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Friday, November 19, 1999, 9:00 a.m.
Skutt Student Center, Creighton University
Omaha, Nebraska



Mr. Keith Bartels
Lincoln Public Schools
Dr. Richard Gilliland
Metro Community College
Mr. Dennis Linster
Alternate, Wayne State College
Mr. Michael Beach
NET, (Non Voting Liaison)
Dr. Uma Gupta
Creighton University
Dr. Jack Huck
Southeast Community College
Dr. Dean Bergman
NDE, (Non-voting liaison)
Dr. Kent Hendrickson
Alternate, UNL
Mr. Dale Styles (Non-voting)
Bellevue University
Dr. Bill Berndt
UN Medical Center
Mr. Jeff Johnson
Centennial Public Schools
Mr. Art Tanderup
Tekamah-Herman Public Schools
Ms. Brenda Decker
DAS, (Non Voting Liaison)
Dr. Don King
Alternate, Chadron State College
Mr. Alan Wibbels
ESU 10
Dr. Chuck Friesen
Alternate, Lincoln Public Schools
Mr. Tom Korta
Pius X High School

Members Absent: Mr. Larry Bock, Blair Public Schools; Dr. David Powers, CCPE; Dr. Woody Ziegler,York Elementary School

Others Present: Con Dietz, Creighton University; Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager; Lori Lopez Urdiales, Administrative Assistant; Anne Byers, Community I.T. Manager; Gwen Nugent, NET; Tracie Klosterman, NET; John Finney, UNO; Reba Benschoter, UNMC


Co-chair Wibbels called the meeting to orders. Introductions were made. Roll call was taken. Twelve voting members and three non-voting members were present at the time of roll call. Mr. Wibbels stated that meeting notice was posted to the website on September 29th. The agenda was posted on the website on November 16th with a revision posted on November 18th.


Dr. Hendrickson moved to approve the agenda as posted. Dr. Gilliland seconded the motion. Roll vote: Bartels-Yes, Berndt-Yes, Gilliland-Yes, Gupta-Yes, Huck-Yes, Korta-Yes, King-Yes, Hendrickson-Yes, Friesen-Yes, Linster-Yes, Tanderup-Yes, Wibbels-Yes. Motion carried.


Dr. Hendrickson and Dr. Gilliland noted that they voted "No" on the motion for the NEB*SAT Interconnection Project. Mr. Wibbels asked for a motion to approve the minutes as amended. Dr. Hendrickson moved to approve the October 15th minutes as amended. Dr. Gilliland seconded the motion. Roll vote: Bartels-Yes, Berndt-Yes, Gilliland-Yes, Gupta-Yes, Huck-Yes, Korta-Yes, King-Yes, Hendrickson-Yes, Friesen-Yes, Linster-Yes, Tanderup-Yes, Wibbels-Yes. Motion carried.

Tom Korta was acknowledged and welcomed as a new member of the Education Council representing private and parochial schools. Mr. Korta is Assistant Principal at Pius X High School in Lincoln. He is responsible for coordinating technology efforts and development within the diocese.

PUBLIC COMMENT: There was no public comment.

Committee Reports

Operations Working Group--Rolfes

Mr. Rolfes reported that the committee met on Nov 15th through video conferencing at seven sites. All except one member were present. Shirley Shall, ESU 15 and Craig Carlson, Metro Community College, were elected co-chairs. Future infrastructure was discussed. Eight objectives were developed with the caveat of "other responsibilities as determined by the group or Education Council". The objectives were presented for action by the Council. Dr. Hendrickson moved to review them for a month for consideration at December's meeting. Dr. Gilliland seconded the motion. The group decided to discuss this at the December meeting.

Policy, Procedures, and Planning Subcommittee--Huck/Wibbels

No report. The group has not met since the electronic meeting to discuss funding. Mr. Linster addressed the need for the Council to discuss its role in the statewide infrastructure and the TINA study. It was suggested by Co-chair Dr. Huck to discuss this further under agenda item 10.

Mr. Johnson arrived at 9:28 a.m.

Training Advisory Working Group--Klosterman

Tracie Klosterman reported that the Training Advisory Working Group has been meeting regularly. New members have been added: Dr. Bergman, NDE, Bill Menousek, ESU 3, Arnold Bateman has replaced Kent Hendrickson. Sandy Blankenship, ESU 6 and Roger Wess, Chadron State College, were elected co-chairs of the committee. A system to discuss priorities is in place. Copies of the partially completed 1998-99 Final Report were distributed to members. Ms. Klosterman pointed out that the report reflects the old membership. The next round of training grants will be due in April. The new RFP is also in the report.

