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Nebraska Information Technology Commission

Friday, January 21, 2005, 9:00 a.m.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln, East Campus Union

311 Agriculture Hall

Lincoln, Nebraska



Mr. Arnold Bateman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Mr. Dennis Baack, alt. Representing community colleges

Linda Engel, Nebraska City Public Schools
Dr. Terry Haack, Bennington Public Schools
Mr. Jerry Harnisch, Midland Lutheran College

Ms. Yvette Holly, University of Nebraska Medical Center (Omaha Videoconference Site)

Mr. Jeff Johnson, Centennial Public Schools
Mr. Joe LeDuc, Catholic Diocese of Lincoln

Mr. Chuck Lenosky, Creighton University

Mr. Dennis Linster, Wayne State College

Mr. Mike Pate, Millard Public Schools (Omaha Videoconference Site)

Dr. Ed Rastovski, Wahoo Public Schools

Mr. Al Schneider, Educational Service Unit 5

Dr. Robin Smith, Chadron State College (Chadron Videoconference Site)

Mr. Alan Wibbels, Educational Service Unit 10


Ms. Brenda Decker, Division of Communications

Mr. Wayne Fisher, Department of Education

Mr. Michael Beach, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications

MEMBERS/LIAISONS ABSENT: Dr. Michael Chipps, Mid-Plains Community College; Dr. Jack Huck, Southeast Community College; Tip O’Neill, Alt. representing Independent Colleges; Dr. David Powers, Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education

CALL TO ORDER, ELECTRONIC POSTING, ROLL CALL Mr. Wibbels called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m. It was stated that the meeting notice was posted to the NITC and Nebraska Public Meeting Calendar Web sites on October 15, 2004 and that the meeting agenda was posted to the NITC Web site on November 15, 2004. There were 8 voting members present at the time of roll call. A quorum existed to conduct official business.


Ms. Engel moved to approve the January 21st agenda as presented. Mr. Bateman seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Bateman-Yes, Engel-Yes, Haack-Yes, Holly-Yes, Johnson-Yes, LeDuc-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, Linster-Yes, Pate-Yes, Rastovski-Yes, Schneider-Yes, Smith-Yes, and Wibbels-Yes. Results: 13-Yes, 0-No. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.


Mr. LeDuc corrected the title of his affiliation. It should read Catholic Diocese of Lincoln rather than Lincoln Pius X High School.

Mr. Bateman moved to approve the November 19th minutes as corrected. Mr. Linster seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Wibbels-Yes, Smith-Yes, Schneider-Yes, Rastovski-Yes, Pate-Yes, Linster-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, LeDuc-Yes, Johnson-Yes, Holly-Yes, Haack-Yes, Engel-Yes, and Bateman-Yes. Results: 13-Yes, 0-No. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.


There was no public comment.


Mr. Rolfes reported that the results of the survey indicated to keep the council meeting on the 3rd Friday and to meet bi-monthly with the off month for task groups. A concern was raised regarding the voting on meeting frequency. Due to alternates also voting, some members felt the results may have been slanted.

Mr. Rastovski moved that the Education Council meet on a bimonthly basis with the off months used for task force meetings if needed. Mr. Pate seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Johnson-Yes, Smith-Yes, LeDuc-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, Linster-Yes, Pate-Yes, Rastovski-Yes, Wibbels-Yes, Bateman-Yes, Baack-Yes, Engel-Yes, Haack-Yes, and Holly-Yes. Results: 13-Yes, 0-No. Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Mr. Schneider arrived at 9:33 a.m.

Education Council Charter:

The statutory language (5.1) of the Education Charter (PDF 24k) reads as follows, “The mission of the Council is to advise the Commission concerning education information technology needs, goals, and policy. The Council will identify, coordinate, and prioritize matters pertaining to information technology for a more strategic and cost-effective approach to developing the State's education information technology infrastructure.” NITC Education Council 2005 Legislative Intent Language as contained in LB 425; Sec. 165, Agency No. 47-Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission (Word 24k) shifts much of prior NEB*SAT Coordinating Council responsibilities to the Education Council. Discussion followed regarding the purpose of the NITC Education Council:

  • In the 6 years of the Education Council’s existence, it has made a lot of progress and has accomplished many tasks, for example Network Nebraska.
  • It has built and brought collaboration and cooperation among educational entities.
  • The current Education Council membership should reflect what is written in the intent language of LB 425, Section 165.
  • NETC budget has a line item for NITC funding (4.f. of LB 425 intent language). The Education Council has not taken advantage of this tool to make funding recommendations to the NETC. The NETC would then make recommendations to the legislature.
  • The council needs to be proactive per dates of intent.
  • Backbone – need to explore how to use it, focus on the program side, promote use of tax dollars for connectivity through Network Nebraska.
  • LB 689 will establish a distance education task force to develop a distance education plan -$10 million over the next three years.
  • Grant writing for funding efforts. How does the council take advantage of these types of opportunities? There are monies for the development of health care telecommunications.

