Columbia, MO Courthouse Sculpture

MOREnet Council Meeting Minutes - Nov. 29, 2012

TIME: 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012

PLACE: MOREnet Offices, 221 N. Stadium Blvd., Columbia, MO, Rooms 204/205/206

Members present: Kevin Palmer, Chair, Gary Allen, Russ Brock, Margaret Conroy, Jacque Cowherd, David Doennig (via phone), John Gillispie, Joel Lareau (via phone), Paul Mensching, Archie Sprengel, Cindy Youngblood

Alternates present: Craig Klimczak, Barbara Reading

MOREnet staff present: Natasha Angell, Lynn Burgan, Chip Byers, Sherry Loyd, Hank Niederhelm, Nikki Witting

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

Chair Palmer presented Russ Brock with a plaque for his serving as Chair for the 2012 fiscal year.

ACTION ITEMS/INFORMATION ITEMS

Minutes of the August 30, 2012 MOREnet Council Meetings – Approval

Chair Palmer asked for a motion to approve the meeting minutes. Margaret Conroy moved to approve the August 30, 2012 minutes as distributed. Russ Brock seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

FY14 Member Fees – Endorsement

Natasha Angell reported that there will be no member fee changes to the Membership Service Packages in FY14.

Staff is researching an early renewal discount promotion to offer in the spring to the 525 members that currently have a 3-year MSP that will expire June 30, 2014. Staff is hopeful that the promotion will stagger the expiration dates and ensure more stability in the service package revenue year to year.

There will also be no change to the $1,700 per connection Managed Connection Fee.

For FY14, the total Network Connectivity Fee revenue will be reduced by 5.3% due to bandwidth growth and lower costs of backbone and Internet access. Price reductions based on bandwidth will range between 1.59% and 8.71% depending on the speed purchased.

Staff does not plan to increase For-Fee Service Fees in FY14, however, a review of other services to ensure pricing remains competitive or if the service unit or pricing tiers should be simplified is underway. Angell doesn’t anticipate any current service offerings ending prior to FY15.

Jacque Cowherd moved to approve the Membership Service Packages, Managed Connection Fee, Network Connectivity Fee and For-Fee Service Fee as proposed. Paul Mensching seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Investment Project Proposal(s) – Approval

Nodaway-Andrew-Buchanan County Microwave System project

Chip Byers reviewed the Nodaway-Andrew-Buchanan County Microwave System project which includes 7 K-12 school districts, 2 public libraries, a private higher education institution and potentially a UM Extension site. Byers shared that since these projects are only for certain members the fees will include aggregation costs so as to not impact the NCF that all connected members pay.

Conroy moved to approve the Nodaway-Andrew-Buchanan County Microwave System project. Brock seconded the motion. Chair Palmer inquired about the issue of staff in the project issue section. Byers reported that a staff member currently handles but that additional staff may be needed in the future. Chair Palmer then called for agreement from the Council members to which everyone except Mensching agreed. Mensching abstained due to East Buchanan School District being included in the project.

Conroy asked how it will be determined that the project is successful to which Byers responded that success would result in a network that stays running with a predetermined reliability rate and financial goals being met. The expectation is that the project will be successful and that all investment costs will be recovered by year 5.

John Gillispie added that staff expect a series of these microwave type projects due to members needing additional bandwidth at an affordable rate that is not available. He sees these projects as temporary solutions until broadband adoption drives development of facilities at which time MOREnet will be able to seek bids on those services.

District and Library Makeover/Research Showcases

Byers reported that neither the District nor Library Makeover/Research Showcase projects are scoped very tightly to keep them as research projects. Forward-leaning districts and libraries are needed that have the mindset and culture to change, the ability to commit for 3 years, and are already making investments in the cloud and 1:1 education technology environments (K-8 or K-12 districts) or the state-of-the-art library automation and digital content technology environments (libraries). The hope is to finish the projects with a set of documents to help other districts and libraries with items to consider and best practices from all aspects (administration, instruction and technical).

Cindy Youngblood of Polk County Library expressed that the library’s connection is lagging and staff can’t identify the problem. Byers suggested that Polk County Library may need MOREnet staff to assist in determining what the library’s issues are and how to best go about fixing them. She would like to assist with the project but doesn’t feel her library could be successful due to the current connectivity issues. Angell shared that MOREnet has a RFP out for a cloud wireless solution that could be managed remotely by MOREnet staff for libraries as part of a pilot project with the State Library.

Chair Palmer questioned whether grant opportunities had been investigated for the Makeover/Research showcases and Byers replied that staff has researched possible opportunities and intend to inquire once a member/partner is selected from the proposal process. It’s believed that success in receiving a grant will be more likely once a member/partner is chosen.

Staff envisions granting professional development certificates to those individuals involved in the projects much like eMINTS. Once the project proposals have been selected, staff also plans to reach out to eMINTS for ideas on moving forward.

