of the

Wednesday, October 15, 2014 at 9:00am CT
Host site: NET, 1800 N. 33rd Street, Lincoln

Open Meetings Act




Mr. Derek Bierman, Northeast Community College

Mr. Burke Brown, District OR-1 Palmyra/Bennet

Mr. Mike Carpenter, Doane College

Mr. Matt Chrisman, Mitchell Public Schools

Mr. John Dunning, Wayne State College

Mr. Steven Stortz, Alt. for Stephen Hamersky, Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School

Mr. Steve Hotovy, Nebraska State College System

Mr. Gary Needham, Educational Service Unit 9

Mr. Mary Niemiec, University of Nebraska

Mr. Darren Oestmann, Johnson Brock Public Schools

Mr. Randy Schmailzl, Metro Community College


LIAISONS/ALTERNATES PRESENT:  Kathleen Fimple, Brent Gaswick, and Gary Targoff


MEMBERS/LIAISONS ABSENT:  Brenda Decker, Dr. Dan Hoesing, Yvette Holly, Dr. Mike Lucas, Greg Maschman, Dr. Bob Uhing




In lieu of Council Co-Chairs, Mr. Tom Rolfes called the meeting to order at 9:00am CT. The meeting notice was posted on the NITC website and Public Meeting Calendar on 8/29/2014. The agenda was posted for review on the NITC website on 8/29/2014. The Open Meeting Statutes were located on the southeast corner of the NET Board Room. Ms. Lopez-Urdiales called the roll and found 10 voting members or alternates present. A quorum was reached in order to conduct official business. Members and guests introduced themselves.


For the new council members, Mr. Rolfes provided a brief history of the NITC and the Education Council. 




Mr. Dunning moved to approve the October 15, 2014 meeting agenda.  Mr. Carpenter seconded.  Roll call vote: Bierman-Yes, Brown-Yes, Carpenter-Yes, Chrisman-Yes, Dunning-Yes, Stortz-Yes, Hotovy-Yes, Niemiec-Yes, Oestmann-Yes, Schmailzl-Yes. Results: Yes-10, No-0, Abstained-0. Motion carried.




Mr. Stortz moved to approve the April 16, 2014 minutes as presented.  Ms. Niemec seconded.  Roll call vote: Brown-Yes, Carpenter-Yes, Chrisman-Yes, Dunning-Yes, Stortz-Yes, Hotovy-Yes, Niemiec-Yes, Oestmann-Yes, Schmailzl-Yes, Bierman-Yes. Results: Yes-10, No-0, Abstained-0. Motion carried.


Mr. Needham arrived to the meeting.



Dr. Gabrielle Banick


Dr. Banick provided a brief biography to the council.  She stated she liked the collaboration that the Education Council has successfully initiated and hopes to learn from the Council. She complimented Nebraska on their groundbreaking work in the areas of a longitudinal data system, increased graduation requirements, and developing a statewide unique identifier which could assist in federated identity management. She has been in her position for only two months and has been working on the following P-16 initiatives:

·         Development of a Transfer Portal.  This would be a one stop portal for students to see how their credits would transfer to other public post-secondary institutions.  Currently, a commercial product is being reviewed.  At this point, only public institutions have been involved but private institutions have been invited.

·         Reverse Transfer Program for University, State and Community Colleges.  Community colleges have been very instrumental in this effort.  It is anticipated that there will be 120 programs by end of the year.


Council members were given an opportunity to ask questions and provide input.  TES and Transferology, both from College Source, were recommended as possible products for the Reverse Transfer Program.  The goal is have a final decision on the product by the end of December.  Approximately 5000 of the 7000 institutions nationally have given permission for the course catalogues to be included in Transferology.  Data standards will be vital to the effort.  Dr. Banick has met with several school superintendents and college administrators in her first 60 days.


Mr. Rolfes shared the NITC’s strategic initiatives with Dr. Banick and thanked her for her time with the Council.




Mr. Rolfes reported that the NITC advisory councils have grown from four councils to six councils.  The Education Council, one of the original four, is responsible for advising the NITC on education technology-related project proposals and other issues of importance.  The Council typically makes recommendations to the NITC and the NITC has the final approval.  There will be a couple of information technology projects the Council will need to review at the December meeting.


Members were asked to review the Council’s Charter and responsibilities.


During discussion, the Council members asked whether the Education Council or NITC have ever applied for grant funding. Mr. Rolfes reported that originally the State Government Council and Community Council each had $250,000 grant funds to administer to eligible entities. The Education Council helped oversee the NEB-SAT grant funds administered by the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications Commission. When those grant funds were eliminated during the recession of the late 2000s, no funding was ever restored. However, the NITC has been the fiscal entity for the Electronic Health Records grant of $6.2 million in 2010, and a collaborator with the state Broadband Mapping Initiative.


