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July 16, 1998
Creighton University Skutt Student Center
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, Nebraska

Members Present: Bill Berndt, Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Medical Center, Omaha; Richard Gilliland, Metro Community College, Omaha; Uma Gupta, Creighton University, Omaha; Jack Huck, Southeast Community College, Lincoln; Keith Bartels, Board Member, Lincoln; Susan Fees, Teacher, Christ the King Catholic School, Omaha; Kent Hendrickson, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; Jeff Johnson, Teacher, Centennial Public School, Ulysses; Art Tanderup, Teacher, Tekamah-Herman Public School, Blair; Alan Wibbels, Technology Director, ESU #10, Kearney; Dennis Linster, Wayne State College, Wayne; John Stoll (for John Muller), Bellevue University, Bellevue

Members not Present: Robert Burns, Peru State College, Peru; Terry Miller, Administrator, ESU #13, Scottsbluff; Kristine Wolzen, Superintendent, Arlington Public Schools, Arlington

Ex-officio Members Present: Dean Bergman, Administrator, Technology Center, NDE; David Powers, Executive Director, Post Secondary Coordinating Commission, Lincoln; Colleen Hendrick, Secretary, Creighton University, Omaha

Others Present: Mike Winkle, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, Lincoln

The fifth meeting of the Education Council of the Nebraska Information Technology Commission started at approximately 9:15 a.m. Jack Huck chaired the meeting. The revised agenda was distributed and further revisions were made. Under Information Items, Internet 2 was added as number five and ESU Levy was added as number six. Jack asked for approval of the June 18th minutes that were distributed earlier. Richard Gilliland moved to adopt the minutes. This was seconded by Jeff Johnson. The minutes were approved.

At this point in the meeting the appointment of Woody Ziegler to replace Jan Dodge was discussed. Dean Bergman gave some background information on Woody. Woody Ziegler is the co-principal at the York Elementary School. Last year he was selected as a Milken Educator. This appointment came about because of his interest and involvement in technology. Dean stated that he will be an outstanding member of this group and a good contributor. Art Tanderup moved and Keith Bartels seconded to approve the appointment of Woody Ziegler to replace Jan Dodge.
The Council unanimously approved the appointment.

Next on the agenda was the Approval of the Revised Proposal Forms and the Risk Assessment Document. Mike Winkle distributed the two documents to the members. It was noted that the subcommittee met last week and made some changes to the two documents. Jack indicated that the subcommittee met after the NITC meeting to work on these documents and to streamline the forms. Jack gave the Council some time to review the handouts and to prepare for discussion. This will be the cornerstone of how we will propose to gather information to help this Council make good decisions. The key question is does this provide us the opportunity to gather the information that we have talked about in previous meetings upon which this group will be able to make good decisions and appropriate recommendations to the NITC.

Bill Berndt asked for guidance. He stated that he has a great deal of difficulty with the Risk Assessment Document because it tries to pigeon-hole everything into one or another little category. I donít know how you can do this. Pick a question at random; say on the last page number eight. What is the magnitude of change the project imposes on the recipients? What does that mean? I donít know how anybody could evaluate this. What is the total project cost? You are going to say that a project that is between $50,000 and $250,000 is less risky than one thatís a million dollars. Might be, might not be. I just think these things are not quantifiable, if you will, because they are not quantifiable issues. What if one of these things is not applicable to a given project? How do you take that into account? You write NA, but then how do you put that into your tally of scores? This is a numerical assessment. You are going to come up with a number.
That number will give you a ranking and that ranking is all important. Then on November 15th somebody makes a recommendation to the Governor. I just find this very hard to deal with. Iíve spent a lot of time reviewing grant applications and to try to pigeon-hole every little issue into a quantifiable device I think is going to be fought with great difficulty.

Jack responded that this is a very good question. Letís back up one step and then come back to your concern. I donít want to lose that. If you look at the document, there are four major categories; which are Goals and Objectives, Implementation, Impact, and Budget. Those are the four areas that were generally determined to be the areas of interest that we would have as a Council. One question we need to ask ourselves is are those the right four areas that weíre interested in knowing about in order to assess a project. Then within each of those four areas, you get to the specificity that Bill was just talking about, and that is the sub-topics under that general area. The next question is, are those the right sub-topics, are those the right areas weíre interested in? Then the question Bill raises is equally important and that is is this the level of detail that weíre interested in and is it an appropriate scoring system? Is it the kind of instrument we want to use to do this? This is our working instrument; whatever will help us make determinations about recommendations to the NITC.

Bill commented that the areas are fine and that he would not be adverse to using the questions as guides to how you do the evaluation. But to stick a number on each of those questions and then add them up and say, that is your score; that part bothers me. I think the areas are fine. They cover any conceivable issue. I may be the only one with this difficulty.

Jack stated that this is a good start for discussion. The issue that Bill is raising is the scoring system that is attached to this process. Jack asked the question of Bill; if the general areas, maybe the specific areas, seem to be on target, if you didnít have the scoring system would you just then have folks answer those or speak to those different areas and then what would you say about how you bring those answers into the assessment process?

Bill remarked that he hasnít thought about this thoroughly enough to tell you that. I think all the questions, there may be others. There are some that probably are not relevant to every project, and thatís OK. Using them as a guide to how you do the evaluation is fine. I donít see anything wrong with that. I think it would require, under each of the four topics, that who ever does the assessment write an evaluation of the goals and objectives and then use these questions as guides on how to do that. When this is all finished, whoever the evaluator is, has to make a judgment call of whether this is on target or not on target. I think it is a better judgment call to do it that way than trying to stick a number on each of these questions. I think you are going to get caught in all kinds of problems with that sort of approach. The less quantitative, fuzzier kind of assessment, I think is fine because I think you will be able to assess whether or not the project is truly an outstanding one or whether it is a border line one.

Jack stated that what Bill is saying is that we look for the totality of the information that is provided to us and, after looking at the totality of that information, then you make a judgment thumbs up or thumbs down. Bill stated that this is what he is saying. Jack stated that this is an alternative approach.

Dean asked how will this be used and by whom? Is it the intent of this group to use it or is it the intent of the technology review panel to use? Where will it go and how and who will use it? We need to clarify that. If it is going to be used as a basis for our decision, thatís one thing. Perhaps the technicall review panel needs something different.

Mike commented that he has some thoughts and this group can take them anywhere it wants. These documents are for this group. So whatever numbers come out; they do not go to the
NITC. It is for this group. The approach we took was do you want to design a document where you sit down with the proposals and do the risk assessments or do you want staff support in accordance with working with technical review which we envision. What we are trying to do is come up with a document where we give some sort of summary, in some sort of grouping so that you can either look in detail at those projects you want to or some sort of mechanism that allows staff to make recommendations. We could approach it by doing summaries for each of the four categories. Maybe thatís what we want to do. Weíll go any way you want, but itís a crucial question. Do you want to design a document where you sit down and do the risk assessment or do you want staff to provide some kind of avenue, where you are dealing with summaries that will go into detail if necessary.
Bill asked where it says Evaluated by ______________, is that somebody around this table? Jack commented that wasnít the view when the instrument was designed, but it could be. Thatís the question Mike and I are speaking to. If thatís our desire, we do determine what is going to happen with this so if we determine that people around these tables are actually doing the evaluations that may send us in one direction. The view in which these were designed was that staff, the Ed Council support people who will be assigned to us, Mike and others, would do preliminary review or the first review; then present their findings to us which we would then utilize to come to final conclusions about those projects. But if thatís not comfortable, if you all want to do that job yourself, Iím almost willing to bet Mike wonít shed tears.

Keith stated that was one of the reasons for having staff do it; itís assumed that around the table people know about the needs of education but donít necessarily know about all the technology of education and the staff would know the technology in order to answer those kinds of questions.

