SEMTEC The SE MN preK-12 Technology Coordinators

Welcome to SEMTEC! Home of SE MN Educational Technology Leaders!

The agenda is in this main area. The minutes and other info (Contacts, weblinks, etc) will be in the comments area below. Note there are some minor changes to the info from what was emailed on Tue, March 20th:

March 23rd, 2012
Wood Lake Meeting Center, Rochester, MN

9:30am - Welcome

9:40am - Updates (all the usual stuff: SSC, SEMNET, eRate, Legislative, RAMSP)

10:00 - MCA Math and the new Secure Browser - some issues that have been seen and apparently resolved (Dover-Eyota and Kasson-Mantorville report)

10:15 - iPads - purchase, set-up, deployment - Jeff Oian

11:00 - Results from Summer Work survey done by Linda Smith at Cannon Falls

11:30 - Vendor Presentation - Northland Systems (Jason Zomer) - Working lunch during presentation (food delivered approximately at noon...please bring your beverage of choice. Vending machines for soft drinks are available in the lobby at the Wood Lake Meeting Center, and coffee is also usually available, provided by SSC)

1:00 - Vendor Presentation - Parallel Technologies (Josh Klien). They are actually providing lunch! Thank you! A few topics will be presented - SAN Storage, Digital Signage, Video Conferencing and a couple of other items if there is time. This is being left somewhat open-ended for time in case attendees whish to ask more questions, see more or talk more with the presenters

2:00 - Finishing up any discussions

2:30 - adjourn

Note that the next Meeting will be Friday, May 4th

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SSC Update


Standards Insight (Nicole sent out an email this morning to most as well). Web based standards/curriculum organization tool. Demos in the near future (April 10, 20 and 24) to show what it does and how it differs from things like Curriculum mappers.


SMARTNotebook v11 is coming out in April. SSC will be offering training on that new version. Appearance not that different, but lots of additional features and a loaded toolbar. 800 series Boards will have four simultaneous touches with v11 (had two with v10)


SMART also announced a price increase in their Boards....pricing increases in April.


SSC was approved for being an online school. Some new plans for this fall. SSC will likely be bringing in a Moodle server in-house this summer. That will be used for schools that wish to use the Moodle server, and it will also be used for the online school offerings as courses are approved. Communications will be starting with the schools. An advisory committee will be activated again. Kim Ross not involved with this one.

Legislative Update


The testing situation for the future is that only one test window will be "official" (March 11 to May 10). A window will be available for districts to do other tests earlier (Oct 1 to Feb 22), but those won't be "official", they can only be used for in-house assessment. MDE made the announcement on Wednesday this past week (March 21).

MCA Testing


Some issues this week at several schools that turned out to be issues at AIR's end. Kasson-Mantorville, St. Charles, Dover-Eyota, Chatfield and Fillmore Central all reported issues with students getting kicked out of the tests at various levels. One had an entire lab get booted out, one had a couple of students get booted, another had 2/3rds of their kids get booted. Some delays from support, but ultimately AIR indicated it was an issue on their end. Seemed to be fine the rest of the week in most cases, though one school had issues again Thursday afternoon.

Cart discussions


How are people handling carts and updates for laptops on carts? Discussion: In most cases, schools have moved away from using carts, unless they are used in specific areas (one grade level, one department, etc). Otherwise they tend to become a mess and batteries lose charge capabilities. Updating sometimes is a challenge and requires some different plans for doing so. Some only do updates in the summer. Others update each quarter.


iPads and Android tablets


Chatfield using Android tablets, primarily using web-based tools rather than apps. iPads are being used in some schools. Sync processes are something of a pain. - demo of digital signage...very nice system

Parallel Technologies (provided lunch!)

7667 Equitable Drive, Suite 201

Eden Prairie, MN 55344

Main Office Phone: 952-920-7185


Brent Knight - SAN Solitions Contact from Parallel -

Josh Klein - Sales Rep at Parallel -

Thomas Herr - Account Manager -


Parallel provides solutions for SAN Storage, Digital Signage solutions (including the solution, but also lower cost solutions like flypaper), HVAC and Classroom controls, Wireless connectivity, security (Doors and cameras) and solutions that can help integrate multiple systems together. They provided some great information, especially on SAN storage and on Digital Signage during the time they were with us today.