Gwen Nugent distributed copies of the NN21 (Nebraska Network21) "Looking to the future.....Distance Education Issues in Nebraska".

NITC Report

Michael Winkle, NITC Executive Director, was unable to attend the meeting. Mr. Rolfes and Dr. Huck gave a brief report.

Subcommittee Membership – Mr. Rolfes reported that the NITC recommended that the subcommittee membership remain as approved by the Commission. Dr. Bergman and Dr. Powers would have a voting role on the sub-committees. Sub-committees need to be meeting to address issues.

Deficit Requests – Huck reported on the NITC's decision regarding deficit requests discussed at the Council's October meeting (Network3 Upgrade and the Statewide Interconnection Project). At the November 10th NITC meeting, there was in-depth discussion regarding the definition of "deficit" requests. If the request is of an emergency nature or unforeseen expense, then it may be considered as a deficit request. It is not meant as an opportunity to fund a project not approved during the biennium process. Although the Council gave these projects "a highly recommended" during the last biennium, they were not funded. There are two options available: 1) wait until next biennium, or 2) take legislative action. Although the NITC felt they were worthy projects, they were not perceived as fitting the definition for a deficit request. No action was taken.

Discussion followed regarding the following topics: the biennium and deficit processes; Y2K interim measures for NEB*SAT functions; necessity for some agencies to reallocate; earlier time frame for biennium requests; time factor to review proposals; the Education Council subcommittee's recommendations for the next funding cycle; and the need for more information regarding projects.

Dr. Gupta moved to recommend a pre-proposal as part of the technology project requests and for staff and the State Government Council Working Group to review the recommendations made by the subcommittee. Dr. Friesen seconded the motion. Roll vote: Gilliland-Yes, Gupta-Yes, Huck-Yes, Korta-Yes, King-Yes, Hendrickson-Yes, Friesen-Yes, Linster-Yes, Tanderup-Yes, Wibbels-Yes, Johnson-Yes, Bartels-Yes, Berndt-Yes. Motion carried. Mr. Rolfes also recommended that members get feedback to staff on the Project Management section of the statewide plan.

NUSF Surcharge

Mr. Wibbels reported that there is a Nebraska Universal Service Fund (N-USF) surcharge on telecommunications within the state of Nebraska but fees are not being assessed uniformly. Mr. Wibbels serves on an Advisory Board that sought exemption for education and health care. The Public Service Commission held hearings and testimonies on Wednesday, November 17th. Providers testified at the hearings. Lowell Johnson requested written testimony be sent to the PSC. The University request for exemption was rejected. K-12 were requested to provide information on fees. Some of the ideas generated for action included:

  • K-12, universities and state colleges come together to develop a plan.
  • Utilize Ruth Michalecki as a resource person. She was asked by Senator Kerrey to testify before the US Senate for Kerrey regarding rural areas and the have/have nots. She is expected to go back within the next couple of weeks. She will appear on Senator Kerrey's television program. Ms. Michalecki has been added as an alternate to the Technical Panel.
  • Involve the NITC regarding this issue.
  • Negotiate fees with the telecommunications companies.
  • CIO/NITC staff research the issue/background and develop a position for next month’s meeting.
  • Invite Gene Hand, Public Service Commission, to next month’s meeting for information purposes only.

After discussion, the group decided to have staff research the issue and develop a position statement to be discussed at next month's meeting.

Ms. Decker informed the Council that President Clinton recently signed Senate Bill 800 which directs the FCC to set rules and establishes that each state will appoint a group to investigate how that state will accomplish E911. The Rule cannot force states to place a surcharge on services but will strongly recommend this option. Dr. Hendrickson reported that the Chair of FCC will be in Nebraska to visit with PSC and other individuals. Ms. Michalecki will also be meeting with them and will show them rural areas (Alliance).