Mike stated there would be a primary responsibility for risk assessment after which there would be a technical review. This group would assign a support group that would be looking at this document. We would have to change the procedure; change the process. It might be a little bulkier, but weíll figure it out.

Jack asked if there would be staff technical review no matter what we decide. Mike stated that we have to do that. Jack also commented that Keith is right in that the technical review was envisioned in what we were talking about earlier, that the staff doing the first review would be included in that process, the technical part would be part of the staff review.

Uma asked if we know what criteria the staff will be using? If we do go that route, will we know on what basis they are going to make recommendations? Jack and Mike stated that is what this document is for. Jack stated that this document is our guide, either to the staff for the first shot, or to ourselves.

Mike stated that what we did on the sub-committee, once again, was try to modify the risk assessment to make it reflective of the questions we were imposing for the new commission; we were asking for new proposals. We really didnít look at the numbers; the numbers are arbitrary.
I think you could go so far, it would be real easy to say if weíve got the right general area and the right kind of information that we are interested in, then how we ask the staff to give it to us, if the staff is the first shot, is up to us also. If weíre more comfortable with the summary narrative from the staff, then get rid of the numbers; there is no marriage to those whatsoever. If narrative feels better, I think the staff could provide us with narrative.

Alan stated that one of the ways we could come up with a narrative, since weíre Web based, they just simply click on one of those 4 responses and you print out a report. Say you guys get the answer for each one, no numeric evaluation, we could quickly look over it and make some decisions. Whether there are lots of things when the outcome is not clear or foggy, we look at the cost; if itís going to be over a million dollars and they donít know what they are asking for, I would say that is a high risk.

Mike commented that is not a bad idea. And they could very quickly review it and generate a report just by hitting print.

Bill asked may I also assume that the assessment document will float to everybody who will write a proposal so they know how evaluations are to be done? Jack stated that weíll be talking about that later in the agenda, but I think that is a safe assumption. Mike stated Yes. Right now the government one is posted so everyone can see the document.

Jack stated that having done one of these for Terry Millerís distance learning project, not this form but the original one, it was a mess. I had to bring in three of my assistant engineers and we sat down for half a day and tried to figure out how we would answer this. And a lot of them were not applicable to the way it was designed. This will be much better. We know that there will be parts of this, that a particular area will not apply, and thatís OK. The response will be to the people doing the proposal that this one doesnít apply.

Richard asked the question will this be done once a year prior to a legislative session? Jack stated that we wonít be receiving things all the time? The question was then asked if there is a funding cycle for state money? Dean stated that for the regular budget cycle, I think we will have to conform to that. Jack stated that he thinks we overlay. We havenít talked about what precedes that last deadline. Whether it is once a year or twice a year or every month. Dean commented that there may be proposals from K-12 year around.

The question was asked if they will be able to access at any point of the year? That is a headache. What kind of numbers are we looking at? Ten? Ten million? Jack commented that he is not sure there is any pot of money set aside thatís accessible. The purpose of this process is to prioritize requests for future funding. So there is no money sitting there in a pot that people are getting anxious about. It is a matter of will a particular request even make it on the table for legislative consideration in future sessions. I think that is a different approach.

Dave commented exactly; in other words, the reason I was supporting the concept originally was I want the pot to be requested. I want the pot to be an enthusiastic supporter. The last time we came and asked them for a pot it was only for post secondary. We recommended 5.1 million dollars worth of funding and none of it was approved. But only if this group endorses it and enthusiastically supports it and NITC recommends it does it have a chance. The apportions committee last time ate us alive by saying we didnít have a plan.

Mike stated that we just had the same discussion prior to the meeting over whether itís going to come up at the end of the general meeting. Having explained what is behind the technology issues, it is a crossfire and weíre using this process as a way to make that point.

Dave answered in response to Richard, it will happen once every bi-annual big time. Prior to October 15th weíve got to act. It will be massive if it goes the direction I want it to go. I want it to be big numbers. I want there to be a request for a satellite. I want the request for lots of hardware. I want you guys to have what you need to do anything you want. So I want you guys to really knock yourselves out by August/September. The rest of the time I really donít know, because Iím not sure what youíre going to be doing the rest of the time. I could imagine a big year. But if you all of a sudden have tuition revenues from colleges, youíve got property tax money coming from school districts, youíve got tuition dollars, and you want to spend the money on instructional technology. That is wonderful. I would like to think it would be engaged and favorably recommended.

Dean stated that he thinks it is appropriate, I agree with Dave. I think the major thrust will come in the budget time line; I donít think there is any doubt about that. As you recall in the statute, we also have to deal with some items that come up out of that timeline; the core services money for service units for example. Thatís a pot thatís already there. We have to act on any proposal that comes through as specified in the statutes. The same thing is true in Rule 88, the school technology fund. That money is already there but we have to act on it. At times when that is going to be distributed it may be out of synch with the legislative schedule, so I donít think there is any doubt weíre going to have to allow ourselves to act on proposals that emerge throughout the year, although the major thrust of it will be according to the state agencies and colleges timeline.

Mike stated that in the meeting I read the statutes of the lottery commission and legal counsel, etc. What specifically goes to funding programs is that the technical review takes place and so we talked about how to get a technical review in process. It also mentions in item 24 that we report to NITC of this Council but neither rule 88 or lottery funds really have an impact on terms of how to set-up a priority list. Dean said he would agree with this. I think itís kind of a rubber stamp process.

Mike remarked that as I put it to them what we want to do is make the technical review very transparent. They do it anyway so weíre just getting both groups and taking their people and whoever we need to add and do one technical review. Itís really kind of an information item thatís quite beneficial to this group because we can see where projects are being planned and look for opportunities for collaboration, but it really doesnít fall into a priority process that we are faced with this budget issue.

Dean remarked that he would like to make one more point of clarification. It gets back to Billís comment relative to this Risk Assessment Document. The initial document came from Bill Miller in the Department of Communications designed for use for state agencies. Is that the intent with this review to use this risk assessment for all proposals for all entities and, if so, does it have to be as detailed as it is here or can we just modify it and use it as we see it?

Mike stated that he was confused. Dean said that the technical review people that were going to use it for their purpose. Mike stated that was for the state. In many discussions with Bill, he has non-educational tattooed on his forehead right now. He doesnít care what procedures or processes we use. Dean asked what is the technical review group going to use as their basis for decisions? Risk assessment or application? Mike stated that the application will be read for the information of technical review; weíll anticipate the risk assessment.

Dean stated then if we modify our form they wonít necessarily use that; theyíll use their own. Mike said No, they will use this form. So weíll be part of that process. What we are envisioning is staff sitting down and working with the technical review. Technical review will probably be just comments. Thatís why when we talkd about Rule 88, I imagine, will be taking place in about 45 seconds, because standards are known in terms of wiring, etc.

Keith commented that it sounds like the brunt of this is going to need to be captured in the early fall, finalized and forwarded in due time, in order to present the package to the legislature, and from what Dave said the principal reason to do this is to present a coherent package to the legislature for the budgeting process. Weíll have to make decisions as to are we going to want to do this kind of review at other times of the year. I donít think we ought to leave it open to colleges, universities, public schools and so forth to put in a proposal whenever they feel like it and then we have to have a meeting to evaluate it. I think if weíre going to get into that we ought to do it once or twice during the year and thatís it. We need to give them a little bit of responsibility in terms of if you want to submit a proposal for this kind of money, youíre going to have to do it under the following kinds of time frames and figure out approximately how many are we looking at because do we really want to sit down with 8,000 applications once a year at this table or if there are only eighty, maybe we do.