Linda's survey Information can be viewed at:


Linda's info:

 I summarized the results and the links at the bottom give access to the specific results and also to the survey itself.  Basically, I was after information after our board cut all summer stipends, which included technology. I wanted to provide the administrators some facts regarding what other area schools do for technology summer work. Cannon Falls did not pass their referendum and has had to make major cuts, so this is not going to come back- at least not this year. This is informatinal- most people asked that I share my results. Thank you!

Legislative Information from the Minnesota Rural Education Association (came via an email on Monday, March 25th, 2012)

Part 1 of 3

School Payment Shift

The debate over repaying the school aid shift heated up in the Senate late last week. Friday morning, the Senate Finance committee passed an education finance bill (HF 2083) that would mirror a house proposal to draw down state reserves to accelerate the payment shift from 64/36 to 70/30. The administration does not like this move by the legislature. GOP legislative leaders point out that Governor Dayton's plan last year only left $200 million on the bottom line with an estimated $2+ billion deficit. The GOP proposal would leave about $500 million on the bottom line while facing a projected $1.1 billion deficit. DFLers countered that the uncertainty remaining in the global economy and Minnesota's volatile revenue system are reasons to leave $1 billion in reserves while facing a $1.1 billion deficit.


Sen. Sean Nienow (GOP, Cambridge) wants to accelerate repayment of the shift beyond the 70/30 plan. He was able to amend the bill to require the state to reduce all budgets by 1%, except for education aids and state debt service payments, if school payments were less than 90/10. The amendment requires the state to analyze the budget and payment shift each July and make the adjustment if needed to make progress toward 90/10 until that level is reached. You can bet this will attract those representing all other areas of the state's budget.


Legislative Information from the Minnesota Rural Education Association (came via an email on Monday, March 25th, 2012)

Part 2 of 3


Pension Adjustments

A pension bill (SF 1808) is moving through the legislature. During a Senate State Government hearing, the bill took on an amendment that had previously failed in the Pension Commission. The amendment would alter the actuarial assumption of return on investment from 8.5% to 8%. This would lower TRA's funding ration from 77% to 73% and increase the likelihood of increased district contributions and/or reduced benefits. Opponents of this amendment argue that since 1980 the State Board of Investment has averaged a 10% return, which is in excess of the current 8.5% assumption.


Session Adjournment

Legislative leaders in the GOP are trying to sort through what they want to negotiate with Dayton and for how long. Rumors are floating around about an attempted April 6th adjournment (mostly in the Senate), but that is quickly approaching and won't leave much time to negotiate and organize the votes for passing a mix of bonding, finance and policy bills. House leadership had outlined a session lasting until April 30th allowing for legislative leaders to negotiate with the Dayton administration while most in the Capitol complex took an extended spring break (April 6-15). Assuming leadership could cut a deal and gather the votes, they would finalize work on any compromise bills in late April.

Legislative Information from the Minnesota Rural Education Association (came via an email on Monday, March 25th, 2012)

Part 3 of 3


What's left on the table? A bonding bill, for starters, and the House and Governor are a long way apart. The Senate has yet to produce a bill, but is expected to release a bill this week. There is pressure from conservative GOP freshman who don't want to add to the state's debt service obligations. They want a variety of policy reforms if they are going to be asked to vote for a bonding bill. To understand the endgame dynamics, understand that the freshman GOP members feel jaded about last July's budget deal that borrowed money to spend more than they wanted ($35.5 billion instead of $34 billion) and a $500 million bonding bill. In return, they had to drop their policy agenda. Don't expect them to do that lightly this time around for another bonding bill.

Some additional information from the MREA


Monday, March 26, 2012 10:15 AM
Conference Committee on H.F. 1870

Chairs: Sen. Pam Wolf and Rep. Branden Petersen
CONFEREES: SENATE: Wolf; Olson; Bonoff; Daley; Kruse - HOUSE: Petersen; Woodard; Erickson; Mariani; Downey
Room 112 Capitol

H.F. 1870 (Wolf) School districts to base leave of absence and discharge decisions on teacher evaluation outcomes.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012 10:15 AM
Meeting Time Note: Change in Regular Schedule
Education Finance
Room: 5 State Office Building
Chair: Rep. Pat Garofalo
HF2949 (Garofalo) Early graduation education finance provisions modified.
There is a Delete All Amendment for


MREA Contact Information

MREA Office --
Fred Nolan, Executive Director --
Sam Walseth, Legislative Director --

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