State lines

The end. Wisconsin's legislature last month gave preliminary approval to Gov. Jim Doyle's proposal to close down the state's 2-year-old Electronic Government Department.

Wisconsin faces a budget shortfall of at least $3 billion, according to legislative sources. Eliminating the department would save about $525,000, according to a nonpartisan evaluation by the state's Legislative Fiscal Bureau.

Under the proposal approved by Wisconsin's Joint Finance Committee, the state's Administration Department would reclaim tasks that the EDG assumed when the legislature created it. The fledgling department oversees about $400 million in IT spending annually.

The proposal to eliminate the department appears in the state's biennial budget. Wisconsin's next fiscal biennium begins July 1, but in recent years the legislature has not passed the budget until October, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau.

Department representatives were not immediately available for comment on details of the proposal, such as whether Wisconsin would still have a CIO if the budget passes in its present form.

IT oversight functions 'had already existed in the Administration Department when the Electronic Government Department was created,' a spokesman for the Legislative Reference Bureau said. 'Almost certainly they were carried out by the very same staff, and they likely didn't move offices but just put a new name on the door.'

New addition. The Federal Communications Commission late last month added wireless services and voice mail to the list of services that can be funded through its Universal Service Fund Schools and Libraries Program.

The commission also approved simplified application and billing processes for the program.
The Schools and Libraries Program, also known as the E-Rate Program, subsidizes discounted access to telecommunications services, Internet access and related equipment. The funds come from fees paid by telecommunications carriers.

School service. The Cobb County School District in Marietta, Ga., awarded a five-year, $50 million contract to Titan Corp. of San Diego for IT services, the company said last month.
Under the contract, Titan will provide IT services that include help desk and field technical support services, local network and WAN operations and maintenance, telecommunications support, data center operations, applications development and maintenance and disaster recovery planning.

In addition, the company will provide consulting to school staffs as well as related technical and management support services.

The school district is one of the largest in the nation with 112 schools, education centers and administrative buildings and more than 112,000 students and employees. The contract is expected to save the district about $5 million, Titan said.

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