Dave commented that the reason I said that is each of you bring voting stock that says you want to put on instructional technology and it is going to a state structure in that program and theyíre asking for our approval on such things. We need to do that every month until we get it to a permanent review process. The things that are going to be connected to the state structure are going to require a bigger process. The question was asked if they are requesting new state dollars to fund them they will have to go through this process. Dave commented that is the dilemma. Bill asked if theyíre not requesting new state dollars it doesnít have to go through this process.
Dave said that unless it plans to be connected to the state infrastructure, I guess. Bill commented that he was not sure what that statement means. Mike commented that there is no way to define that.

Mike reminded the group that NITC does not have formal approval or denial over any budgets and literally any entity, could individually go before the appropriations committee and say, even though we havenít taken this through NITC we are requesting these funds. So if a state senator, particularly one who is sitting on the appropriations committee, decides to push a project through, it could get funded. The comment was made that more likely what would happen is that their fellow state senators would say, wait a minute, we created this technology review process to help us do this. I donít know enough to vote about this until it goes through the proper process.

It was stated that is exactly what happened when we introduced the concept. When we went to the appropriations committee with a bunch of stuff, they said weíve got to create something to help with this funding. This was six or eight years ago, and so the NEB*SAT Coordinating Council was created.

Jack commented thatís exactly right and this is what was created; good, bad or otherwise. Mike stated that both the executive and legislative analysists are saying is that because they expect all expenditures to go through this body; that in essence NEB*SAT Coordinating Council is sun setting. All of those responsibilities were moved to this group and, in fact, itís like I told Alan before the meeting that at the next meeting I intend to request an agenda item to come forward and review all the existing NEB*SAT expenditures to bring forward the capital expenditures because we are preparing those now and we need to have some substantial discussions on what we do with NEB*SAT programs, like the training funds program, which is a very good program.

Mike stated that yes it is and we need to get that in this process and discuss if there are going to be administrative changes to that program and, the reason I thought of it, was because unfortunately at the last NITC meeting where they talked about state wide training, Dave Wageman popped up and said thereís money set aside in NEB*SAT for state wide training. Right now itís earmarked for education, so if this group intends to keep it to that we need to get some formal proposals through. Jack stated that this gives you a sense of the two groups and more to come. Bill stated that this is very helpful.

Jack asked if we could go back to the document for just a moment and share with you what I think I hear being said and letís see if this is close or not. This one Iím real shaky on. Iím not sure what Iím hearing. Does anybody want to tell us more about an initial review by staff as opposed to this group. I could be at a different place than you are, but I think Iím hearing a tendency towards an initial review by staff; using these guidelines as guidelines; ditch the numbers, and have a single line summary perhaps. Bill stated that he thought that sounded good; pull out the numbers and put in a statement.

Dave asked if you would leave A. 1 and take out the bullet points? Mike stated whatever the item staff chose under that question. Jack stated if you forget about the numbers, you donít associate a magnet with it. But let me do a real simple one, page 4 under D. Budget 1. What is the total project cost? There will be a one liner under D. 1 that says: $1,253,418.00. Thatís a summary statement for that item. There will be similar summary statements for every item listed on the sheet. Thatís what I think Iím hearing from the group in terms of where we might be. Is this accurate? Bill stated, Yes, I think thatís what I heard and thatís good.

The statement was made that we mentioned the idea of non-applicable. But if weíve got any statement in here thatís not applicable then we probably shouldnít have the statement included at all. Bill stated that it might not be applicable to most projects, but there will be some projects where it will be. The staff will have the option to simply say non-applicable. That can be their one line summary. Jack commented that we would then take that as a group and use that summary as the basis for prioritizing our eventual project.

Kent stated that he doesnít want to muddy the waters but are we going to allow the staff to, when theyíre looking through these projects, give them enough latitude that if they can see something there that they would recommend that would make it, say take it from a project that doesnít look quite as good to something that would be successful. Are we going to allow them that kind of latitude? Jack remarked that is a good point. What youíre really saying is thereís a summary under each one of those and thereís also the opportunity for a staff comment and/or staff recommendation and so your question is would this group be interested in those staff recommendations. I certainly would. The comment was also made that we donít want to see somebody taking the time to go through and put in for a project that the staff knows would be a high risk type of a thing, but if they were to do this using some technology that they didnít realize was out there and the staff says, well if they would do this, then it would be a very good project. The risk factor would drop away and it would allow for that type of thing to happen. Mike stated that this would be very acceptable because it goes along with the philosophy that I heard from NITC. Jack stated that we need to find ways to make these things happen, not try and bury them and make them not happen. Mike stated that would be very acceptable. In fact it would be a good charge to pass onto the tech review groups.

Uma asked is there an additional role that our group would have after we review the proposals. Will we also be saying what we can do or what they should be doing to make this a better proposal. Quite often you get a terse letter saying, ìBoy, we got so many applications; this was great, but it doesnít help the person who spent hours putting together the proposal. So I think we should have some detail explanation in there as to what we can do to enhance the quality of their proposal. Will that fit somewhere in these forms? Where does that come in?

Jack stated that this is probable. I think what I hear you describing Uma, is a step between our decision making process or maybe a part of our process, but before we get our summary together that goes to the legislature and the executive branch. Hopefully, our role will be, once we know what the overall picture ought to look like, will become one of advocacy in front of legislators and executive staff members, etc., saying hereís what we thing ought to happen for technology in the state of Nebraska, hereís what we believe education ought to be. So certainly we want these people to get to the stage weíre talking about, thatís a part of that picture.

Uma commented that we understand that picture. She stated that she thinks that is the key. Itís not enough that people sitting in this room understand that picture, but the people spending the time to put together the proposals, need to have a clear understanding and vision that we have and that other groups have within the four walls of this room. We need to be able to convey that vision very clearly to those who are spending the time putting together the proposals. Iíve been on the other side of the fence, and I think that can get very frustrating.

Jack stated that he agrees with what Uma has said. He stated he would suggest one of the things to do is that whenever we do come up with a product, weíll want to communicate that product widely, not just to the legislature or the executive branch, but also to school districts throughout the state, post secondary institutions, and to all the education related agencies so they can start to develop a sense of what the picture is.

Richard commented that this might be a better thing for this group to be doing then getting into evaluating 8,000 proposals. He stated that he realizes weíll do some of that, but if weíre in a position to make some statements that are almost of a policy to go out and have the Council look at that say here are the kinds of things that we need to be doing in Nebraska; about compatibility, about avoidance of unnecessary duplication, cost efficiency, and things like that. That is important. I think that was the reason, in part, for the origin of this legislation in the first place.

Dean stated that when the group met to redesign this particular form itself, the categories are still there and we didnít really take that much out of the original. We put the teaser question along with each of the headings as you see listed here. It looks shorter but I think the substance is still there. The assessment document can be taken from the information provided in this form. Mike stated that we took out a few items. We took magnitude out of the questions so we might rip that out of the assessment too.

Bill asked if we wanted a motion on this thing, on one or both of these forms? Jack stated he wants to make sure everybody is clear on whatís happening. This is what people will be asked to do. This is what the staff will be using as guidelines to evaluate, minus the numbers, with the principals we just talked about. We will be doing a summary that will come to us and we will then review and make our final determination for that support. Richard asked when they get this to fill out, they are going to get these guidelines to go with it. Mike stated that if they want them, they will be available. Richard stated that he think itís very important because, what if Alan got this and he didnít know anything about it. Would you know what to do? Alan stated that this is right. Richard stated that this is a real guide. It helps if we are an advisory group and this is what we want the people to have, it helps them get to do the job.

Jack stated that there are no secrets. If you know what questions or how itís going to be used, it helps you formulate putting it all together. Jack commented that this is the document that the proposal uses. Richard was just saying that we will have to come up with something so they will know what the criteria is that are being used. The question was asked have you looked at these with that in mind? Do you think you can take this and do this? Mike answered, Yes, to the best of our ability.

Jack told the group that the group worked on this one first. Then the sub group and Mike really tried to customize that along with the groups help on the risk document; the risk document supports this review.

