Wednesday, February 18 at 9:00 am CT
Host site: Varner Hall Board Room, 3835 Holdrege, Lincoln
Remote sites: ESU 13, 4215 Avenue I, Scottsbluff, NE; Wayne State College IT Bldg, Wayne, NE; Metro Community College, Fort Dodge Campus, Omaha, NE; Schuyler Community Schools Administrative Office, 401 Adam St., Schuyler, NE




Mr. Burke Brown (Lincoln site)

Mr. Mike Carpenter (Lincoln site)

Mr. Matt Chrisman, Mitchell Public Schools (Scottsbluff site)

Mr. John Dunning, Wayne State College (Wayne site)

Dr. Dan Hoesing, Schuyler Community Schools (Schuyler site)

Mr. Steve Hotovy, Nebraska State College System (Lincoln site)

Mr. Gary Needham, Educational Service Unit 9 (Lincoln site)

Mr. Mary Niemiec, University of Nebraska (Lincoln site)

Mr. Randy Schmailzl, Metro Community College (Omaha site)

Mr. Steven Stortz, Alt. for Stephen Hamersky, Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School (Lincoln site)

Dr. Bob Uhing, ESU 1 (Wayne site)




MEMBERS/LIAISONS ABSENT:  Mr. Derek Bierman; Yvette Holly, Dr. Mike Lucas; Mr. Greg Maschman, and Mr. Darren Oestmann; Ms. Brenda Decker; Mr. Brent Gaswick, and Mr. Gary Targoff




Co-Chair, Gary Needham, called the meeting to order at 9:01 am CT.  The meeting notice posted to the NITC Web site and the Nebraska Public Meeting Calendar December 12, 2014.  The agenda was posted to the NITC Web site December 30, 2014 and updated February 13, 2015.  The Open Meeting Statutes were located on the southeast corner of the NET Board Room. Ms. Lopez-Urdiales called the roll and found 10 voting members or alternates present. A quorum was reached in order to conduct official business. Members and guests introduced themselves.




Mr. Hotovy moved to approve the meeting agenda as presented.  Mr. Brown seconded.   Roll call vote: Brown-Yes, Chrisman-Yes, Dunning-Yes, Stortz-Yes, Hoesing-Yes, Hotovy-Yes, Maschman-Yes, Needham-Yes, Schmailzl-Yes, and Uhing-Yes. Results: Yes-10, No-0, Abstained-0. Motion carried.


Ms. Niemiec arrived to the meeting.




Mr. Uhing moved to approve the December 17, 2014 as presented. Ms.  Niemiec seconded. Roll call vote: Uhing-Yes, Schmailzl-Yes, Niemiec-Yes, Needham-Yes, Maschman-Yes, Hotovy-Yes, Hoesing-Yes, Stortz-Yes, Dunning-Yes, Chrisman-Yes, and Bierman-Yes. Results: Yes-11, No-0, Abstained-0. Motion carried.


Mr. Rolfes provided a historical background on Network Nebraska and its partnerships prior to the presentation.



Michael Ruhrdanz, Director of Information Technology Services, UNL


Internet2 –Overview.  Internet2 is a private network built specifically to support the needs of higher education.  It is managed by the University Community with 252 members from U.S. universities.  It is an exceptionally fast, high capacity network (100G/sec) with very low latency.  It enables applications not otherwise capable of operating across the internet via LOLA (LOwLAtencyaudio/visual system).  There are 41 Regional and State Education Networks Interconnect with Internet2


Internet2 and Nebraska.  The University of Nebraska-Lincoln connects to Internet2 through a 100Gb/sec network connection to Kansas City.  Internet2 is made available to all Network Nebraska participants.  No one needs to do anything special to use Internet2 –the network itself makes the decision regarding how best to route network traffic.


Internet2 Commercial Peering Service.  Internet2 has installed direct peering connections to over 80 of the most popular service providers such as Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Netflix, and Apple.  This helps to ensure that bottlenecks that periodically exist within the Internet don’t impact education.  This also reduces latency to the most popular services through a reduction in network hops and less constrained network segments.


