Report 2016-129 Recommendation 6 Responses

Report 2016-129: K-12 High Speed Network: Improved Budgeting, Greater Transparency, and Increased Oversight Are Needed to Ensure That the Network Is Providing Reliable Services at the Lowest Cost to the State (Release Date: May 2017)

Recommendation #6 To: Imperial County Office of Education

To better guarantee that network upgrades are necessary and are achieved at the lowest possible cost to the State, ICOE should develop a formal methodology for reviewing circuit capacity needs. This methodology should include consideration of multiyear trends in network traffic and the implications prospective upgrades may have for other parts of the network. Doing so would not only assist ICOE when determining the magnitude of circuit upgrades relative to the cost involved, but would also help ICOE determine whether it can delay upgrades until it can establish those upgrades' eligibility for E-Rate subsidies.

6-Month Agency Response

ICOE convened the Network Implementation Committee (NIC) on September 7, 2017 to discuss the proposed new process for network upgrades in line with other recommendations of the audit. The methodology includes:

New timeline to align with state budget planning cycles

Improved tool for collecting downstream capacity information from school districts (DataLINK).

Develop preliminary list of node upgrades based on:

Oversubscription rates downstream (DataLINK)

Trending data (Data collection on node site traffic usage in the months of May and October (peak school year traffic).

Bandwidth usage data from Orion and Cricket monitoring tools

Technical review process by CENIC engineers

Review process by the NIC on proposed upgrades

The new process is scheduled to be implemented starting the 2018 calendar year in preparation for the 2019-2020 budget cycle.

  • Estimated Completion Date: on-going
  • Response Date: November 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Partially Implemented

As indicated by its response, ICOE has identified a range of factors it plans to consider as components of its methodology for identifying the need and magnitude of network capacity upgrades. However, ICOE has not yet formally applied those components in the context of the network planning process in order to reach upgrade decisions. ICOE intends to do so as part of its efforts leading up to the submission of its fiscal year 2019-2020 K12HSN budget. Our expectation regarding that process, which aligns with changes made to the state Education Code regarding the administration of K12HSN, is that through the process, ICOE will produce a record of which factors ultimately drove ICOE's determinations for the specific network upgrades in question. Using information from that process, we will be able to evaluate the extent to which ICOE has implemented its methodology.

60-Day Agency Response

ICOE adjusted the settings on the Orion/Solarwinds monitoring system by June 15, 2017 so that average utilization per day at each node site is being stored for five years (1,825 days). The multi-year data reflecting network traffic will be used in processing decisions to maintain current bandwidth or increase bandwidth to meet demonstrated need. This process will be informed by a re-energized effort to collect full information from node site liaisons on the anticipated changes in downstream demand, school district initiatives and all other relevant factors. The implications that each prospective upgrade will have on other parts of the network will also be considered.

As mentioned before the Network Implementation Committee (NIC) will be called upon as an advisory panel to guide the effort to formally collect information on current utilization and anticipated growth over the next 6, 12 and 18 months. The support anticipated from node site liaisons will be communicated via the NIC, the annual node site meeting staged during an annual conference for technologists, and via email announcements to the technical and administrative contacts lists maintained by ICOE. The K12HSN will work with node site liaisons to conduct data collection reflecting the plans of the districts in their service areas and, where available, will collect links to any URLs available for monitoring usage. The whole effort will be documented into a written methodology that will be publicly available.

  • Estimated Completion Date: November
  • Response Date: August 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending

All Recommendations in 2016-129

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.