Mike stated that he would share with the full group what he has kept saying to the subcommittee. I reviewed particularly the risk assessment document as a dynamic document; I mean this is the third draft of it. But when we go through the proposal we are libel to come across something that doesnít make sense. Every time we met as a subcommittee and refined the other document we went through the same thing. We also acknowledged weíre libel to find elements in the proposals coming through that we havenít even thought of yet. Kent commented that he doesnít like the work risk in there. Mike remarked that we can take it out. Kent said to call it an Assessment Document. There are things that we will want to encourage risk and I donít think we should put a negative connotation to it.

Jack stated that what Kent is talking about is you can almost call it the Technology Project Assessment for Education. Thatës what it really is. Kent was moving the approval of the assessment as a supporting piece to that, as weíve discussed the changes in the assessment. Is there a second? Richard stated he would second that. He asked do we have real clarity in terms of what those adjustments are?

Jack stated that Mike is the one who has to capture this. Do you have a real clarity in terms of the adjustments? Mike stated that we are going to take out the numbers. This will be posted as guidelines. The staff will use the same guidelines and be able to put comments for each, a one sentence comment for each one of these questions, and, with as much detail as they feel, they will follow those statements as guidelines. Iím hoping to really get down to a front and back page for the final report.

Bill asked if he could suggest one change on the certification. We need to somehow ask for institutional approval rather than Administratorís Signature. (Back page of the proposal.)

Jack remarked that the interest that generated this is that in some organizations it seems possible that the project and the proposal could be generated without the knowledge of those who needed to know. The interest was the person or persons who need to know ought to know first. We had other lines on here but we got rid of all those and went to the administrative signature because we thought all we want to do is make sure that those who know need to know. My question to you is how do you want to title that line to make sure weíve accomplished that.

Richard stated that for the state department of education we frequently sign forms to them and itís either superintendent, president or something like that, there is a signature line like that. Perhaps a statement could be made in here that states internal procedures for completing such documents for that individual organization, something like that. But from the standpoint of the state department of education, there normally is needed to be some kind of final signature, whatever that might be.

Jack commented that what Richard is talking about. for example, in the case of the state department and in post secondary, we do have stuff that gets submitted and if thereís one page in particular they call their statement of insurances, they wonít accept a signature other than the CEO signature. Thatís the signature they require on the page, and nobody else can sign it.

Bill stated that this is similar to grant application and clearly, at our place, we have procedures for handling that. The Vice Chancellor for academic affairs signs off on all those things; all the grants that go to the federal government; all the things that go to the state, etc. I like the suggestion of somehow wording it so that the usual institutional approval process should be involved, or something. Jack asked if it should be the administrator to authorize? Bill said, yes maybe authorize.

Alan stated that part of where this also came from is on the risk assessment. There used to be a section on that stated has the support of the institution. We got rid of that but part of that is still needed. We need to make sure that they do support it. You would hope they wouldnít sign something that doesnít really perform what they are trying to do.

Jack stated that what I hear you talking about is some kind of authorized signature and a little statement affiliated with that line that talks about normal process for whoever is authorized to do that. Mike can figure that out.

Richard made a comment as to how long can the application be? If you get a grant application and it says hey if itís more than sixteen pages weíre not going to consider it and when people get these guidelines they can look at them and think well, under goals and objectives, I can probably write 15 pages. I think there needs to be more of a concern for the staff and for this group on what kind of restrictions, if any, are going to be placed on how much can be put into this application. This right here would be real nice but I donít think Iíd be able to get all this into this document.

Alan stated we could limit it to one page per section. Bill stated that would be a good starting spot. Jack asked Mike if he had any reaction from the staff input? Mike said that he doesnít have any. They are taking the opposite view from the state perspective when weíre reviewing technology plans that are this thick. I donít want to short change anyone who thinks they need to give necessary information. At the same time I agree, I donít want to have to wade through 100 different letters of support. Richard stated we could start in a limited way.

Mike stated that we could do that because when you get to the budget page, you look down at the bottom, and this comes from the state people, if there are FTEs that has to be on a separate page, itemize the equipment on a separate page, and if the funding mix is different. And then please provide a breakdown of all non state funding sources is on a separate page. There is a lot of detail being provided separately anyway and if they are going to be doing that in that portion then I think it is appropriate. I can just change the instructions.

Uma stated that if we go that route then we need to at least break this into some subsections because if you look at section 3 they are asking for a lot of information. For example, detail the members of the project management team, their experience, indicate other collaborations, describe an implementation plan, identify a time line, identify benchmarks, staff development and training, maintenance, and on-going support. Youíre asking for a lot in one page.

Mike stated that within those sections, he would take a good look. I donít have a problem for each one of those being listed on a separate sheet. That would actually assist the staff in their review. Uma stated she thought that would help. Dave stated we should use the NEB*SAT grant forms. Mike state that they actually did. We began from that and they are so vague that we scraped them. Kent stated he is on that committee and they have been able to throw some out because they havenít met the guidelines.

Jack stated that this is probably difficult but necessary to resolve in advance and Mike spoke earlier of the fact that this is a dynamic process that will change as we go through it. It would be comfortable in having some confidence that, based on our discussion, Mike will be able to put out some guidelines and guidance that will speak to these and knowing that if it doesnít work weíll come back and work on format. No one can sit here and not have a sense of what weíre talking about. Bill stated that this is fine. Let him take it.

Jack asked if there is anything else in discussion for these forms? All those in favor? They are unanimously adopted. Who will report this to the NITC? Thank you very much. I think we are in a good direction and this will be extremely helpful as we get started.

At this point in the meeting we moved to the Information Items on the agenda. Jack asked Mike to give us a status report on the various staff positions. Mike reminded the group that there were two IT managers to be filled and an administrative assistant in the NITC office. We need some one very familiar with IT issues and the processes. The interviews for the Education position have been concluded; with references still be checked. He stated that he knows who the individual is that was offered the position but until itís really offered and accepted he could not say who the person is. Weíre very close to closure for that and I have every confidence that will happen and we will be able to introduce the individual at the next meeting and the administrative assistant position, which is a very similar situation. The individual is currently on a two-week vacation so we expect to have that position filled too. The offices may even have desks by the time those individuals accept. He then informed the group that we now have a new vacancy. Bill Miller has resigned as state CIO and is leaving state government. Billís position involves two positions. He will be out mid-August.

Jack asked if there were any questions to Mike about positions and status? Mike told the group that he would appreciate receiving any information on potential individuals to fill the state CIO position.

At this point in the meeting, talk turned to the definition of infrastructure. Jack informed the group that he and Mike both received the same letter, which is kind of related to infrastructure. The letter was from James Brown, the chairman of the GIS Steering Committee of the state of Nebraska. They wanted to convey to us the offer of their assistance, as we would perhaps be setting anything involving geographic information systems. This is the last thing on my list right now, geographic information systems, but I wanted you to know that if we get into GIS systems, this state agency stands ready to pledge their support to help us in any technical ways possible.
Jack told the group that he is the state surveyor from the state of Nebraska and is the chair of the GIS Steering Committee. I would assume this is in the state surveyors office. Jack told the group that he didnít think this would be one of our most sought after projects, but I did want you to know about it. Mike was then asked to talk further about infrastructure.

Mike commented that when he received the agenda and it said definition of infrastructure, I knew there were some politics associated with this job, but Iím not even getting close to that one, because what I thought we discussed was a description of infrastructure. NITC is charged with really laying out definitions. He told the group that he is not really in a position to come forward and say what the definition of infrastructure is and further more, I guess in terms of these proposals that rational heads recognize that you can define this to, you really canët pick a point and continue to announce OK this has this and is an impact on state infrastructure and this isnít. I approach it from a practical point of view, almost on the same level that NEB*SAT did, from the expertise around this table that if it smells like infrastructure, looks like infrastructure, walks like infrastructure, itís probably infrastructure.