Staff hopes that once a success is documented it can then be used to generate more funding so more members can be involved. It is staffs hope that all members can be invited to participate.

Youngblood moved to approve the District Makeover/Research Showcase Project. Cowherd seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Conroy is excited about the approach to get the library community moving forward and thinks that MOREnet staff should solicit proposals from all library members. She believes the proposal process will eliminate those that are not appropriate for the project. Staff would like Conroy’s assistance in setting parameters.

Mensching moved to approve the Library Makeover/Research Showcase Project. Conroy seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.

Byers reviewed the Northern Backbone Expansion project that seeks to procure dark fiber or multiple wavelengths across the northern part of the state. The expansion will connect back to the current fiber backbone in at least two nodes for reliability. By expanding MOREnet’s coverage area, MOREnet can deliver more bandwidth to rural area members at a lower cost.

DISCUSSION/INFORMATION ITEMS

FY14 Work in Progress Budget Projection – Information

Lynn Burgan gave a review of the FY14 Work in Progress Budget Projection.

Conroy reminded everyone that the Missouri State Library (MOSL) has decided to not renew the NewsBank database contract for FY14. MOSL is in the process of identifying a new product and will share that product information with the Council. Additionally, MOREnet will need to review and potentially work with the Council to determine how to fund the Learning Express Library resource in FY14 and beyond.

Optical Equipment Replacement/Upgrade – Information

Hank Niederhelm reviewed the plan for an optical equipment replacement/upgrade due to the vendor announcement of End-of-Sale effective June 30, 2012 with a corresponding End-of-Life of June 30, 2017. Conversations with the vendor are still occurring to ensure MOREnet moves in the appropriate direction at the best time, however, critical parts and additional equipment might not be available and will impact the decision. There are many factors to consider and staff is considering all options at this point.

Educational Broadband Service (EBS) Update – Information

Byers reported that two changes have occurred since the last Council update. Originally it was anticipated that exclusive lease agreements would be made between MOREnet and the EBS license holders, however, staff have determined that MOREnet is an “eligible entity” under FCC rules for the EBS program and that the licenses can be assigned to MOREnet. MOREnet is waiting on UM legal to finalize their review.

To expedite the project, multiple overlapping licenses were used to expand the available spectrum and bandwidth delivered on a single set of radios. Staff continues to contact those license holders who contributed a license but have not decided on the use of their promised radio link. Until all radio sets are installed a contingent liability exists for those radios of approximately $80,000.

M3 Conference Update – Information

Angell reported that in late October a M3 conference was held bringing together our annual Security Symposium, HELIX, Connections and MITC events for an entire week. Attendance was down 20% from the last time the events occurred separately and staff is investigating why. Ninety percent of respondents were satisfied with the overall conference. The next M3 will be October 13-18, 2013 at Tan-Tar-A. Council members expressed some concern that as MOREnet moves all conferences to the fall, there may be some competition as other events such as MLA, MCCA and Educause conferences are held during October as well. It was also suggested that track sessions be reduced in both amount offered and length of session.

Member Reports – Information

MOREnet K-12 Advisory Group (MKAG)

Mensching reported that the MKAG group working is trying to improve ways to provide direction to MOREnet so he has asked MASA for the group to become a standing committee of MASA members from all regions to collect requests to be brought before the MOREnet Council.

Missouri Education and Research Consortium (MERC)

Archie Sprengel gave a brief summary of the report included in the meeting packet. Chair Palmer added that Sprengel has been an influential help in getting the governance procedures updated. He also suggested to Sprengel that MERC might discuss the possibility of investigating a potential investment project to propose to the Council for consideration.

Missouri Public Library Directors (MPLD)

David Doennig gave a brief summary of the report included in the meeting packet which also included his enthusiasm and support of the Missouri Evergreen project. He hopes that in time that membership of schools and college level applicants might be considered for the project.

Meeting Schedule

    March 11, 2013 – 10:00-Noon – Audio/Telepresence/Videoconference
  • June 4, 2013 – 10:00-2:00pm – MOREnet Offices

Conroy attended a national outreach campaign meeting regarding Connect2Compete, a national nonprofit organization bringing together leaders from communities, the private sector and leading foundations to improve the lives of Americans by helping them access the Internet through three exciting offers: free digital literacy training, discounted high-speed Internet and low-cost computers. Missouri has been selected as a pilot state for the discounted Internet and low-cost computer components, however, MOSL is most interested in the free digital literacy training component as in the spring there is to be a $90M over 3 year ad campaign to reach individuals with barriers to the Internet. Her concern is in having Missouri public libraries ready for the influx of people that might overcome the libraries and the staff that may be needed to help them. More information can be found at www.connect2compete.org.

Meeting adjourned at 1:48 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted by Sherry Loyd