of the

Thursday, December 4, 2008, 9:00AM-12:00PM CT

Host site: NET Board Room, 1800 N. 33rd, Lincoln, NE
Remote site 1: ESU 10 Room G, 76 Plaza Boulevard, Kearney, NE
Remote site 3: Panhandle Research Center, 4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff, NE





Mr. Arnold Bateman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (Lincoln site)
Mr. Clark Chandler, Nebraska Wesleyan University (Lincoln site)
Dr. Michael Chipps, Mid-Plains Community College (Lincoln site)

Mr. Ron Cone, ESU 10 (Kearney Site)

Dr. Eileen Ely, Western Nebraska Community College (Scottsbluff site)
Dr. Terry Haack, Bennington Public Schools (Lincoln site)

Mr. Jerry Harnisch, Alt. for Chuck Lenosky, Creighton University (Lincoln site)

Mr. Jeff Johnson, Centennial Public Schools (Lincoln site)

Mr. Dennis Linster, Wayne State College (Lincoln site)

Mr. Craig Pease, Ashland-Greenwood Public Schools (Lincoln site)
Mr. Steven Stortz, Alt. for Steven Hamersky, Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School (Lincoln site)
Mr. Art Tanderup, Tekamah-Herman Community Schools (Lincoln site)


Dr. Kathleen Fimple, Alt. for Marshall Hill, Coordinating Commission for Postsecondary Education; Ms. SuAnn Witt, Alt. for Mike Kozak, Nebraska Dept. of Education; and Mr. Terry Dugas, Alt. for Michael Winkle, NET


MEMBERS/LIAISONS ABSENT: Stan Carpenter, Nebraska State College System; Ms. Yvette Holly, UN Medical Center; Ms. Linda Richards, Ralston Public Schools; and Bob Uhing, ESU 1





Dr. Haack called the meeting to order at 9:02 a.m.  There were 10 members present at the time of roll call.  A quorum existed to conduct official business.  It was stated that the meeting notice was posted to the NITC Web site and the Nebraska Public Meeting Calendar on October 28, 2008, and that the agenda was posted to the NITC Web site December 2, 2008.




Mr. Johnson moved to approve the December 2, 2008 agenda as present.  Mr. Bateman seconded.  All were in favor. Motion carried by voice vote.


Mr. Pease arrived to the meeting.




Mr. Chandler moved to approve the October 24, 2008 minutes.  Mr. Harnisch seconded.  Roll call vote:  Bateman-Yes, Chandler-Yes, Chipps-Yes, Cone-Yes, Ely-Yes, Haack-Yes, Harnisch-Yes, Johnson-Yes, Linster-Yes, Pease-Yes, and Tanderup-Yes.  Results:  Yes-11, No-0, Abstain-0.  Motion carried.




There was no public comment.



Natalie Bacon, Jessica Zywiec, and Brent Hoffman, NIC.USA, LLC


Ms. Bacon and Ms. Zywiec are newly assigned staff to the Education Portal project.  Development of the portal is just beginning with design content.  Preliminary web pages were displayed.  The pages were not interactive.  Currently, the page has four tabs that citizens can select – Early Childhood, K-12, Higher Education and Alternative Schooling.  Mr. Hoffman showed a new feature called “Choose the Right Tools Location”.  The feature will allow citizens to type in their address to receive a list of the Educational Service Unit and K-12 and high education institutions and services in their area.  Council members cautioned that this may be misleading because of established district lines.  Council members representing public and non-public higher education institutions preferred not to be restricted per zip codes but would rather statewide results be returned so no institution would be excluded by geography.


Concerns and/or ideas to be addressed to the task work group:

§         Tabs – should the tabs be geared more towards groups of citizens for example Parents, Students and Educators?

§         Alternative Schooling – what does this mean and who does it include?

§         Which database(s) will be used to provide citizen information? For example, where does the “Choose the Right Tools Location” feature get its data?

§         Observation: An education portal is a complex concept to implement due to the diversity of the various visitors and the information they may be seeking.


The question was raised as to the maintenance of website and who would be responsible.  Mr. Hoffman stated that the only maintenance that has to occur is on certain pages of the web site which will maintain.  The Education Portal website will provide citizens direct links to educational institutions. The institutions, themselves, will maintain their own web site information as well as any links on their own web site. This was the issue with the last education portal in 2002, links not being kept up or maintained. tried to maintain all links and it was not successful.