Mike told the group that what he brought along is the current inventory that is described as existing telecommunications infrastructure. This is on the Web site, but Iíll pass this out and if you were to ask me what my interpretation of states interest on how this body might be affected, I mean what it really lists. State of Nebraska is not Iowa. We donít purchase and build our own infrastructure. We do in some cases with satellite equipment but most data services and some video services are leased. I would define the interest of this body in recognizing that direct state money is leased for that type of infrastructure services.

Early on there really were no national standards and early on in Nebraska there was a situation out in the western part of the state where literally there were two Kodaks, one purchased by the state, another one by the institution, that were even within the same building, but they could not communicate with one another. They were incompatible and that kind of drove that sort of standard, as we look at the different types of switches, and notice I purposely did not say digital switches because they are almost all are. But as we look at terrestrial switches and we look at all those these are the types of infrastructure issues that we are really looking for in terms of investment. I hope this is helpful in giving some lay of land. I can provide more detail and there is more really detailed discussion coming on this whole issues of process, set up by the NITC. There are going to be both formal and informal hearings held jointly with the public service commission, where the vendors and interested parties, will have input into this and the documents that are going to be developed. As those dates are announced they will go up first on the NITC Web site and Iíll make certain that we communicate to this group so everyone knows what that process is.

Richard asked a question on the title Inventory of the Existing Telecommunications Infrastructure. Is this just that infrastructure which is provided through state budgeting? Mike stated this was done as part of the last time the legislature required a state infrastructure plan so literally when NITC was formed, there was some updating on what ever happened in technology to that plan and I think the generality of the document in terms of the providers we are working with is instructive in the sense, where I think NITC, will end up there by necessity in that itís really a document that establishes broad guidelines for a couple of reasons. When youíre putting together a technology plan, that technology plan will change by necessity six months from now because the technology will change. We can see it in the act of Nebraska set budgets where uplinks were planed because frankly the whole idea that the same sort of capability in fact by connecting to a digital switch wasnít in place at that point. Itís by necessity the standards, if you will, are really set by industry because of the states direction. We are not necessarily a vendor driven user of technology, but the state has had a good record of working together and weíre not when they take a proactive action such as purchasing a transponder and going by satellite. I think it is fair to say that the entire initiative about the right of way down the interstate is really as much for vendors interests and talking to state needs as it is for actually laying pipe.

Jack commented let me get to other related things, which at some point I suspect they find their way to some of our discussions, like OPPD, fiber optics, which of course is not here but itís out there. There are a lot of other things out there too. Mike commented that in terms of proposals going through in which they fit into it I view that entire process as much like the documents we approved thatís really for definition by this group and if they see a project and say itís 100 computers, thatís not dealing with infrastructure, then we wonít deal with it.

Dave stated that he wants to talk about the kind of technology plan that you are referring to. I donít think hardware is mentioned except that decision on December 1st? Mike state that there is an RFP out, the study is due by December 1st. Dave commented that this is an Intrastate dilemma because of the fact that signals do cross state lines. The mid-western line states has a committee, who are trying to figure out if these nine mid-western states share instruction of course work, and youíve seen some pieces of presentations they have created, their own clearing house like Florida has and the 15 southeastern states have. There are several of the states like Indiana and Nebraska where the mid-west governors say lets not spend another dollar. Lets use their organizer. It could influence certain things about marketability depending on satellite base. Somebody said Iowa made a fundamental error by spending 300 million and now they find themselves not really well positioned to hook up with other states. They might find themselves disadvantaged. California is back and running their zero funding. Thereís no money for that in California because they are saying there are other ways to do this. So you find some fascinating dynamics and whose got the market for it.

Bill stated that he thinks this is the wrong approach. I think you will share courses, when there is a need to, not because some bureaucrat thinks we should get together and share courses. Our nursing college offers a Ph.D. degree to students in Kansas and in the Dakotas, and thatís because the students want it, not because we went out and said have we got a deal for you. The students came to us and said we know you do this. We know you do things by Internet and by satellite so canít we hook in. We said Yes, you can. Thatís why I think when these great thinkers all get around the table and sit there and figure out how can we do this great virtual great university thing, I think itís doomed to failure, unless there is a need, unless there is a customer. Who are you going to sell it to? Thatís the question. Dave commented that he was speaking to Mikeís question about the plan. In terms of this particular one, it turns out that itís the Micron and Motorollaís that are asking us to offer and theyíre offering contracts. What they are saying is the problem with the colleges is they are so driven by the internal agendas of what their faculty or curriculum committee wants to offer, that unlike traditional community colleges where they tend to be very responsive to local needs, they have trouble getting some of the response that they wanted, so what they are doing is starting to cross state lines because they have 15 clients. I talked with Illinois and Phoenix, and to them state lines donít mean anything.

Bill commented that you are proving my point. Itís market driven; itís not something that arose from nine mid-western states getting together and thinking about how do we do this, it arose from the fact that Motorolla has 15 plants and they want to offer educational opportunities for their employees and so they do it. Dave stated that is why the majority of the board is these cooperationís and all the people that put in the money for the cooperationís. It is customer driven. I did not mean to digress from the point Mike, I was trying to say the plan that we were talking about doesnít talk about hardware choices.

Richard stated that another observation I would make about this is that various entities, like the
Nebraska Public Power District, has significant infrastructure for the private sector, and then there are independent colleges and universities that likewise have some very significant capabilities.
Years ago, one such institution was tied to NEBSAT Coordinating Council and that was Scola Network. This continues to be an important resource for our region. Also some of the public institutions, K-12 or post-secondary achieve their infrastructure by other than state means. In our case we chose to do it because if we waited on state resources to do it weíd still be begging today. So instead we obtained substantial external funding, federal government principally, and built our own infrastructure and now 10% of our credit enrollment is by distance learning. Community colleges are not even mentioned, nor are state colleges. We need to keep that in mind that there are lots and lots of infrastructure resources that we shouldnít just be focused on what came through the legislative apportions process or we will again run into that problem of missing some linkages, some tie-ups, some collaborations, that I think we are about.

Mike told the group that it is going to evolve much more rapidly and it speaks the way I hope weíre going to be able to set-up a structure where we get representatives at least from those other
councils regularly attending these meetings too. The activity thatís being planned in internal medicine can have great significance on communities and speaks through the necessity of collaborating.

Jack remarked that this was a hold over from last time. Does this at least give you what you wanted from that last discussion? Weíll continue to evolve, is what I hear. Jack then asked Alan to take the next one because itís a hold over from last time too. Itís a continued discussion about the role of the Council in reviewing proposals.

Alan stated that this is actually a question that Kristine raised the issue that as we look at all this we spent a lot of time talking about the infrastructure and everything else that we forgot that the end result of all of this is to get the resources back into students, whatever age. So without Kristine here we donít really have a lot to address. We need to keep that in mind thatís the purpose on why we are doing this. Mike stated that he would like to add one comment to that and that is if you get a chance to go back and read the proposals that we put together. I hope we carried a lot of that discussion, made that document more needs and pragmatic based in terms of whether technology was supported. I for one believe thatísís the cases will have to be made to really push these things through this legislator. If you donít think thatís adequately pervade in that document, Iíd love to hear about that and make improvements.

Dean had a comment relative to that. I think what we need to firm up in our own minds what is going to be the basis of our recommendations in terms of these proposals. Are we going to key strictly off of that form and the information provided there and if so how are we going to prioritize a list? Thatís the next step after what weíve talked about already today. Where are we going to go once those come to us? What are we going to use ourselves to make those decisions? I think that was what Kristine was worried about.