Statewide Technology Plan - Education Council Action Plans Work Session

Mr. Rolfes provide a brief explanation of the three documents distributed: 1) summary of the Education Council's priorities, barriers, and 40 action items; 2) list of 12 condensed action items for the Education Council; and 3) the action plan items from the Community and Government Councils. Dr. Gilliland led a small group exercise to prioritize the action plans. Small groups met to discuss if the 12 developed action plans were sufficient or if there needed to be additional action items. After small group discussion, each individual would indicate their top five action items by placing a dot on the sheet indicating that action item. After prioritization, staff will further develop the action plans and distribute them in advance of the December 17th meeting.

Dr. Berndt left at 11:10 a.m. Dr. Benschoter assumed the UNMC representation.

Before the group began to indicate their top five items, Dr. Gilliland asked if there were additional action items to be posted. The following additions and/or changed were made:

  • Establish a Research office notifying institutions of federal funding opportunities for K-16
  • Work jointly with Community & State government councils
Staff reposted the wording of the following or changed wording as suggested.
  • K-16 Distance Learning Training Grants or K16 Technology Learning Training Grants.
  • Collect & publicize research reports on technology and learning or Compile and publicize technology research reports

The top four results were as follows with the total number of votes in parentheses:

  1. Statewide backbone carrying voice/video/data (12)
  2. Research & disseminate successful funding models (11)
  3. K16 Technology Learning Training Grants (10)
  4. Compile and publicize technology research reports (9)

The next four results were as follows with the total number of votes in parentheses:

  1. Work jointly with Community & State Government Councils (5)
  2. Education council vision statement (4)
  3. Establish a research office notifying institutions of federal funding opportunities for K-16 (4)
  4. Education section of the NITC Information Clearinghouse (4)

The next results were as follows with the total number of votes in parenthesis

  1. Establish a technology innovation fund for education (2)
  2. Update the Operations Manual working group (2)
  3. Education Technology 2010 Conference (1)
  4. Promote the FY 2002-03 Technology Request Cycle (1)
  5. Education Council report to the Governor and the Legislature (0)
  6. Compile distance learning data for K-12 and higher education (0)

Educational Service Units--Data & ISP Request for Proposals

Mr. Wibbels shared with the Council two RFP (Request for Proposals): 1) Backbone, a minimum of three (3) megabits of bandwidth (with expansion capabilities clearly defined) between Grand Island Public Schools and ESU 3 or ESU 6 or both; and 2) Internet access and transport, which terminates at an Internet service provider (ISP) at a guaranteed minimum bandwidth of three (3) megabits expandable to at least forty-five (45) megabits of throughput priced in three (3) megabit increments. The ESUs have been talking with the State Department of Communications and have brought the proposal to the NITC Technical Panel for a voluntary review. Members received a copy of the Technical panel’s review of the project. Contract negotiations will begin in early December. The ESUs plan to speak with DOC to make sure the contracts are acceptable.

Discussion occurred regarding the need for an existing statewide infrastructure. Time is a factor. The Council will have lots of information after the TINA study. Members spoke of the need to bring existing telecommunications financial resources together to build the beginning of a backbone. It was stated that if the state's resources were organized, the boundaries would disappear.

It was suggested that the State of Nebraska hire grant writers to seek outside funding. Mr. Wibbels suggested Dr. Michael Gershowitz, Grant and Evaluation Services, Des Moines, as a possible resource. Mr. Gerchewitz has helped the ESUs with their grants.


Mr. Rolfes distributed a new release from the USDA indicating that there is $220 million available for distance learning and telemedicine projects. He encouraged members to share this information with their appropriate staff and constituencies and he also encouraged entities to apply.

Mr. Rolfes informed the Council that the State of Nebraska has a Public Calendar available on its website. The Lieutenant Governor sent letters to agencies inviting them to utilize this resource as a means of publicizing public meetings. Citizens can access this information and receive detailed information on public meetings.

Dr. Hendrickson announced that the national backbone (Abeline and Internet2), which the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is connected to, will accept new memberships from educational institutions. There will be no subscription charge for new members.

Mr. Rolfes complimented the Council and the task group on the work done on action items.

Next Meeting: The next meeting of the Education Council will be on Friday, December 17, 1999 @ 9:00AM, Nebraska Center for Continuing Education, 33rd & Holdrege, Lincoln.

The meeting was adjourned by Co-chair Dr. Huck at 11:50 a.m.

Minutes were taken by Lori Lopez Urdiales, Administrative Assistant, and reviewed by Tom Rolfes, Education Information Technology Manager.

Meeting Minutes