Internet2 –“NET+” Services.  This is a means to acquire services that are commonly used within education.  It is not simply a buying consortium.  Vendors cannot request to become part of the NET+ program –Internet2 members themselves must champion a service.  One contract is developed including the terms and conditions that most education institutions demand.  It potentially saves a great deal of procurement and legal staff time.  Only a limited number of services of the same type will be included in the NET+ program.


Council members were given an opportunity to ask questions.




These are posted on the NITC website. 


LB 49:  A BILL FOR AN ACT relating to schools; to require formation of allied systems as prescribed.


This bill has been introduced by Senator Sheer.


LB 371:  A BILL FOR AN ACT relating to education; to create the Nebraska Council for Educational Success; and to provide powers and duties.


The bill was introduced by Senator Sullivan.  A hearing was held on January 27.


LB 402:  A BILL FOR AN ACT relating to education; to amend sections 79-1336 and 79-1337, Reissue Revised Statutes of Nebraska, and section 9-812, Revised Statutes Cumulative Supplement, 2014; to change and eliminate provisions relating to distance education incentives; to harmonize provisions; and to repeal the original sections.


The bill was introduced Senator Baker.  A hearing has been scheduled for March 2. 


LB 519 (not in meeting docs):  A BILL FOR AN ACT relating to education; to amend sections 79-1001, 79-1003, 79-1007.11, 79-1017.01, and 85-1412, Reissue Revised Statutes of Nebraska, and section 9-812, Revised Statutes Cumulative Supplement, 2014; to change provisions relating to the Nebraska Education Improvement Fund; to provide for best practices aid, grant programs, and assistance as prescribed; to provide duties for the State Board of Education, the State Department of Education, the Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education, and the Department of Labor; to change provisions relating to state aid to schools; to harmonize provisions; to repeal the original sections; and to outright repeal section 79-2306, Reissue Revised Statutes of Nebraska.


The bill was introduced Senator Sullivan.  The bill proposes that beginning in July 2016, the lottery fund would be redistributed differently than it has been in the past.


LB 520:  A BILL FOR AN ACT relating to education; to amend sections 79-1336 and 79-1337, Reissue Revised Statutes of Nebraska, and section 9-812, Revised Statutes Cumulative Supplement, 2014; to change and eliminate provisions relating to distance education incentives; to harmonize provisions; and to repeal the original sections.


This is another bill introduced by Senator Sullivan for redistribution of funds which will include early childhood.  A hearing has been scheduled for March 2.


LB 589:  A BILL FOR AN ACT relating to education funding; to amend section 9-812, Revised Statutes Cumulative Supplement, 2014; to provide for allocation of the Nebraska Education Improvement Fund; and to repeal the original section.


The bill was introduced by Senator Pansing Brooks.  This bill also affects lottery funds.  A hearing is scheduled for March 2.


Mr. Rolfes reminded the Council that they can sign up for Bill Tracker from the Legislative website.



Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager


Project Management Report (2/1/2015), Tom Rolfes.  Mr. Rolfes presented the monthly Network Nebraska enterprise report provided to the Technical Panel.  He recommended that Network Nebraska be concluded as an NITC enterprise project on 7/1/2015 as public K-20 participation has reached 100%.  After 7/1/2015, the project will be primarily be dealing with operations, reliability and growth in the private K-12 and private higher education sectors.


NNAG Meeting Notes.  The Network Nebraska Advisory Group held a special meeting to discuss dynamic provisioning of Internet access.  If the project could slim down the bandwidth actually ordered from providers, then it could lower the administrative costs for participants.  Cost avoidance dollars would be used on applications related to the transport and management of Internet access.  Network Nebraska has had a 100% retention of its membership during its eight year existence.


Today, Harvard University will be making an announcement about Network Nebraska  being a “Bright Idea”, and being recognized as an innovative government program.  The press release will be out today.


Walter Weir, new NITC Commissioner, joined the meeting.


E-rate Modernization


The Office of the CIO is in the process of filing e-Rate applications for the State of Nebraska.  The deadline is March 26.  The filing process takes place completely online. 


RFP 4862 Update


The RFP was released to get bids for the Internet egress for Omaha.  The unit cost is projected to drop from $1.35 to $.67 per megabit.  The blended Network Nebraska Internet rate will be about $.93 per megabit.  Partners will be asked to look at their usage reports in order to better inform their needs to order Internet.




