Yesterday, I received a letter from State Senator Robert Cowles with an update on the WiscNet situation. The exact quote is, "The legislature has requested an audit of this program, so the funding has been restored for the next 2 years." While that is good news for now, it sounds like a stall tactic. I can’t imagine that there aren’t “audits” already in place for WiscNet, and any information they may need is readily available. I can imagine that this will pop back into some legislation with the hopes that the general public won’t notice. Call me paranoid…
Stay tuned & stay vigilant.
With my thanks to Bill Herman, here's a good description of the Wiscnet fiasco.
"For anyone who hasn't had time to catch up yet, here are the basics:
Right now is the time to call your representatives, and urge them to remove sections 23-26 of the 'UW Budget Bill.' Please forward this to parents as well. We all share an interest in preserving the best possible technology access for our students.
The bill will be voted on in a matter of days. Politicians respond to pressure. You can find out who your legislators are and how to contact them at http://legis.wisconsin.gov/w3asp/waml/waml.aspx
For more information, you can read the proposal as approved by Joint Finance at http://wispolitics.com/1006/110603UW_omnibus.pdf. The relevant sections are 23-26."
You can also check out the Wiscnet home page at www.wiscnet.net and read Superintendent Tony Ever's response.
I have some questions for anyone on the JFC. If anyone can get them to answer, I'm sure we would all appreciate it.
If you are not from Wisconsin, let me know if your state has any state-wide ISP like Wiscnet. Is your state's ISP under attach? Like many other political stunts, I don't believe this is an isolated event. I believe this is another ploy by Republicans to undermine the people in the state. What do you think?
If you would like to help, send a letter to your representatives and spread the news to everyone you know.
Here is an example of a letter from Mark Scheppke, Technology Coordinator for the School District of Altoona.
"As the technology coordinator for the School District of Altoona, I want to in the strongest terms possible insist that you remove section 23:26 of the UW System Omnibus motion introduced by Sen. Harsdorf and Rep. Strachota relating to the Building Community Capacity Project, BTOP.NTIA grant.
The Federal grant is designed to help many small communities in Wisconsin get fast and inexpensive connectivity to the Internet. This may be the only way that small towns in our area such as Gilman or Colby receive these services. Big commercial players like ATT and Charter Communications do not have interest in providing small markets with high-end services. Imagine if the the phone companies in the 1920's and 1930's were not required to provide Universal Telephone Service to rural areas, most of northern and central Wisconsin would not have telephone service. What if the sitting State Legislative body back in the 1950's decided to turn down federal funding to build the Interstate highway system through the rural areas of Wisconsin? The Internet is the telephone and Interstate system of the 21st century. The Federal grants were written and awarded based on their merit. In the end taxes will be saved, dynamic and beneficial partnerships will be created and much needed services will be provided. Don't stand in the way of progress initiated by willing partners such as the Chippewa Valley Internetworking Consortium (CINC) by turning away Federal funds.
Wiscnet provides the majority of schools and libraries in the state great products and extraordinary service at lower cost to the taxpayers than commercial entities ever could or would. If you are for saving taxpayer money, why would even consider destroying this vital service that so many public entities rely on? Allow Wiscnet to continue to do what it does best, provide outstanding services to it's customers and save taxpayer dollars.
Remove sections of the bill that do harm to schools, libraries, cities and other public entities!"
Dave's Affordable Design is in the Technology Education and Consulting business. Read more about Dave here.