MOREnet Council Meeting Minutes - Aug. 29, 2013

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TIME: 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.
Thursday, August 29, 2013

PLACE: Audio/Mobile Videoconferencing

Members present: David Doennig, Chair, Gary Allen, Jacque Cowherd, John Gillispie, John Heard, Joel LaReau, Paul Mensching, Rusty Monhollon, Barbara Reading, Tim Robyn, Archie Sprengel

Alternates present: Kevin Palmer

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

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

Chair Doennig called for a motion to approve the agenda. Jacque Cowherd moved to approve the agenda as distributed. Joel LaReau seconded the motion and all were in favor and it passed unanimously.

John Gillispie introduced Dr. John Heard to the Council. Barbara Reading reported that she is now the Missouri State Librarian and is the Council representative.


Minutes of the June 4, 2013 MOREnet Council Meeting - Approval

Chair Doennig asked for a motion to approve the draft meeting minutes. Kevin Palmer moved to approve the minutes as distributed. LaReau seconded and all were in favor and it passed unanimously.


Investment Projects Update

District Research Project - Discussion

Chip Byers gave an update on the project reporting that two very strong projects with very different approaches to improving student performance through student-centered learning were finalists. Fulton 58 School District’s proposed Fabrication Lab and Grandview R-II School District’s expanded 1:1 student to computer ratio and implementation of strong data analysis tools to support their data-driven decisions. Staff worked extensively with both districts to reduce each project budget to $250,000; however, that amount is still over the $415,000 initially approved for the project by the Council.

Palmer made a motion to remove this agenda item from the discussion/Information section into the Action Items/Information section. Paul Mensching seconded the motion and all were in favor except Jacque Cowherd who abstained from the vote.

Palmer asked if there would be an impact on the operational budget if additional funding was approved. Gillispie responded that if surplus monies were used it wouldn’t affect the operational budget and that there would be no impact to future projects already identified.

Chair Doennig called for a motion to approve. Palmer made a motion to approve increasing the project funding total to $500K. LaReau seconded the motion and all were in favor and it passed unanimously with Cowherd abstaining from the vote.

Library Research Project - Information

Byers reviewed the project status to-date and reported that the project schedule was lengthened by staff due to lessons learned from the District project. Six proposals were received with finalist selections to be done by September 5 and final partnership announcement to be made on September 26. Staff is working with nonsubmitting library members to assist in the proposal evaluation process.

Optical Equipment Replacement/Upgrade Update - Information

Hank Niederhelm reported that all equipment installations have been scheduled and are due to be completed by the end of next week. On Monday, September 9 staff plan to start the on-site test and turn up process which is expected to take approximately 3 weeks. Upon completion, and during the 3 week window, staff will be reviewing the method of procedures for turning up and migrating to the new equipment. At this time staff expects the migration to occur mid-October. At that point in time MOREnet will not only be carrying 10Gb services on the network but also 100Gb services which will make MOREnet one of the few R&E networks in the country to carry bandwidth at that capacity.

Year-End Update - Information

Bandwidth Capacity

Niederhelm reported that the capacity grew by 44% in FY13 which represents an increase of 8.892 Gbps. This is a tremendous growth rate and possibly the highest MOREnet has had in the past 9 years. In FY12, the growth rate was 33%. MOREnet has also had a 4.3% decrease in connections from FY12 which is largely tied to the connection cancellations by the Missouri Telehealth Network.


Natasha Angell reported that 14 new members joined the consortium during FY13 which is more than any other fiscal year in the last decade. Eight were from one of MOREnet’s newer markets, private/parochial schools. MOREnet is excited to have them join the consortium. There have also been 4 additional new members join since the start of FY14 bringing the total consortium members to 716. The spring survey results indicate members remain highly satisfied. Satisfaction rates have been at or above 95% for the past 5 years. With three-year Membership Service Package (MSP) expirations to occur this fiscal year, an early renewal incentive was offered this past spring. In addition to locking in pricing for another three years (FY15-17) the 168 members who signed up, of the 492 eligible, will also obtain a free conference registration for the annual conference in October. The incentive success equates to $1M in committed revenue for each of those 3 years. During FY13, 12 members cancelled their MOREnet connection and 9 cancelled all services. There was a correction made to the Members Cancelling Services FY11 to FY13 graph that was distributed with the meeting materials; 0 cancelled connections only in FY12 instead of 12.

Online Resource Utilization

Angell reviewed the database usage explaining that distributed materials report only on usage by the K12 schools, higher education and public library member groups as they are the primary users of the resources. Staff attributes the increase in EBSCO searches to it being the second consecutive year of the offering which most likely resulted from the database being better understood through awareness, promotion and education of the offering. Gale results show a decline for K12 members that might be attributed back to EBSCO’s increase in searches. Staff plans to work with MOSL to promote awareness and education to increase usage. The Learning Express Library practice tests showed stable use for public libraries and growth for the K12 and higher education member groups. Staff looks forward to increased utilization with the new resources that will become available in October with the new Learning Express Library contract that has been renewed. Chair Doennig reported that Gale will no longer be publishing Chilton’s Auto Repair Manual and wondered if another automotive repair manual has been considered. Angell indicated that an automotive repair database is offered on a for-fee basis and that she would share that information.

Draft FY13 Actuals

Lynn Burgan stated that the FY13 actuals remain draft until the University closes fiscal year 2013 in October, however no changes are expected. Revenue over expenses are a positive $2,047,894 with the surplus due to lower maintenance and member related services costs, salaries and benefits savings, additional FFS revenue and member bandwidth growth. Gillispie believes it is great news that MOREnet has gone from a deficit on operations of For-Fee Services to a surplus and believes for it to have turned around that fast is recognition by the members of the value of the services MOREnet is offering.

MOREnet FY15 Appropriation Request - Information

Gillispie explained that this agenda item was added to the packet late due to MOREnet not having received confirmation until late last week of Curator approval. The appropriation is being sought to assist 91% of MOREnet connected school districts that do not currently meet SETDA’s 2014-15 recommended 100 Mbps per 1,000 students and staff members. In order to help them meet this recommendation the total combined bandwidth must be increased by more than 20,000 Mbps. The appropriation will be submitted to MDHE as of September 1. Gillispie and Angell met with Commissioner Russell at MDHE earlier in the week, have a meeting scheduled with DESE next week and plan to schedule an appointment with the Governor’s office in the coming months. Gillispie asked for member volunteers to join him and Angell for the meeting with the Governor’s Office and visits with select legislators from the Education Appropriations committee.

Strategic Goals Update - Information

Gillispie reviewed the materials provided and asked for input from the Council. Reading requested further eBook platform updates and Chair Doennig asked that members provide input to Gillispie so he is aware of the Council’s thoughts and interest in the strategic planning process. Annual updates to the Council will continue with any major changes being brought before the Council as they arise.

Open Time for Council Members to Share Items of Interest

Chair Doennig reminded the group that in the past Member reports were requested in advance for the meeting packet and explained that the individual member meeting dates aren’t aligning well with the meeting material deadlines so going forward there would just be time on the agenda for any announcements.

Cowherd reported that there is a lot of enthusiasm and ideas going around the Fulton 58 high school in regards to the District Research Project. It is generating interest among the students and keeping high school seniors engaged. He is very optimistic that the model will be able to be transformed to other districts around the state at minimal costs. In addition, the district has received a Monsanto grant of $25,000 to improve the 1:1 initiative with Google Chromebooks in math classes.

Meeting Schedule

  • December 12, 2013 - 10:00-2:00pm - MOREnet Offices

Meeting adjourned at 2:13 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted by Sherry Loyd