Task force members (Mike Kozak, Kathleen Fimple, Bob Uhing and Steven Hamersky) will continue to work with with the web site development. As members have ideas, they were asked to send them to Mr. Rolfes. staff thanked the council and task group members for their assistance. 



Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager


At the NITC November meeting, the following Standards and Guidelines were approved:  Project Status Reporting; Enterprise Projects; Blocking Email Attachments, and Strong Passwords.  The major focus of the November meeting was to review and make I.T. Budget requests for 11 I.T. proposals.  The Technical Panel provided the technical reviews of the projects.  The State Government Council provided their recommendations to the NITC as well.  The NITC submitted their I.T. Budget Recommendations and their Progress Report to the legislature by the November 15th deadline.  On November 18th, the annual Nebraska Digital Summit was hosted by the OCIO at the Embassy Suites in Lincoln.  The Commission also received copies of an article in Distance Learning: A Magazine for Leaders entitled “Constructing the 39th Statewide Network: The Story of Network Nebraska”.  The article included a photo of Dr. Dan Hoesing, NITC Commissioner.


Arnold Bateman, University of Nebraska


The Task Group has held several meetings via telephone conference.  Their charge is to develop a marketing plan for Network Nebraska.  The Network Nebraska marketing survey was sent out electronically on Monday.  As of today, over 300 responses have been received.  Through the assistance of Council members forwarding the survey to their constituents, it has gone out to Lutheran and Catholic schools, independent colleges, state colleges and the University of Nebraska campuses.  The deadline to participate in the survey is December 15th.  The task group is utilizing Survey Monkey.  It is anticipated that the survey results and analysis will be completed in January with a preliminary marketing plan for review at the February Education Council meeting.  It was suggested to invite the Network Nebraska executive members to the February meeting. 


Members would like to have a chance to analyze results before the February meeting.  Mr. Rolfes will work with the Task Group to set up working session for members interested in the Network Nebraska Marketing Plan via video conference or WebEX sometime in January.  The Task Force also agreed to send the survey results electronically to council members.


Suann Witt, Department of Education


The Department of Education held a meeting of interested pre-K staff - Brian Halstead, General Counsel; Marilyn Peterson, Federal Programs Administrator; and Eleanor Kirkland, Head Start State Collaboration Director.  All persons present agreed that Pre-K should be included in the definition.  Tammy Barry, Legal Counsel for the Education Committee, was approached about adding Pre-K to the definition of school.  Ms. Witt provided information on other states’ definitions.  Both Mr. Halstead and Ms. Barry discussed options.  There may be other ways to include the Pre-K population definition within other areas of state law.  Due to No Child Left Behind legislation and the need to define elementary age, Mr. Halstead recommended not pursuing the issue at this time.  Currently, Nebraska receives approximately 8 million dollars in E-rate funding. An additional 3%-4% would be received if pre-K numbers would be included.


Ron Cone and Gordon Roethemeyer


The work group has not been meeting regularly.  This is a concern of the co-chairs and members.  Mr. Cone stated that the Marketing survey results will be beneficial as to what the customers want and that perhaps another survey down the road would be in order, focusing on other services customers prefer.  Mr. Rolfes mentioned that one task can be done immediately and that would be to post the services listed in N4a on the Network Nebraska web site as soon as possible.  This would provide customers with Basic Services for Network Nebraska Customers:

  • Intranet Ethernet connectivity to all Network Nebraska Participants including Wayne State College, Chadron State College, Peru State College(by end of year), Midlands Lutheran College, UNL, UNO, UNK and UNMC
  • Internet access
  • Internet 2 access
  • Co-location Space in College Park, Nebraska Hall and PKI
  • 24/7 Network Monitoring
  • Network Abuse Monitoring
  • Video/Scheduling Troubleshooting/Support
  • Tier 2 Network Troubleshooting/Support
  • Contract negotiations, DL participation dollars and course sharing incentives
  • Also researching IPS and Packet Shaping on Network Nebraska Equipment.


The task group would also like to list any online courses available to K-12 institutions in the statewide Renovo clearinghouse.  Educators would be able to get basic information on available courses - how to enroll, cost of course, contact person, etc.  The task group would like to have discussions with higher education representatives about what is available online for dual enrollment.  Dr. Fimple and Erika Volker would like to assist with this effort.


Co-chairs would like the task group to determine a proposed timeline for the development of the standards for learning management systems.



