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Eye On Boise

New IEN director says project a year ahead of schedule, under budget

Cliff Green, the new executive director of the Idaho Education Network, told the “Students Come First” school technology task force this morning that later this week, state schools Supt. Tom Luna and Gov. Butch Otter will be in St. Maries for a ceremony to mark all Idaho school districts being connected to the broadband wireless network. “We're one year ahead of schedule and 16 percent under budget,” Green said. “It was estimated it would cost about $50 million to build. The team brought it in at approximately $42 million, which is a huge savings. … The building of this was funded through federal stimulus and e-rate dollars, as well as a very generous donation from the Albertson Foundation, so no state moneys have been used to date.”

He stressed that the IEN is the “backbone” for providing online content to the schools or allowing them to share it, but isn't creating any curriculum itself. Joining Green for the presentation today are Brady Kraft, whose title is IEN technical director; and Garry Lough, whose title is IEN director of communications.

Green said, “One of the reasons that I was brought on was to bring the stakeholders together, create a … plan for the future of the IEN. … Once we complete this strategic plan, we'll operationalize it and effectuate it. … We've already begun work on it. We have a facilitator in place, and we hope to deliver the product March 31st.” The plan, Green said, will go to Luna, the State Board of Education, and the governor for approval.

Green is a former executive director of the Idaho School Boards Association who in 2008 was named executive director of iSucceed Virtual High School, and this year formed Praxis Management Group. A former teacher, from 1998 to 2002 he worked for the Idaho Division of Professional-Technical Education.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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