Network Nebraska Initiative: Next Steps Discussion

  • Besides transport, explore what other uses may be possible for Network Nebraska.
  • Need to do more internal promotion and awareness.
  • The Division of Communications and the University of Nebraska are DOC/UNL are currently working on a fee for service option. If the Education Council made this a recommendation for K20 usage, postalization could be a possibility.
  • A white paper is being written to explain the need for LB 689, assist K12 redesign their networks, and provide best practices.
  • Nebraska Universal Service Fund. The question was raised as to whether the Education Council should make a recommendation to the NITC regarding this fund to assist with Network Nebraska efforts. Discussion followed but no action was taken.
  • Network Nebraska Users Group. A suggestion was made that a users group be established through CAP. Ms. Decker stated that CAP would be open to the suggestion but that CAP would want the Education Council’s assistance. CAP would request that the council sectors discuss it further, make a commitment, and make recommendation as to possible members. Mr. Wibbels suggested that members could be “technical users” and/or “stakeholders”, for example representatives from NETC or NDLA (Nebraska Distance Learning Association).
  • Because of Network Nebraska, dialogues are occurring between different entities that would not have happened years ago.

Statewide Synchronous Video Network Initiative: Next Steps Discussion

A draft white paper is currently being circulated that will be given to the legislature to recommend how the $10 million would be spent if funded. (Look at draft.) Graphic image. Open process to collect process – would – updated router, switch routers, codecs, and ability to deliver digital and web learning to the classrooms. Paper to be completed by January 31st. Technical barriers can be overcome….it is the funding, services areas of educational institution, and/or approval of courses. Need to get away from traditional concept of distance learning – it is web streaming, file sharing.

e-Learning Initiative: Next Steps Discussion

As a result of the e-Learning workshops conducted by Tom Rolfes and Jim Zemke, a written report will be developed for the NITC.

Legislative Update – LB 467 and LB 689

NOL has developed a unicameral bill tracker that is available to citizens. Comments regarding LB467 were covered in Education Council Charter section of the meeting.

If passed, LB 689 will establish a Distance Education Enhancement Task Force. Members of the task force shall be appointed on or before June 15, 2005, and shall include:

(1) The chairperson and one other member of the Education Committee of the Legislature;

(2) The chairperson of the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee of the Legislature;

(3) The chairperson of the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature;

(4) Two representatives of educational service units;

(5) Two representatives of distance education consortia;

(6) Two representatives of the State Department of Education, one of whom shall have expertise in technology infrastructure;

(7) Two representatives of the Public Service Commission;

(8) Two representatives of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission;

(9) Two representatives of postsecondary education; and

(10) One representative of the Governor.

The members listed in subdivisions (1), (4), (5), (7), and (9) of this section shall be appointed by the Executive Board of the Legislative Council. The members listed in subdivisions (6), (8), and (10) of this section shall be appointed by the Governor.

Sec. 2. The Distance Education Enhancement Task Force shall develop an improvement plan to upgrade and coordinate distance education in Nebraska. The task force shall make recommendations for policies and potential legislation to the Clerk of the Legislature, the Education Committee of the Legislature, the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee of the Legislature, and the Appropriations Committee of the Legislature on or before November 1, 2005. The plan shall include, but not be limited to:


1) The development of a broadband, scalable telecommunications infrastructure for use in distance learning classrooms;

2) The development of an Internet protocol-based network to interconnect all existing and future distance education and videoconferencing facilities;

3) Upgrades of current telecommunications equipment;

4) Training and support programs for educators in the development and use of distance learning;

5) The transfer of distance education coordination responsibilities from distance education consortia to educational service units on or before July 1, 2007;

6) Statewide coordination for distance education offerings;

7) Potential funding sources;

8) The establishment of an equitable and affordable financing system for both equipment and usage;

9) The establishment of a system that allows school districts to purchase quality distance education offerings from other school districts either directly or with educational service units acting as fiscal agents; and

10) Statewide provision of other technology-based services.

There were concerns expressed regarding the membership of the Distance Education Enhancement Task Force.

Mr. Rastovski moved that the Education Council send correspondence to the NITC requesting broader representation of K12 and higher education on the Distance Education Enhancement Task Force. Mr. Johnson seconded the motion. Discussion followed. Mr. Rolfes had received a letter from the Assistive Technology Partnership Program requesting that someone that is familiar with assistive technology should also serve on the task force. Discussion followed as to sector representation. Mr. Rastovski and Mr. Johnson accepted Mr. LeDuc’s friendly amendment to their motion. The motion now reads, “that the Education Council send correspondence to the NITC requesting broader representation of K12 (State School Board Association, Teachers Association, School Administrators Association, and private/parochial K12) and higher education (University of Nebraska; state, community and independent colleges; one of whom is proficient in Assistive Technologies) on the Distance Education Enhancement Task Force. Roll call vote: Lenosky-Yes, LeDuc-Yes, Smith-Yes, Johnson-Yes, Holly-Yes, Haack-Yes, Engel-Yes, Baack-Yes, Bateman-Yes, Wibbels-Yes, Schneider-Yes, Rastovski-Yes, Pate-Yes, and Linster-Yes. Results: 14-Yes, 0-No. Motion was carried by unanimous vote.

Mr. Rolfes will draft the correspondence and solicit input from the co-chairs before it is sent.

New Network Nebraska Website

The Network Nebraska website was launched in January. It was created by staff from the University of Nebraska Computing Services. Mr. Golden would like to receive input from members before it goes statewide.


Mr. Linster announced that Wayne State, along with Network Nebraska, is hosting the NETCHE regional conference. There will be more information at a later date.


February meeting. Normally, the council would not be meeting during February but it was recommended that the council have a meeting if there is a hearing set on LB689.

March 18th: Possibly meet in Lincoln at NET building with tour of renovated facility.

May 20th: Millard will host the meeting.

With no further business, Mr. Wibbels adjourned the meeting at 11:34 a.m.

Meeting minutes were taken by Lori Lopez Urdiales and reviewed by Tom Rolfes of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission.

Meeting Minutes