Review of 2014-16 Action Items


Digital Education is one the strategic initiatives.  The Education Council takes a lead role in developing action items towards accomplishing this initiative.  The co-chairs discussed options to develop the action items.  Most of the current action items pertain to K-12.  The co-chairs would like to have a brainstorming session to address issues and develop action items to bring back to the Council for review and discussion.  Mr. Rolfes recommended that the following questions be part of the discussion: 

·       Network Nebraska will be completed as an enterprise project by summer 2015:  What and how do we include this as a continued service? What additional services or capabilities does the Council and the participants want Network Nebraska to implement?

o   Future Policies

o   Future Shared practices

By group consensus, the council agreed with the approach and tasks.  Members who volunteered to be part of the task group were Burke Brown, Mike Carpenter, Dan Hoesing, and Steve Hotovy.  If others were interested, they were to contact Mr. Rolfes.


Task Group Membership.


Task group membership may change due to the NITC Initiative revisions and Statewide Technology Plan action items.  The task groups have not met and were not asked to meet until the new action items are further developed.




State colleges, Steve Hotovy.  From the systemwide level, the shared student information system continues to be an excellent example of collaboration.  There have been a number of upgrades that have been implemented.  Don Mihulka was acknowledged for his efforts with the student information system implementation and is currently working on getting the student dashboards implemented.  Dr. Gabrielle Banick met with their staff regarding the transfer initiative which went live January 2015.  There are already 6,500 equivalencies. Peru state is upgrading their system with the State Department of Administrative Services Master Lease Program.  This is another example of collaboration.  The Electronic Transcript Software is working with all state college entities.  The agency is looking at an upgrade to their gateway payment software.  The RFP process is underway.  It is anticipated that implementation would occur at the end of the calendar year.


Mr. Dunning, Wayne State College, reported that there were a number of departments looking to IT to help with business process automation.  The potentially negative news is that there are number of state college offices looking at the level of Return On Investment (ROI) regarding IT processes and implementation. 


Community colleges.  There was no update.


Independent colleges, Mike Carpenter.  No report.  Mr. Carpenter wanted to comment that today’s discussions were very encouraging.


University of Nebraska, Mary Niemiec.  Ms. Niemiec would like to demonstrate the transcripts module at a future Education Council meeting.  The University of Nebraska Medical Center is exploring “simulations” for classroom learning.  The University of Nebraska became a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). In addition, the University continues to work with the other states that are currently not members.  An internal dashboard has been developed.  It is database driven and meant to be used by academic divisions such as financial aid, admissions.  If other entities are interested, they were asked to contact Ms. Niemiec for code.  Mr. Weir also stated that the servers have been refreshed.  He also reported that the University is working on a cloud first strategy.  Blackboard will be moved to the cloud.  Box is already in the cloud, as well as Office365 with no cost for email.  He will share a document from EDUCAUSE with the chairs.  Dr. Fimple reported that there are now 19 states participating in SARA.  There is a push in the south to get more of the southeastern states to participate.  On May 14, the “Partnering for Success”, 2015 Innovation in Pedagogy and Technology Symposium, will be held by UNL at the Cornhusker Marriott Hotel.  Members of the Education Council were invited.  The Symposium organizers are looking for presenters.  It was suggested the Council do a presentation about the Council and the NITC. 


K-12 public & private.  Burke Brown reported that the NESA writing tests have been completed with relatively no issues.   He thanked the leadership of Network Nebraska for engaging the Nebraska Department of Education and the online testing contractor, DRC.  Schools are gearing up for the Math testing.  Net+ services would be a great opportunity for collaboration.  Mr.  Stortz, on behalf of private schools, is pleased with NNAG’s recommendation to admit the Lincoln Diocese Catholic schools as a single school system.




There was no “Other” business.




Agenda items for the next meeting included:

·       Report from the action items working group.

·       Demo of transfer.nebraska




The new NITC Chair, Felix Davidson, will be invited to the next Education Council meeting.  The Lincoln location will be determined at a later time.




Mr. Brown moved to adjourn.  Mr. Hotovy seconded.  All were in favor.  Motion carried by unanimous voice vote.


The meeting was adjourned at 11:35 a.m.


Minutes were taken by Lori Lopez Urdiales and reviewed by Tom Rolfes of the Office of the CIO/NITC.