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Nebraska Information Technology Commission

Friday, March 18, 2005, 9:00 a.m.

Nebraska Educational Telecommunication Commission

33rd and Holdrege, Lincoln, Nebraska

(with NVCN sites in North Platte, Omaha)



Mr. Arnold Bateman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Dr. Michael Chipps, Mid-Plains Community College (North Platte Videoconference Site)

Dr. Terry Haack, Bennington Public Schools
Ms. Yvette Holly, University of Nebraska Medical Center
Dr. Jack Huck, Southeast Community College

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

Mr. Chuck Lenosky, Creighton University (Omaha Videoconference Site)

Mr. Dennis Linster, Wayne State College

Mr. Mike Pate, Millard Public Schools

Dr. Ed Rastovski, Wahoo Public Schools

Mr. Alan Wibbels, Educational Service Unit 10


Ms. Brenda Decker, Chief Information Officer

Mr. Michael Beach, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications
Ms. Carna Pfiel, Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education

MEMBERS/LIAISONS ABSENT: Linda Engel, Nebraska City Public Schools; Wayne Fisher, Department of Education; Tip O’Neill, Alt. representing Independent Colleges; Dr. Tom Krepel, Chadron State College; and Mr. Al Schneider, Educational Service Unit 5

CALL TO ORDER, ELECTRONIC POSTING, ROLL CALL Dr. Huck called the meeting to order at 9:05 a.m. It was stated that the meeting notice was posted to the NITC and Nebraska Public Meeting Calendar Web sites on February 16, 2005 and that the meeting agenda was posted to the NITC Web site on March 16, 2005. There were 10 voting members present at the time of roll call. A quorum existed to conduct official business.


Mr. Bateman moved to approve the March 18th agenda as presented. Mr. Pate seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Bateman-Yes, Chipps-Yes, Holly-Yes, Huck-Yes, Johnson-Yes, LeDuc-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, Linster-Yes, Pate-Yes, Rastovski-Yes, and Wibbels-Yes. Results: 10-Yes, 0-No. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.


Mr. Linster moved to approve the January 21, 2005 minutes as corrected. Mr. Pate seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Wibbels-Yes, Rastovski-Yes, Pate-Yes, Linster-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, LeDuc-Yes, Johnson-Yes, Huck-Yes, Holly-Yes, Chipps-Yes, and Bateman-Yes. Results: 10-Yes, 0-No. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.


There was no public comment


Brenda Decker, Chief Information Officer, and Steve Henderson,

Ms. Becker informed the council that on February 9th Governor Heineman announced her appointment as the new Chief Information Officer for the State of Nebraska. She has been an employee with the State of Nebraska for 27 years. Steve Henderson will be the administrator for Policy and Project Management and will be working with the NITC and the councils. Steve Schafer will remain with the organization overseeing the financial statutory responsibilities. NITC staff will continue to staff the NITC and its councils. In the past, the CIO has primarily played a strategic planning role for state government. Governor Heineman’s vision for the CIO is to oversee and combine the operational and policy aspects of I.T. for the State of Nebraska. The organization will have a little over 400 employees. The new NITC Chair, Lieutenant Governor Sheehy, is interested in meeting with each of the councils.

Mr. Haack arrived to the meeting at 9:10am. Mr. Lenosky join via videoconference at 9:14am.

Mr. Henderson reported on the March 15th NITC meeting. This was the first meeting for Lieutenant Governor Rick Sheehy, in his new role as the Chair of the NITC. Governor Heineman provided opening remarks. His leading sentence dealt with education and his commitment to the NITC’s role of assisting the state with policy and project planning. The NITC presented Governor Heineman with an appreciation plaque. Senator Phil Erdman has been appointed by Governor Heineman to serve as a Legislative Liaison with the NITC. He is very interested in IT and will serve as an ex-officio member. One of the updates provided at the meeting was on the NITC Strategic Initiatives. It became apparent through the Strategic Initiative process that there are issues of commonality and similarities between sectors such as creating better telecommunications infrastructure for the state. The Commission urged the NITC councils to evaluate whether the strategic initiatives represent the direction they wish to recommend. Staff plans to organize a meeting of all three councils to discuss commonalities and future direction. The September 16th NITC meeting will be a joint meeting with the Education Council.

Members were encouraged to review the NITC Strategic Initiatives Update (PDF 102k) document.

Mr. Wibbels stated that the State of Nebraska now has a champion of IT development efforts in Governor Heineman. The NITC councils need to take action. Distance education needs are not only vital to educational entities but are also vital to public safety, health, local government, and libraries. Governor Heineman has also met with the school superintendents in central Nebraska.