Jack stated that stems back to some of Billís earlier comments about the theory we talked about earlier that this group will look at the staff information that is given to us and, I guess a description I gave when I tried to summarize what Bill said earlier. This group is going to come to a tough enough decision and when we do that make sure the learning focus is effect on those who are being impacted on up there in your mind as you make those decisions. This is a caution.

Richard stated he has a question about our role relative to the bigger commission. To what extent is the bigger commission going to get into a question like this #3? Because a comment was made today that you mentioned about the fact that Motorolla doesnít care about state borders. The Commission, according to the education of Nebraska state position, is weíre not going to be so worried about boundaries between districts of schools, community colleges, state colleges and so forth. The absolute trend, in at least this country, is away from these traditional political boundaries and towards interactive and independence. Somebodyís got to deal with that, because if we fund programs right next to each other, that could be done for 50% less if they were collaborated. Weíre not properly doing our job. Do we get to deal with that subject of the virtual environment? Or is the commission going to deal with that?

Jack stated that he thinks the view of the NITC, as he understood it from Alanís attendance at the meeting here in Omaha last month, is not so much a view so much as your conclusion from having attended the meeting, that in terms of the whole NITC concept, this group will be making the determinations. I think that it was your sense they either wonít or arenít organized to second guess those. Richard asked what their role is. Jack asked Alan to speak to that.

Alan stated that they are charged with taking the recommendations of the three councils, combining those and creating the priority list. Richard stated that they are sort of the intermediator with the legislation. Jack commented that it is possible that youíll have a number of government requests and a number of education requests, and so on and theyíve got to prioritize those. Keith asked if they couldnít do the same thing that we do? We are sitting here with education and say community college and a K-12 could work together on this project and they could say and they could work with City X and County X or District X .

Mike stated that is the intent. In fact, in the timetable laid out by government, there will be this period of review after the councilís that those recommendations could be can we get this project to work with this project. Iíll also take a jump ahead and anticipate another discussion we might have at sometime, and that was the question of prioritize lists, which hasnít come up. How do you set, how much detail? NITC, at an earlier meeting, discussed this and they will pick it up again. Itís worth noting that itís really the same sort of discussion we had with the Risk Assessment Document. Is this going to be an itemized list? Are we going to go through and say these projects are highly recommended, these projects are recommended, these projects are good projects, but it comes down to there isnít adequate state funding, we refer to the other groups to prioritize. My feeling is thatís where they will end up and we can probably take the same approach and it will make sense. The fiscal analyst, Iím certain, would love a list from 1 to 1050.

Jack then asked to go on to communicating with the schools that need to submit proposals. We have adopted today the proposal format and the support information for reviewing those. The next big step for us is to get this information out to the constituents and thatís what item #4 is. How do we propose to communicate with the constituents? This probably gets us into the timeline discussion a little bit, not only how do we get it out, but when do we want it back. Howís all this going to come together? Do we have any ideas about that at this point?

Richard stated that we had that calendar up on the board. Bill commented that it is in the minutes from last meeting on page 5. Bill Miller drew all that on the board. Jack asked the question, is the equivalent then of the September 15th due date, he was obviously talking from a state agency point again, but what impact does that have then on what we require from K-12 districts, ESUs, post-secondary, etc. Our world is post-secondary, K-12, and ESUís basically.

Bill commented, and those of you who were there can correct me if Iím wrong, but I think the intent was that these proposals would be in the 15th of September, and then they go through the sequence of events that you see there. But the information technology stuff would come in at the same time that we sent state budgets and all the rest of that stuff. I think that was the intent. Alan commented that means by our next meeting we really have to begin, because if we give one month, that next meeting is here. Keith commented that people donít even know yet that they can put proposals in. Two months is the deadline. Theyíve got to get out right away. Jack stated that the marching orders, now that we have adopted the format and so on, get that out to our constituencies as soon as possible, with a September 15th due date. Richard stated that this is right We have a meeting scheduled the 16th of September of this group. Dean commented that he thought that was because of the timetable. We might want to revisit that. If they are going to be due on the 15th, how much time does Mike and his staff need to take a look at those before they come back? Mike stated that chances are we wouldnít have them ready by the 16th. Richard commented that he thought we ought to continue to have the meeting on the 16th, with the expectation that soon or after weíre ready to role up our sleeves. Mike told the group that there will be a number of proposals that will be available to the group prior to that. I going to have prepared all the NEB*SAT by the next meeting. Weíll prepare the paperwork on that, so those reviews can be done, and we can begin the process of letting you discuss them and modify them. I think we are at an unusual situation this year. We could post the deadlines but weíll do the best we can do, particularly in the case of K-12. Thereís a lot of folks who wonít even be prepared to address this until late August. Theyíll walk into school and say maybe we ought to do something. Mike stated that we have to have recommendations to NITC by November 1st.

Jack stated that we probably realistically need to think about is if we can schedule our meeting certainly as appropriately as we think now, but I just have a suspicion that itís going to take a little more time with this group during that time period. I mean one meeting a month probably isnít going to do it. I hope Iím wrong, but it kind of relates to the volume of the proposals we get back and the submission from the staff. It could be a little hectic this time. Mike stated that is part of the motivation towards establishing those categories I was taking about, those prioritized lists, so that as you review projects theyíre really on their merit and highly recommended. Then we come at the end and discover that everythingís been highly recommended and itíll cost 150 million dollars. It may not be practical, maybe weíll make a few adjustments.

Jack asked in terms of communicating with our constituents, our constituents districts and so on, institutions, how do we get that accomplished? Do we have staff support? Mike stated that we will have. I will be getting all this information up on the Web site. Jack stated that he thinks we are talking about a direct mailing to all those institutions. Mike said he will make a commitment to get these adjustments to the document finished by Tuesday. My question will be who do I need to get it to.

Dean said this would need to go to all the K-12 districts and ESUís. I can get you a list. Jack said he assumed what we will have is the instruments and a cover memo from this Council. Dean stated that he thinks the instrument needs an information narrative in front explaining this and then maybe a cover memo. Jack said he was thinking, included in the cover memo or somewhere in the communication, should be a listing of our names so if those constituents need to talk to somebody about input or whatever. Itís part of building that image that Uma was talking about earlier. They need to know who we are and what we expect and what this is all about. This is kind of our first step to our communicate. Mike said plus whatever communication instruments you have to constituents thatís what I would request and assistance on and just getting the message out Jack stated that we would plan on secondary and post-secondary. He asked if all of the members, as a council, would have some comfort level if Mike, Dean, David and I would get the pieces together, the memo together, the mailing list and get that distributed as quickly as possible. Bill said that would be great. We would not only have comfort, weíd appreciated. It was stated that we definitely want to do hard copies of all this and do we also want to use the electronic system to do it also. We talked about capabilities about responding electronically, too. Mike said it is possible, but itís a question of when, during the time period.
Art commented that there is one thing I kind of had a concern about with the whole process. I know, sitting out at the other end, that somebodyís going to be handed one of these letters and consequently, I happen to know more about it than the average person out in the school district, but you get handed this and it says, here is some potential basically grant money for you. Now thereís no dollar amount out there, the political climate in Nebraska is very negative and down. Why should we, as a school or community, whatever entity, why should we go through this process of spending lots of time, lots of staff resources and so forth to complete all this application stuff and itís going to be up to the whim of the voters in November and up to the legislature this winter as to whether or not we get any special funding for a project we feel is important in our particular area. I guess I can see, you know, we just went through the whole US ED nightmare and I can see this being viewed as an equal nightmare or a more severe nightmare than that was. I guess we can guarantee this people, most grants and so forth, you go out and say OK thereís going to be X amount of dollars awarded. With this itís, well gee, may be, maybe not. How do we respond to that and how do we feel about that issue?