The Nebraska Department of Education had submitted a federal grant to look at how technology can impact academic performance but Wisconsin was awarded.  Since the Council has discussed funding as an issue to get things accomplished, perhaps the Council should explore Gates NextGen grants.  Their grants require a grantee which could be the OCIO, NDE, CCPE, or the University of Nebraska, for example.  Independent Colleges expressed interest in involvement.  A majority of members thought it would be a good idea and recommend looking at these opportunities.  It was decided to establish a work group that would explore federal/private foundation grant funding to match the Education Council’s mission and responsibilities.  Members that volunteered included the following:  Mike Carpenter, Mary Niemec, John Dunning and if Dr. Dan Hoesing is not available to participate, SuAnn Witt said she would participate.






Election of Co-Chairs*


Mr. Rolfes asked that the Council members recess into their K-12 and higher education sectors to caucus and discuss nomination of a K12 co-chair and a Higher Education co-chair.


Mr. Stortz nominated Gary Needham as the K12 Education Council Co-Chair.  Mr. Brown seconded.  More nominations from the floor were requested.  There were no more nominations.


Mr. Carpenter moved to cease the nominations and conduct the vote in favor of electing Gary Needham as K-12 Co-Chair.  Mr. Stortz seconded.  Roll call vote: Carpenter-Yes, Chrisman-Yes, Dunning-Yes, Stortz-Yes, Hotovy-Yes, Needham-Abstain, Niemiec-Yes, Oestmann-Yes, Schmailzl-Yes, Bierman-Yes, Brown-Yes. Results: Yes-10, No-0, Abstained-1. Motion carried.


Mr. Dunn nominated Mary Niemec as the Higher Education Council Co-Chair.  Mr. Schmaizl seconded.   More nominations from the floor were requested.  There were no more nominations.


Mr. Carpenter moved to cease the nominations and conduct the vote in favor of electing Mary Niemiec as Higher Education Co-Chair.  Mr. Dunn seconded.  Roll call vote: Chrisman-Yes, Dunning-Yes, Stortz-Yes, Hotovy-Yes, Needham-Yes, Niemiec-Abstain, Oestmann-Yes, Schmailzl-Yes, Bierman-Yes, Brown-Yes, Carpenter-Yes. Results: Yes-10, No-0, Abstained-1.Motion carried.


The two newly elected Co-Chairs, Gary Needham and Mary Niemec, presided over the remainder of the meeting. 




Project Management Report (9/1/2014).  All enterprise projects submit a monthly report to the Technical Panel.  The NITC also receives an update on all enterprise projects at their meetings.  Network Nebraska finished the year with a positive balance to build escrow for future core infrastructure replacements.  The budget is monitored by the Office of the CIO and the Network Nebraska Advisory Group.  Membership is up to 94% of public K-12 and 100% of public higher education.  Entities that have delayed joining have existing Internet contracts and obligations in place.  It is possible that public K-12 will be at 100% by 7/1/2015.  On July 1, 2014, an Internet2 Commercial Peering Service egress point was implemented with 3Gbps, and commodity Internet cost about $ .39/Mbps/month for K-12 after E-rate. The Internet2 CPS and commodity Internet is running at about half of its purchased capacity.  Network Nebraska is looking at adding the following Commercial Peering Services:

·         ESRI for K12.  The Nebraska Department of Education has signed this agreement to provide this software free for K12 students to be exposed to GIS (Geographic Information Systems).  Discussions are occurring for ESRI to use Internet2 to more directly serve Nebraska K-12 schools.

·         Hudl Stats.  Hudl, a Nebraska sports video analysis company, has approximately 95% of U.S. high schools as clients, and many college and professional sports teams. Schools are interested in faster uploading of video recordings of Friday night sports events. Discussions are occurring for Hudl to use Internet2 to more directly serve Nebraska K-12 schools.



E-rate Modernization.  At end of July, the FCC issued a new funding initiative for schools and libraries to purchase internal connections equipment using E-rate funds. E-rate discounts and reimbursements are based on poverty and rurality levels.  Approximately $56 million in funding will be made available for routers, switches, wireless access points, and firewall gear for Nebraska schools and libraries.  The Office of the CIO, in coordination with the ESUs, will be doing an Invitation to Bid for nine different types of eligible equipment. Once awarded, the OCIO will get information out to entities to participate in the purchasing off the state contracts to get best discounts for equipment.  Nebraska has about 700 schools and libraries that would be eligible to participate.