Eileen Ely, President, Western Nebraska Community College


The task group sent the task group’s concerns and questions to Brenda Decker, CIO for the State of Nebraska.  The group is in the process of correlating the responses prior to bringing the results to the Council.  Mr. Linster reported that Ms. Decker stated she did not have all the answers and that the Council and users of Network Nebraska assistance is needed to address solutions.  Suggestions offered by the task group included establishing a Network Nebraska Executive Board for oversight, as well as a Network Nebraska Stakeholders Board.  The task group will be meeting again on December 19 to develop a recommendation for the Education Council to discuss and review.  Council members commended Dennis for his passion, concerns and support of Network Nebraska.



Tom Rolfes, Education I.T. Manager


This is a concept of an enterprise global feature for Nebraska that Mr. Rolfes wanted to share with the Council for discussion and consideration.  Orange Grove uses a single software engine that digitally unites other institutions’ information.  If it is something the Education Council would like to pursue, the Council could recommend that this become a pilot project for the State of Nebraska.  Currently, there are five states using the Orange Grove software.


Discussion followed regarding the operational aspects of Network Nebraska and the uncertainty of running applications such as this on the network.  This type of application would benefit many users but there needs to be buy-in from users established first.  Dr. Ely mentioned she would first of all like to see “improved” connectivity for western Nebraska before discussions about applications occur.


Mr. Linster recommended bringing in an objective third party to evaluate Network Nebraska’s connectivity and services.


It was suggested that the Services Task Group address offering the Orange Grove application as a possible advanced service.




Due to bids and participation issues, the Office of the CIO has determined that there will be a Phase 4 to the LB 1208 Implementation.  The Panhandle area bids came in at a very reasonable cost.  Currently, Panhandle schools are buying 40 megabit of Internet access from a Wyoming vendor.  At the cost they are paying now, they could afford 140 megabits from Network Nebraska.  In addition, there are schools in southeast Nebraska that have opted not to participate but it is hoped that they will become part of Phase 4.  Lincoln Public Schools and Omaha Public Schools will become Network Nebraska participants by July 1.  Educational Service Units 4, 5, and 6 visited with the CIO’s Office last week regarding an Internet-only participation in Network Nebraska to purchase off of a state commodity internet contract.  The Office of the CIO is currently developing a contract and fee for Internet-only partnerships. 


The question was raised as to the reasons why there is a lack of participation from the southeast Nebraska schools since the implementation of LB 1208.  In the beginning of Network Nebraska, there was inadequate information shared with the superintendents.  Thus, there were misperceptions about LB 1208 and the Office of the CIO’s efforts.  At the October Metropolitan superintendents meeting, Mr. Pease reported that these perceptions were still evident by some members.  In November, the Office of the CIO met with the ESU 6 superintendents.  They now have the information about Network Nebraska, and the costs and benefits thereof.  Southeast Nebraska superintendents will need to make a decision on returning their Letters of Agency by August 2009 to become part of Phase 4.


It was stated that this situation gives credence to the need for a Network Nebraska Executive Board.  Dr. Chipps suggested that satisfied customers should also speak with the southeast Nebraska school superintendents to help educate them about Network Nebraska as well as share success stories. Council suggestions summarized Network Nebraska efforts for 2009:

  • Develop a fact sheet about benefits of Network Nebraska that would include success stories.  Mr. Rolfes stated that in August the Office of the CIO sent correspondence to every Phase III school superintendent.  Ms. Witt suggested that this information should come from someone other than the CIO – the Governor, for example. 
  • Provide testimonies from satisfied school superintendents.
  • Recommend that someone at a higher political level, for example the Governor, Lt. Governor, or Commissioner of Education, address the superintendents.

Phase 4 efforts will be discussed further at the February meeting.




There were no other announcements.




The next meeting of the NITC Education Council will be held Thursday, February 5, 2009.  Mr. Cone will host the February meeting at Education Service Unit 10.  The following agenda topics were suggested:  Network Nebraska Survey Results and Marketing Plan, Governance Task Force Recommendation, Erika Volker’s presentation, State Contracts,  Discussion Regarding Lack of Participation in Other Areas of the State, Information/Update on Public Safety Network, Integration of Task Force Efforts (e.g. Governance and Marketing).


With no further business, Dr. Chipps adjourned the meeting at 12:11 p.m.


The NITC Education Council wishes to thank the NET staff for hosting the December 4, 2008 meeting.



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