Crony-Contract Collapse Saves Idaho Schools Big Dollars

Gov. Otter's vision for modern schools.
Idaho taxpayers don’t get a good deal when elected leaders let cronies and campaign contributors cash-in on state contracts.
As the Department of Justice investigates the sordid mess surrounding crony-ridden contracts for statewide school internet–commonly known as the Idaho Education Network scandal–Idahoans can glimpse how expensive Gov. Otter’s administration has been to schools and kids.
That illegal IEN contract made schools scramble to keep the internet going. But, once let out of a bloated state contract, Idaho schools and kids saw immediate benefits: better service and less-costly service.
One IT professional said this to the Spokesman Review:
“We’re getting more bandwidth than we did before. We’re definitely paying less.”
One internet provider said this:
“Post Falls is saving over $8,000 per month and is receiving 10 times the bandwidth versus IEN costs. They’re getting a full gigabit of Internet connectivity for a third the price.”
otter mug2Point your fingers at Gov. Otter and his agency heads for wink-and-nod contracts that pay back folks who got him elected.
We don’t have to put up with this. Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, has proposed creating an Inspector General to investigate state contract issues as they arise. We can also stay informed. Let the people in power know that we are watching them. Be vocal about this waste and corruption.
Good government is something every Idahoans deserves. Bad government at the hands of Gov. Otter and his cronies harms us all.

North Idaho school districts say collapse of network contract is actually benefit

Far from leaving them in the dark without service, the demise of Idaho’s multimillion-dollar statewide school broadband network has brought several North Idaho school districts better service at a lower cost.
“We’re getting more bandwidth now than we did before,” said Seth Deniston, technology director for the Coeur d’Alene School District. “We’re definitely paying less.”
“It’s a lot cheaper than I thought,” said Tom Taggart, business manager for the Lakeland School District.
In fact, at least five North Idaho school districts were able to quickly transfer their broadband service from the troubled Idaho Education Network to local Post Falls firm Ednetics at big savings. And they increased their broadband speed.
“It appears we were being overcharged for the services provided,” said Senate Finance Chairman Dean Cameron, R-Rupert. “And obviously one of the silver linings in this whole issue is that not only will we reformulate what the IEN looks like, but we’ll have an opportunity for it to be more competitively bid.”
The statewide network, which linked every Idaho high school with broadband service and videoconferencing, collapsed last week after a judge declared the state’s $60 million contract with politically connected firms Education Networks of America and CenturyLink illegal. Lawmakers quickly approved a $3.6 million stopgap funding bill to cover costs for local school districts to find their own vendors for Internet service to replace the IEN.

READ the rest of the story at the Idaho Democratic Party Page.