125B.20 Telecommunication access grant and statewide coordination.
Subdivision 1. Establishment; purpose. The purpose of developing a statewide school district telecommunications network is to expand the availability of a broad range of courses and degrees to students throughout the state, to share information resources to improve access, quality, and efficiency, to improve learning, and distance cooperative learning opportunities, and to promote the exchange of ideas among students, parents, teachers, media generalists, librarians, and the public. In addition, through the development of this statewide telecommunications network emphasizing cost-effective, competitive connections, all Minnesotans will benefit by enhancing access to telecommunications technology throughout the state. Network connections for school districts and public libraries are coordinated and fully integrated into the existing state telecommunications and interactive television networks to achieve comprehensive and efficient interconnectivity of school districts and libraries to higher education institutions, state agencies, other governmental units, agencies, and institutions throughout Minnesota. A school district may apply to the commissioner for a grant under subdivision 2, and a regional public library may apply under subdivision 3. The Minnesota education telecommunications council established in Laws 1995, First Special Session chapter 3, article 12, section 7, shall establish priorities for awarding grants, making grant awards, and being responsible for the coordination of networks.
Subd. 2. School district telecommunications grant. (a) Priority will be given to a school district that has not received access to interactive video, data connection, or both under the telecommunications access grant program. Districts may apply for a grant under this subdivision to: (1) establish connections among school districts, and between school districts and the state information infrastructure administered by the department of administration under section 16B.465; or (2) if such a connection meeting minimum electronic connectivity standards is already established, enhance telecommunications capacity for a school district. A district may submit a grant application for interactive television with higher capacity connections in order to maintain multiple simultaneous connections. To ensure coordination among school districts, a school district must submit its grant application to the council through the telecommunications access grant cluster of which the district is a member.
(b) The application must, at a minimum, contain information to document for each applicant school district the following:
(1) that the proposed connection meets the minimum standards and employs an open network architecture that will ensure interconnectivity and interoperability with other education institutions and libraries;
(2) that the proposed connection and system will be connected to the state information infrastructure through the department of administration under section 16B.465;
(3) that the proposed connection and system will be connected to the higher education telecommunication network and that a governance agreement has been adopted which includes agreements between the school district system, a higher education regional council, libraries, and coordinating entities;
(4) the telecommunication vendor selected to provide service from the district to a state information infrastructure hub or to a more cost-effective connection point to the state information infrastructure; and
(5) other information, as determined by the commissioner in consultation with the education telecommunications council, to ensure that connections are coordinated, meet state standards and are cost-effective, and that service is provided in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
(c) A school district may include, in its grant application, telecommunications access for collaboration with nonprofit arts organizations for the purpose of educational programs, or access for a secondary media center that: (1) is a member of a multitype library system; (2) is open during periods of the year when classroom instruction is occurring; and (3) has licensed school media staff on site.
(d) The Minnesota education telecommunications council shall award grants and the funds shall be dispersed by the commissioner. Grant applications must be submitted to the commissioner by a telecommunications access grant cluster organization. For the purposes of the grant, a school district may include a charter school under section 124D.10, or the Minnesota state academies. Based on the award made by the council, all grants under this subdivision shall be paid by the commissioner directly to a school district (unless this application requests that the funds be paid to the coordinating agency). Nonpublic schools as defined in section 237.065, subdivision 2, located within the district may access the network. The nonpublic school is responsible for actual costs for connection from the school to the access site.
(e) Money awarded under this section may be used only for the purposes explicitly stated in the grant application.
Subd. 3. Regional library telecommunication grant. (a) A regional public library system may apply for a telecommunication access grant. Priority will be given to public libraries that have not received access to data connection under the telecommunications access grant program. The grant must be used to create or expand the capacity of electronic data access and connect the library system with the state information infrastructure administered by the department of administration under section 16B.465. To be eligible for a telecommunications access grant, a regional public library system must meet the level of local support required under section 134.34.
(b) Any grant award under this subdivision may not be used to substitute for any existing local funds allocated to provide electronic access, or equipment for library staff or the public, or local funds previously dedicated to other library operations.
(c) An application for a regional public library telecommunications access grant must, at a minimum, contain information to document the following:
(1) that the connection meets the minimum standards and employs an open network architecture that will ensure interconnectivity and interoperability with other libraries and the educational system;
(2) that the connection is being established through the most cost-effective means and that the public library has explored and coordinated connections through school districts or other governmental agencies;
(3) that the proposed connection and system will be connected to the state information infrastructure through the department of administration under section 16B.465;
(4) that the proposed connection and system will be connected to the higher education and to the school district telecommunication networks subject to a governance agreement with one or more school districts and a higher education regional council specifying how the system will be coordinated;
(5) the telecommunication vendor selected to provide service from the library to a state information infrastructure hub or through a more cost-effective connection point to the state information infrastructure; and
(6) other information, as determined by the commissioner, to ensure that connections are coordinated, meet state standards, are cost-effective, and that service is provided in an efficient and cost-effective manner so that libraries throughout the state are connected in as seamless a manner as technically possible.
Subd. 4. Award of grants. The council shall develop application forms and procedures for telecommunication access grants. The council shall select the grant recipient and shall promptly notify any applicant that is found not to be qualified. The commissioner shall make the grant payments directly to the school district or regional library system. At the request of the district or regional library system, the commissioner may make the grant payment directly to the coordinating organization.
Subd. 5. E-rates. The telecommunication access grant clusters are required to file e-rate applications for telecommunication access grant-related expenditures on behalf of grant participants in their clusters. Discounts received on telecommunication access grant expenditures shall be used to offset or reduce operations funding provided by the state.
* NOTE: This section is repealed by Laws 1997, First Special *Session chapter 4, article 9, section 13, as amended by Laws 1999, *chapter 241, article 4, section 19, effective July 1, 2001.
Official Publication of the State of Minnesota
Revisor of Statutes