LB467 & LB689, LB689-AM403, LB689A, Unofficial markup version of amended LB689
Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager

The NITC web site has links to all legislative IT bills and it is updated on a regular basis. NOL also has a bill tracker available to Nebraska’s citizens that is available via the Unicameral web site. Senator Stuhr’s priority bill LB577 was voted out of committee. Senator Raikes has made LB689 his priority bill. LB689’s amendment has an appropriation bill proposing $10 million for the work of the task force. Full funding may not be awarded in the first year. The Department of Education was asked what amount of funding is needed to prevent contract expiration for schools. Depending on which scenario is implemented, the amount could range between $3.57 and $4.2 million for the panhandle and southwest regions. The northeast region may have to wait until FY2007 so all the sites could be retrofitted at one time. In the line of priority bills, LB689 is moving up the Legislative calendar.

At the January 21, 2005 meeting on the matter of LB 689, creating a Distance Education Enhancement Task Force, the Education Council passed the following motion:

Ed Rastovski moved, and Jeff Johnson seconded, to recommend to the NITC that they ask the Legislature’s Education Committee to consider broadening the Distance Education Enhancement Task Force membership to include the following members, as nominated by their respective professional associations: a public school teacher or representative (Nebraska State Education Association), private/parochial teacher or representative (Nebraska Council of American Private Education), school administrator or representative (Nebraska Council of School Administrators), and a school board member or representative (Nebraska Association of School Boards), one of whom who is proficient in assistive and accessible technologies; and also to broaden the higher education membership to include one representative each from the community college, state college, University of Nebraska, and private/independent college sectors.

The Education Committee decided not to include a parochial or an assistive technology representative. Mr. Rolfes developed a membership worksheet (Word 24k). After discussions regarding the task force membership, it was recommended that the most effective means would be for the sector associations (Nebraska School Board Association, Superintendents, etc.) to go on record recommending persons to serve. Mr. Rolfes will be out of town this week and asked council members to assist in keeping track of the bill.


Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager

Members were asked to thoroughly review the revised document. Discussions occurred regarding the paper and how to best utilize it. The Technical Panel has reviewed the document, and also invited K-12 representatives to their meeting to provide input. The NITC reviewed the document at the March 15th meeting but wanted more time to review the document prior to taking action. Ms. Decker stated that the NITC did recommend that the Office of the NITC staff the Distance Education Enhancement Task Force. The following suggestions were made:

  • Revise the executive summary to be no longer than 2-3 pages in length, and to utilize language that a non-technical person will be able to read and understand.
  • Document needs to be more apparent as to where we want to go from here.
  • The circle diagrams need to be more accurate than what is depicted in regards to connections/interconnects currently in place, as well as, what is possible.
  • Include an emphasis on online learning and educational partnerships as well.

Mr. Rolfes will revise the document and send out to members for their review. Discussion occurred regarding the need to increase awareness about Network Nebraska and distance learning. The University of Nebraska is developing a Network Nebraska CD that can be used for presentations, conferences, and meetings to build public awareness. The Community Council is planning to conduct a mini-conference on e-commerce. It was suggested that perhaps the Education Council consider a joint mini-conference on e-learning in conjunction with the Community Council.

Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager

If LB689 is passed, members were interested in providing input and recommendations to the Distance Education Task Force. The task force is responsible for submitting a plan to the Clerk of the Legislature, the Education Committee of the Legislature, the Transportation and Telecommunications Committee of the Legislature and the Appropriations Committee. Mr. Rolfes developed an issue worksheet (Word 28k) that depicted the ten recommendation areas of the DEETF plan. It was suggested to include definitions for the column titled – Technical, Financial, Relational, and Instructional. It was also recommended to include an item #11 Standards, Guidelines, and Variances. It was agreed to hold an all day work session on April 22nd beginning at 9 a.m. to develop the recommendations.


Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager

As an informational item to be given consideration for future action, Mr. Rolfes informed the council that eight council members’ membership terms will be expiring as of June 30th. Members were asked to consider renewals and/or to begin communicating with their sectors for recommendations for the memberships listed below:

Higher Education: Yvette Holly (Public Universities), Dr. Tom Krepel (State Colleges), Chuck Lenosky (Independent Universities), Dr. Jack Huck (Community College), and an Independent Colleges representative is still to be named.

K-12: Linda Engel (Teachers), Joe LeDuc (Private Parochial Education), Ed Reastovski (Administrators), and Al Schneider (Educational Service Units)


The Education Council will have a working session on April 22. The next business meeting of the Education Council will be held on May 20, 2005, 9:00 a.m. at the Millard Public Schools Administration Building. Agenda items for discussion include meeting jointly with other NITC councils, discussion of best practices, and further review of the white paper. The July 15th meeting of the Education Council will be hosted by Wayne State College.

Mr. Johnson moved to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Bateman seconded the motion. Roll call vote: Bateman-Yes, Chipps-Yes, Holly-Yes, Huck-Yes, Johnson-Yes, LeDuc-Yes, Lenosky-Yes, Linster-Yes, Pate-Yes, Rastovski-Yes, and Wibbels-Yes. Results: 10-Yes, 0-No. The motion was carried by unanimous vote.

The meeting was adjourned at 11:25 a.m. A tour of the NETC building conducted by Mike Beach was provided for interested members.

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

Meeting Minutes