Jack said that part of the key here is going to be that communication that goes with the process and sets the stage for what this whole issue is about. Keep in mind too, I agree with you, to most of these folks this is going to be a new issue, but the message really is if you want new state dollars, and weíve talked about infrastructure and I donít know how weíll work that in, but this is not, this would be nice to do what Grant said, this is a you must do. You donít have access to doing project X unless you follow this process, and that will be a new issue for all those constituencies. Theyíve never had to deal with this before.

Mike said that he has been getting this a lot, but itís been coming from the community groups and Iíve been on conference call that I donít even know what these groups are in to explain this and thereís never been a process for them to go through requesting state funds. Where they all begin from is weíre out here in a community, we have no capabilities, no band with etc., what is the state going to do for us. I said, thereís this process that might assist you. Weíre gambling, this at least, allows you OK to specify that need, put it in a shape that people understand, so we can see where it is coming from. Iím hearing it right now from the Medical Center, Treatment Center in that town, itís public library in that town, itís a rural community center in that town, itís certainly the school in that town, and the aggregation of that is what is needed to be understood and what the impact might be on these communities and what true costs really are. Thatís the only counter balance there is to this situation thatís going on of donít spend any money. Itís not donít spend any money, itís where youíre going to spend it.

Richard commented that he thinks about going back to what Dave said earlier, buying in last time 95 million dollars. Nothing got funded because this was an articulated program. What weíre trying to do is ask for an articulated program and have some real need statements going in, and people are willing to get on board for state funds. Thatís fine, some are probably going to get funded, we donít know how much, and I donít know if thatís a nightmare or not. But to me it would be nice to know weíre going to have a pot of money but this is Nebraska and weíre way into the 20th Century and the business community is mad at us.
Dave stated that he had contemplated what you said. The cover letter, transmittal letter, was not going to start with weíre pleased to announce the existence of a huge pot of money; come and get some. I thought the lead sentence, those of you who are requesting state support for projects on the budget forms that you have to deliver, they are going to have a different review process. The review process is the Education Council of NITC and that is described herein and here are their time lines, and their criteria and the questions theyíre going to ask is for new proposals, that you are already planning to submit, not to invite people to write a whole new proposal for something. At least the post-secondary schools have already in effect drafted their documents for the governing board for June 15th, to an awful lot is already out there. I donít want this to imply that secondary schools have already got their plans developed.

Dean commented that you made a good point, but there are two different sides here and, as Art has pointed out, weíre going to be communicating with an individual school district, and they are going to question what is this all about. Do I really need to know if yours is consolidated, primary and secondary in one package? That wonít be the case for K-12. Jack stated he thinks we need to do two different mailings. I think we have marching orders and that is weíve got the process, letís get it done, get it out and let our constituents know whatís going on. They are due back by September 15th.

Richard stated that at some point weíre going to have to talk about what this group does and when it does it. Jack asked if that is a next meeting agenda item? Mike said that he had to excuse himself. Is there any other questions for me? No questions were asked of Mike at this time.

At this point in the meeting Kent & Al talked about the update on the Internet 2. Kent told the group that this is going to be based a lot on what is happening at UNL with Internet 2, but I think it is important to start with Internet 1, Internet 2 and how those all fit together. Youíll also see a lot of dollar figures in here as to what this is going to cost at this point, what itís going to cost UNL. Internet 2 started two years ago when 12 to 15 research people got together and started talking about and started talking about a need for a new high speed network because particularly,
because there was a lot of problems with Internet 1. A lot of congestion, a lot of concern about quality of Internet 1. We run into that here and there. I remember about a year ago we were having trouble with anything coming through the Chicago region was very slow. So, they decided to set up Internet 2 and Dennis Smith from the University very quickly had the University sign on to Internet 2 and begin participation. I think the first meeting that I went to was in December of 96 in San Francisco and as opposed to Internet l this was to be run by applications. This is going to be primarily for research, high level research, that requires a band width and the speed that Internet 2 was projecting. A number of committees were set up. I will tell you now, that as of last winter, Internet 2 is called The University Corporation for Advanced Internet Development (UK),
and that has been in place for about five six months now.

I am going to run through a little bit about the UNL background on this. About three years ago, the University decided that it needed to upgrade its Internet capabilities on campus. I should mention that there are some requirements before you can be an Internet 2 or UK member. One of them is that you have to upgrade your campus network so that it can handle the speeds and band width that is required of Internet 2 capabilities. So, although we werenít even thinking of Internet 2 it has helped us now. We look at another definition for our infrastructure on campus is internal billing, wiring, the campus wiring closets in each of the buildings and electronics, particularly the routers, the switchers, the repeaters around the campus. This is a four year project at UNL. The funding for it is one time funding, each of the four years, and it comes to us in this way. The other bit of funding that we get is an increase in the telephone charges to all campus units because we require about 1.2 million a year for these four years. No it is higher than that. It is a million seven a year for the four years. The problem is that ever since we started this weíve known that at the end we were going to be about a million and a half dollars short. And we are still looking at that kind of shortage.

This is where we are as of today with the campus wiring project. The upgrade to the buildings is 80% complete. The move to switch Ethernet is 30% complete. I would say the backbone is little more than 70%. We once had two networks, one on the east campus, and one on west campus and those are gradually completely now being integrated.

Dean asked Kent what is the association with NITC in what you are presenting. According to LB924 anything that is research associated is exempt from going through the NITC process. Will that be the case here? Kent said that he thinks we are going to be pressured to bring some of this material here. Right now, it is done with current funding and there is really no promise of going forward for additional state funding. There has been some reallocation in this direction and there will probably be more in a couple of years but I assume across the University that there will be some money asked for but it may be more so in strengthening the connections among the campuses and stations, the co-op extension areas and those facilities. We have a figure that shows what we think it is going to require for the Internet, Iím only talking about within the University, beyond the four year wiring project to keep us going. Now we have some of this money currently but this was laid out of the Chancellor to show that this was the kind of money that was going to be required on an annual basis to keep the Internet up to speed and also keeping up with new advancement and changes as they come up. When we talk about the rest of the state as far as UNL connections, I have a diagram that shows you what those are and Iíll hand those out. Many of these take us to UNO, UNMC, etc.

This one used both Internet 1and the commodity Internet. That is beginning to be interchangeable. This is Internet One and this is not only looking at what happens currently but this is what we are looking at as we look in partnering with Internet 2. It used for general purposes and activities, current campus Internet l connection. As of a week ago Monday, we are no longer on a l0 mega byte connection. We have moved from Verio, MidNet, to an Aliant connection, 45 mega byte and it was installed on the July 5th and has been working quite well for us. There is some chance that the other university campuses will use this connection for their Internet 1 connection. The price has gone up. This is what that line costs UNL, 85,200. We are currently paying for our l0 mega byte, $24,000. At this point we are looking for new money to be assigned to this of $49,200. We arenít asking for new budget money. We are looking at reallocation. We also have some one time money of $55,000.

Internet 1 will continue to be there; it will continue to carry Internet 2. This has been very exciting for the University, and for me personally. There are 2 important parts to this. One is called the Great Plains Network. The other part is UK now. The Great Plains Network is a
collaborative effort of the 2 Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. These were pulled together in an effort to bring more research dollars west and it is an National Science Foundation program. That group of the EbScore people were brought together with the people in this region who were interested in Internet 2 and they came up with an application; The Earth Sciences and the first project they propose to work on is called Biospheric Modeling. That is the application part of it and we meet fairly regularly with both the faculty science side and the technicians in keeping the Great Plains Network going. What is the Great Plains Network? UK wants regional collaborations, which are called gigapots. The gigapots for this area is in Kansas City, Missouri. All of the six states will have a line that goes from their state to the gigapot in Kansas City and that actually, as of today and tomorrow, the hardware/software is being put in place in Kansas City.