Changing urban rural designation.  Prior to the new initiative, schools’ discounts were based on urban designations as determined by urban counties of the 2000 Census.  With the new FCC designations using the 2010 Census, about 39 school districts will be designated as urban, dropping their discount by at least 10%.  The FCC has been urged to reconsider these designations due to financial hardship for districts.  The discount levels will now be calculated at the district level rather than school.  Voice services will be phased out at 20% points per year which will affect budgets at the district level due to having voice services fully supported in the past.




LB 1103.   FOR AN ACT relating to education; to state findings and intent; to provide for a strategic planning process; to provide duties for the Education Committee of the Legislature; and to declare an emergency.


The Legislature’s Education Committee scheduled three public hearings related to LB 1103.  The first was held in Omaha with over 200 in attendance.  The next hearing is this afternoon in Norfolk and then tomorrow (10/16/2014) in Broken Bow.  Testimony so far has included issues of equity, early childhood education, BlendEd (technology), and charter schools. The Education Committee’s report must be done by December 31st.


LB 497.  FOR AN ACT relating to education; to amend sections 9-812 and 9-836.01, Reissue Revised Statutes of Nebraska, and sections 79-8,137, 79-8,137.04, and 85-1920, Revised Statutes Cumulative Supplement, 2012; to change provisions relating to distribution of state lottery proceeds; to create the Nebraska Education Improvement Fund; to provide for a study; to change contract provisions relating to programs under the Excellence in Teaching Act; to terminate the Education Innovation Fund and the Nebraska Opportunity Grant Fund; to eliminate obsolete provisions; to harmonize provisions; to repeal the original sections; and to declare an emergency.


The future of the lottery funding is being reviewed by the Education Committee. The current allocations all expire by July 2016.  Annually, approximately $16 million has been allocated for educational projects.  A hearing for use of lottery monies will be held on November 19th, Room 1525, 1:30 p.m. The committee’s report is due December 31st.




NITC Timeline, Project Proposal Format, Project Links (TBA), Technical Panel Reviews


Mr. Rolfes reviewed the biennial budget I.T. project review process for new members.  There were no education-related I.T. projects submitted by the State budget deadline of September 15. The Budget Office informed NITC staff that there are at least three projects from the Department of Education that will be reviewed by the Technical Panel and Education Council in December.  The Council will need to provide comments to the Legislature regarding funding of the projects.




State colleges.  Mr. Dunning reported that the state college system has been discussing ways to make better decision making for their infrastructure system based on data.  A position has been hired by the State College System to better coordinate the three state colleges and their P-16 data efforts.


Community colleges.  Mr. Bierman reported the community college association meeting is scheduled for early November.  The chief academic officer portion will be included with the CIO meetings. 


Independent colleges. There was no report.


University of Nebraska.  The Virtual Scholars Program application process was just completed with 221 course scholarships awarded from the University of Nebraska High School.  Through an account established with the NU Foundation, the University will look to public/private funding for future scholarships.  Most of the applications have been for STEM courses.  Ms. Niemiec will have a final report by the end of the year.  Early data suggests that 49% of the students at the University took at least one online course last year.  This is a 27% increase for NU. Nationally, 33% of students have taken at least one online course at a higher education institution.


K-12 public & private.  E-rate has been an ongoing item of discussion among K-12 schools.  NDE and the ESUCC have identified three joint initiatives to work on over the next year:  BlendEd, NDE Data Dashboard, and Teacher/Principal evaluation system.


CCPE.  A new executive director, Dr. Michael Baumgartner, has been hired who is also new to Nebraska.  SARA, the State Authorized Reciprocal Agreement, really wants states to sign-up to participate in the interstate credit transfer agreement.  It will allow institutions to not have to seek individual approval from that state to offer online courses.  Nebraska was the 8th of the 9 approved states.  There are three pending applications from the eastern states.  In Nebraska, there are already 10 institutions that have applied and have been accepted.  There is an application fee involved to participate.


Mr. Rolfes distributed the work group assignments document.  Since there are new members, the groups will need to be revised.  Members who have resigned or retired:  Terry Haack, Ed Hoffman, Jeff Johnson, Jeff Stanley, Lyle Neal, John Stritt, Jack Huck.  New members were asked to consider which work group they would like to serve and let him know.  A revised list will be available at the December meeting. 




Agenda items for the December meeting included:

·         EC Charter

·         EC Work Groups

·         IT Project Proposals

·         Internet2 report

·         External Funding Work Group Report


The Council asked Mr. Rolfes to help develop a fact sheet of what the lottery monies have helped accomplish relative to Network Nebraska for the LB 497 hearing.




John Dunning moved to adjourn. Steve Hotovy seconded. All were in favor by voice vote. The meeting was adjourned at 11:30am CT.

Meeting notes were recorded by Lori Lopez Urdiales and reviewed by Tom Rolfes, Nebraska Information Technology Commission.