FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2011
REGENTS OPPOSE LEGISLATION TO ELIMINATE KAN-ED
Legislation Would Make Kansas Only State in Nation without a Statewide Educational Network; Would Eliminate Broadband Access for over 400 Kansas Hospitals, Libraries, & Schools
(TOPEKA) – Today Dr. Andy Tompkins, the President and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents, testified before the House General Government Committee in opposition to House Bill 2390, legislation that would eliminate the Kan-ed program.
“We should be celebrating Kan-ed’s tremendous success in connecting hundreds of Kansas hospitals, libraries, and schools, and hundreds of thousands of individuals to high-speed broadband, not trying to eliminate what is undoubtedly a huge success story,” said Tompkins. “If successful, this legislation would make Kansas the only state in the nation without a statewide educational network, and it results in no savings to the state general fund. The widespread support of Kan-ed by its users was clearly evident at this morning’s hearing, and I truly hope committee members take their compelling testimony to heart.”
Created by the 2001 Legislature and administered by the Board of Regents, Kan-ed provides high-speed bandwidth connectivity for Kansas hospitals, libraries, K-12 schools, and higher education institutions, and works with over 20 private telecom and cable providers to facilitate the public-private partnerships and collaboration necessary to provide this statewide connectivity. Kan-ed provides video-conferencing technology that is utilized to connect local and state leaders with their counterparts across the state, nation, and globe, assists in providing distance learning services to school districts, provides educational and research databases to libraries, provides critical services to hospitals, facilitates telemedicine activities, and provides homework tutorial services to students at all educational levels. Kan-ed is funded through the Kansas Universal Service Fund (KUSF) at $10 million annually – an amount that has not changed since the program’s inception. Governor Sam Brownback recommended continued funding for Kan-ed in his Fiscal Year 2012 budget recommendations.
“Kan-ed is a cost effective use of technology for hospitals and the patients and communities they serve,” said Tom Bell, the President and CEO of the Kansas Hospital Association. “The benefits provided to Kansas hospitals by Kan-ed, such as the statewide license to EMResource, access to a reliable, secure network for telemedicine, and access to educational resources for staff/patient education, have been tremendous. We are concerned about any efforts that would jeopardize the future sustainability of these services.”
“Kan-Ed has been a significant benefit to our K-12 schools and educators,” said Dr. Diane DeBacker, the Kansas Commissioner of Education. “There are many features of Kan-Ed that K-12 schools use regularly to improve instruction, in particular the area of formative assessments. The formative assessments help prepare students to be successful in meeting standards on Kansas State Assessments, something that is critical to both student and school success. The loss of Kan-Ed would be a blow to many of our schools.”
House Bill 2390, if ultimately approved by the Legislature, would terminate Kan-ed effective June 30, 2011. All Kan-ed contracts with private companies and public agencies would be cancelled. All connections and services would be terminated, including all network and video connections, statewide video licenses and servers, a host of programs and services provided to hospitals, libraries, higher education institutions and K-12 schools, and statewide 1-800 E-rate support. Kan-ed would also cease to partner with state agencies and Kan-ed members for grant development. In summary, hundreds of hospitals, libraries, and schools would lose their current broadband access and access to program and content. And, as the House Committee heard in opposing testimony this morning, access would most likely prove to be extremely cost-prohibitive.
“Because of KanEd, the Pioneer Health Network, based in Garden City, has served over 10,000 staff members, physicians, and community members with over 260 ITV educational programs and 150 ITV meetings over the past four years. ITV access has provided our 16 member hospitals telemedicine and educational opportunities that otherwise would not exist for our rural facilities,” said Mary Adam, the Executive Director of the Pioneer Health Network. “Kan-ed also offers enormous potential for other healthcare audiences in our members’ communities, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, physician clinics, county health offices, as well as entire communities. Pioneer has demonstrated that video-conferencing/distance-learning can be a cost-effective solution in the hospital setting. Our future success and growth in this venture depends on continued availability and upgrades of the Kan-Ed backbone and local equipment.”
“Kan-ed provides an opportunity for our small colleges to combine with other Kansas educational institutions to share services together at a price we could not obtain individually,” said Jerry Smith, the Executive Director of the Associated Colleges of Central Kansas, located in McPherson. “A good example of this Kan-ed leadership is in the provision of library databases. Three of our institutions, Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina, and Tabor College in Hillsboro have very active and expanding nursing programs. These programs are supported by access to online services such as the ProQuest Nursing Journal, which meets a required resource for nursing accreditation.”
Individuals who provided testimony today in opposition to House Bill 2390 included:
Cynthia L. Beisner, Director
Jennifer Findley, Senior Director of Education & Chad Austin, Vice President Govt. Relations
Kansas Hospital Association (Topeka)
Caleb H. May, Director
Meade Public Library (Meade)
Bryan McChesney, IDL Coordinator
Cowley County Community College (Arkansas City)
Audra May, Distance Learning Coordinator
South Central Kansas Distance Learning Network (Argonia)
Carol Woolbright, Director
Greenbush IDL Network (Girard)
Laura Kinzie, Kan-ed Site Administrator & Director Library Services
Stormont-Vail HealthCare (Topeka)
Doug Vander Linden
Director of Educational Technology, USD #244 (Burlington)
Project Manager, Coffey County Area Network
Charlene A. McGuire, Technology Consultant
Southwest Kansas Library System (Dodge City)
Diane Trinkle, Director
Nortonville Public Library (Nortonville)
Johnson County Library Board of Directors (Overland Park)
Gary George, Assistant Superintendent of Schools
Olathe Public Schools (Olathe)
Dennis L. George, CEO
Coffey Health System (Burlington)
Jim Minges, Director
Northeast Kansas Library System (Lawrence)
Linda Kenne, Superintendent
USD #432 (Victoria)
Beth Reust, Superintendent
USD #270 (Plainville)
Dr. Tompkins’ testimony in opposition to House Bill 2390 can be found on the Board’s website at the following link:
About the Kansas Board of Regents:
The nine-member Kansas Board of Regents, founded in 1925 and established in the Kansas Constitution, is the governing board of the six state universities and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions (six state universities, one municipal university, 19 community colleges, and six technical colleges). In addition, the Board administers the state’s student financial aid, adult education, GED, career and technical education programs, and the state university retirement plans. The Board also approves private proprietary schools and out-of-state institutions to operate in Kansas, and administers the Kan-ed network, a statewide network that provides broadband Internet access and distance learning capabilities for schools, hospitals, and libraries.
Visit the Kansas Board of Regents online at www.kansasregents.org.
Visit Kan-ed online at www.kan-ed.org.