Any institution in the state will be able to become part of that GPN Network as long as they can get to the drop which will be located in Lincoln. The speed of that line out of Lincoln will be BS3 speed separate from the Internet 1 line, which will go to Kansas City and it will t hen connect with lines from the other five states, plus Missouri. So there are actually seven states that you will be able to feed at higher speed across those lines into those six other states along with them being able to feed much faster into Nebraska. That part of it is the Great Plains Network.

Going back to Internet 2, one of the major parts of that is whatís called the VBNS, the way I remember that, is the Very Big Network System, and what Internet 2 part is to get access to the VBNS and at the outset from the first year and a half, the only way to get to them was to get to the super computer spots in the U.S.; the main one is at the University of Illinois. It is also the only way to get to other Internet 2 institutions was by getting access on the VBNS. That has changed just in the last few months. Much to, at least those of us who are in the Midwest, much to our advantage. A new organization has been formed called Abliene and it is provisioned by Quest Communications, CISCO, NorTel, and UK. Quest if you donít know about Quest, it is becoming very big very quickly in the telecommunications market place. They are big players and they have moved very quickly into the Internet 2 market so, besides, the VBNS you now have Abilene out there and they have drops all over the country and many of t hem are much closer and for us in the midwest, a thousand miles closer than the VBNS. So if we were going to connect to the VBNS out of Kansas City, we would have had to go to either to Denver or to Chicago and we would have had to pay the line charges for all of that. And we are talking in the area of $120,000 a year. With Quest, our connection for each of us in that gigabot siting in Kansas City would be a walk across the room because we have contracted with Quest, not only to first provide the Great Plains Network capabilities so the lines from Lincoln, from Lawrence, were quest lines into Kansas City so now that they have become a part of the whole Internet 2 thing we are sharing a building in Kansas City and their Internet 2 line will be in the same building as our GPN line. So it will cut big bucks off of our telecommunications cost. What GPN has done has brought more high profile to the Great Plains area, has allowed us to levy grants for high speed and lower cost connectivity. It has brought Quest and other networks into our area and has helped us develop more avenues for collaboration.

In the case of Abilene, I think we will do DS3 but we are thinking of making that an OC3 connection to Abilene and Kansas City. Also talking about what we need to promote this within our own community. We have a lot to do with facility to get them knowledgeable about Internet 2 and then what they can gain from it. Also, we encouraged them to go after more grant activity.
We gathered three grants together to help us with Internet 2. Two of them came from EBScore and NSF. Divided equally among the six states - helps fund the line from Lincoln to Kansas City. The second one was for a high speed computer which we did get. UNO got a similar grant for basically the same purpose and also Creighton from NSF but I think theirís is more for training than computing. Our problem is after 2 years then there is a third grant required if you are going to be an Internet 2 connector (Connections Grant) and that was worth $300,000 from NSF. We received that grant. After 2 years, grants run out and we are stuck with these costs. A couple of things have happened in the last 2 weeks that are, I think, positive for all of us is one we now know Quest has a drop in Lincoln (12th & O Street) we will be able to connect there for Internet 2 instead of going to Kansas City. That will make it much cheaper. Save 100-150,000 a year.

The rules for joining Abilene are a lot sampler and cheaper than for joining the VBNS Internet 2. If an institution commits $25,000 a year to Abilene they can have an Abilene membership and they can connect through that in Lincoln. Previously, they would have had to come up with a match for that $300,000 for the Connection Grant, also, a match for $240,000 for GPN grant. This is no longer the case. You will do the job of upgrading your own campus. GPN will be connected among these seven states on August 1. The Abilene we expect to have connected for Nebraska around October 1. The GPN network can be used by anyone in the state as long as they connect to the node in Lincoln. The gigapot spot in Kansas City will weed out Internet 2 users from everyone else.

This was set up for research, people who need high level of speed and band width. I went to a meeting in Washington DC in April and they were doing a lot of things with Imersion Technology. There is another meeting in September.

Prices will come down. Not sure how far. How much will they be shared? At some point, this will go beyond research and distant education, multimedia. We have the grants and have lined up the matching to take us to July of 2000. The Chancellor is committed to keep us going beyond that and we have made the commitment to National Science Foundation that we will go beyond that.

Keith stated that he was just thinking of an application. I have a K-12 school that wants to communicate with a K-12 school in Kansas that needs high speed network so if we can get to Lincoln and they can get to Lawrence we can do that.

Dean asked the bottom line after the grant monies run out the cost is something you will probably run through the budget process at the University and eventually through us in order to try and find funding to support this. Kent stated he thinks some of it might happen that way. The Chancellor has also indicated that we may have to look forward to taxing on campus. We are also hoping that through the grant application process that we can start telling facility that they should write in something for this. And as time goes on, all of us in this room will rely on this more than what we think because it is going to be so much more powerful. This new I1 line that we just got through Aliant, we have been working with 10 megabyte line into Lincoln and the University, but it has to cover both in and out. The new DS3 is 45 meg both ways so we are actually jumping by 9 times what we had currently.

At this point in the meeting, Alan talked about the ESU ‡ cent levy. In 1993, there was a legislative bill that passed that said the ESUís would provide Internet access and training to their schools and in order to help them accomplish this they included a ‡ cent levy for the ESUís to tax. In the last legislative go round they reduced our levy to1 ‡ cent but did not touch the ‡ cent directly and it was left in place. Now it appears that they do not want us to take the ‡ cent and the issue is from my perspective, if they created a commission to build the infrastructure then they should also have to bring that decision to dismantling the structure back to us to talk about it. From my schools stand right now, our levy generates about $325,000. We use that to provide Internet access to the schools. If our schools have to get to the Internet on their own, without any ESU in place, the cost for them will jump from $150,000 a year to about $520,000 a year.

What should be the process for us. Should we discuss this and make some sort of recommendations. Right now it is kind of voluntary. They are saying donít levy it because you will make the legislature upset, but on the other hand, most of the ESUís have already began a new fiscal year and so we are under contract for services and staff. We will go ahead and levy ours for this coming year. I think we do need to make them accountable to take the infrastructure down if they are going to make us accountable to build it up.

First of all, there is no restriction to prevent you from doing this. Not at this point It will appear in the next session. If it appears in the next session, then it strikes me that: (1) you can work on it until it appears (2) if it looks like it will happen then I suppose about the same time I would no be surprised for ESUís to put together a proposal through the NITC to fund this.

Dean stated if it comes to that point. I think the other issue is do we want to do something before that, pro active. Alan stated that it is being aggressively discussed now by members of the Legislature. Uma asked what are some things we could do. Alan stated that from our perspective, we need to show them that if you remove a ‡ cent from the school district either the service will discontinue totally or the price of that service will increase dramatically.

Jack asked if the Department of Education is taking a position? Dean said that he is assuming weíre going to, but it has happened so fast. We are just kind of reacting at this stage. But I think Alanís right, we need to get that data and information out there and make people aware of it, including our senators, what the impact of that is going to be, and that, in itself, may help carry the political message that we need to retain.

Jack asked if there was any thing else for this morning. Dean asked if we were going to talk about the next meetings at all or whether or not we need one. Jack stated that we are set for our next meeting August 13th in Lincoln and September 16th at Elkhorn. My sense is at the August 13th meeting we can talk, at some length, about the processes for evaluation, time lines and extra meetings.

Mike will be talking about the NEB*SAT stuff in August, so there will to be a couple pretty heavy items right there. I think we need the August 13th meeting. Do you want to leave September 16th the way it is for the moment? I see some heads going yes. OK, weíll leave them the way they are until we decide to do otherwise. I appreciate your thoughts and your counsel very much and your hard work. We will see you August 13th at our place in Lincoln.

Uma thanked Colleen for putting this meeting together and for taking the minutes this morning.
Dean said thanks to Uma for lining this up and meeting here at Creighton. The meeting adjourned at approximately 12:03 p.m.

Meeting Minutes