Idaho Lawmakers Try To Save School Broadband As Deadline Looms
Legislative budget-writers moved several million dollars around Tuesday morning in a last-minute bid to save broadband in Idaho high schools.
But it’s going to be up to school administrators to find someone to provide broadband locally. There’s no guarantee service will continue past this weekend — when the statewide Idaho Education Network could go dark.
“We hope districts heeded our warning early,” said Sen. Dean Cameron, co-chairman of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, after budget-writers approved a spending plan designed to maintain broadband through June 30.
Maybe. But some districts may be in trouble. According to an Idaho Education Technology Association survey, 42 percent of schools do not think they can get back online within a month — and 11 percent don’t think they can get back online until the end of the school year.
“Districts that don’t have contracts right now for alternatives to the (network), that’s part of the delay, because they’ve got to get contracts in place before they can do anything with the physical equipment,” John Goedde, Gov. Butch Otter’s point man on the broadband mess, told the House Education Committee Tuesday morning.
So what happened at the Statehouse Tuesday morning? And what happens next?
Following the money, Part I. The deal moves $3,640,500 into state superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s budget. It’ll be up to Ybarra’s office to reimburse school districts for the broadband service they procure for the rest of the school year.
Ybarra’s office will have to file monthly reports with Gov. Butch Otter’s office and legislative leadership.