and map illustrating the current bandwidth costs were shared.

Several modifications for the memo were suggested:

  • add mention of the 10% cut previously received
  • compare bandwidth of schools, metropolitan versus non-metropolitan, closer in proximity. However, Hank Niederhelm explained that sites were selected based on bandwidth and technology use while also trying to show the extremes
  • add the schools’ upcoming need for more bandwidth to the essential services section due to online end-of-course exams that will start in the 2011-2012 school year, MAP testing for grades 3-8 that will begin by spring of 2012, and the increase in federal reporting standards
  • add the equity of access to resources that the map shows
  • add a point regarding today’s community college announcement by Governor Nixon
  • add a telehealth associated point
  • move economic development section to the first or last paragraph
  • create an additional document listing the significant potential opportunities for MOREnet. Gallimore offered to assist.

Staff was asked to create a worksheet showing current costs versus costs after a 35% cut, by district. This would enable a total to be shown as well for all public school districts. Allen asked that the 40% network growth also be factored in.

Staff was asked if a map showing the same demand for community colleges could be created.

Bill Mitchell shared that the state budget office recommended direct contact with the Governor, if possible. The Council suggested that MASA and MCCA might be good candidates. Conroy is expecting Crosby Kemper III to make contact and has made a request for assistance from SOS. Gallimore will see if MDHE Commissioner Stein might contact the new Economic Development Director.

Schulte complimented staff on the materials shared as they were very well done.

Legislative and Member Advocacy – Information

Natasha Angell reported that Mr. Kyle Dare, Puxico R-VIII Superintendent, testified very well on behalf of MOREnet at the Senate Appropriations public hearing on December 7. Staff is following up on a few questions received from the committee. Puxico is in Senator Mayer’s senatorial district.

Legislative materials for FY11 are available online at Updates, if needed, will be made after the Governor’s Recommendation is announced. If anyone has any suggested changes, they are to notify Angell. Gallimore and Allen suggested showing the market value of the increasing bandwidth on the graph. Advocacy packets, specialized for the individual member groups, are currently being updated and will be available online soon.

Staff is currently working with the University Government Relations office to identify key areas where legislative visits would be beneficial. These visits will occur in January at member sites with a MOREnet representative available to answer questions.

Executive Director Search Update-Information

A second round search was started and an executive search firm was used to identify possible candidates. Two candidates that were identified by the search committee have interviewed with search committee members and staff. Allen is in the process of making an offer in hopes of having a finalist named by the holiday break.

Stimulus Project Update – Information

Byers reminded everyone that MOREnet is interested in Broadband Stimulus dollars and that when the first application window opened there were 2,200 applications submitted requesting about 7 times the available funding. He learned yesterday that 45 projects have moved forward into due diligence. The last application window will be during the March timeframe.

With the current budget situation and bandwidth growth forecast, MOREnet has a great interest in the stimulus activities in the state. Staff is interested in moving away from the leased circuit model so if there is an opportunity to be a part of another project in the state, they hope to be included. MOREnet would also add value to their project as it links anchor institutions around the state.

Staff has been investigating the support behind MOREnet submitting a middle mile proposal as they feel this would produce significant benefits for MOREnet. Byers has spoken to many vendors and a more positive reaction is being received this time.

Gallimore added that there are many initiatives within the MCCA. One example is a meeting between UMC’s Health Informatics group and the MCCA on Friday as there are significant dollars available if a certain threshold is met in the rural communities of Missouri. Both groups are tightly tied as health care workers in the rural areas will need to be trained and they’ll need increased access to computer equipment. All of which can’t happen without MOREnet.

When NTIA and RUS, the two granting agencies, pushed project selection to the state governors, Governor Nixon then selected certain projects to support, meaning that match funding was available for those projects. To date and to Byers’ knowledge, the broadband mapping project is the only Missouri project selected for due diligence.

In a conversation with the EDUCAUSE legislative contact it was suggested going to the Federal legislators to encourage them to see what they can do regarding the lack of funding received by Missouri.

E-rate Update – Information

Miller reported that the 2010-2011 application year is fully underway and will be open until February 11, 2010. The most talked about E-rate topic is the cyberbullying bill passed and signed into law in October 2008 requiring schools to provide cyber bulling education to students in order to receive E-rate funding. To date the education requirements are unknown. The FCC is asking the public what they think the requirements should be. Once a decision is made it will be published in the federal registry and there will be several windows to be met. Vendors are currently making contacts trying to sell products to meet the education needs, however, Miller is suggesting members wait until the FCC makes its ruling. The State E-rate Coordinators Alliance is concerned with the possible administrative burden and will push to keep the burden off of the members.

There is a new chair of the FCC and that has produced a more technology focused services list with more clearly defined details.

Miller is working to inform more members about the E-rate program and is finding that the number one reason members aren’t participating is that they don’t know what E-rate is and the second reason is that the process is too hard. Through communication, Miller is educating them that there are resources available to help.

MOREnet’s application is underway and the process is going to be much easier this year as MOREnet was approved last year for a 3 year Letter of Agency (LOA). Members will not have to submit another LOA until the fall of 2011.

Miller and other like consortiums nationwide are identifying like challenges to share with the SLD in hopes of making the entire E-rate process easier for large consortiums. It is Miller’s hope that the delayed reimbursement issues will be addressed at that time.

Meeting Schedule

  • March 11, 2010
  • July 30, 2010
  • October 22, 2010
  • December 14, 2010

Gallimore would like to use technology where possible for any of the future meetings. Suggestions are welcome.

Other Business

Reading shared materials that the State Library and MOREnet jointly prepared promoting Learning Express Library. There are large quantities available for distribution.

MOSL has over 100 libraries that will need to write a new technology plan this spring to qualify for MOREnet’s E-rate consortium application. A new approach to approving the plans is happening this year where a series of workshops will be presented where participants will create their plan at the one-day workshop.

Gulstad inquired about the future of MoVIP. Schulte responded that second semester funding will be available for disabled students and a tuition program will be offered. Gallimore suggested contacting Leroy Wade of DHE as he is working on policy issues and some may be useful to the program.

Schulte presented Conroy with a plaque for her 2 terms as MOREnet Council Chair. Gallimore is the incoming chair.

Meeting adjourned 11:43 a.m.