Idaho Lawmakers Surprised By School Wi-Fi Plan

Jul 24, 2013

Some Idaho lawmakers are upset by State Schools Superintendent Tom Luna's announcement that a $2.1 million annual statewide Wi-Fi network contract will run for up to 15 years — without prior legislative budget approval.

Luna's office said Wednesday Education Networks of America won the contract to equip as many as 340 Idaho high schools with the wireless Internet technology. Nine companies submitted bids. ENA's came in under the $2.25 million set aside by the 2013 Legislature for next year.

But the Spokesman-Review  reports Idaho Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, a Republican from Rupert, insists his budget committee wouldn't have agreed to a multi-year contract and Luna's move shows a lack of judgment.

Eighty three high schools have so far signed on to the Wi-Fi deal, putting the current contract cost at more than $25,000 annually per school.

But Luna's office expects more high schools to jump on board.