The "Students Come First Technology" Task Force has opened a two-day meeting this morning in the Capitol Auditorium; you can listen live here. State Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna urged the members to focus on "features of a high-quality online course" and bring recommendations forward tomorrow. Now, the panel is hearing a presentation from Sarah Hilderbrand, purchasing officer for the Division of Purchasing, on the "do's and don't's" of the state purchasing process. "This is one of the most important and timely presentations we're going to receive," Luna told the group, which is making recommendations for the "Students Come First" plan of purchasing a laptop computer at state expense for every Idaho high school teacher and student. He said the committee needs to know "what kind of vendor contact you as a committee member can have, what is appropriate for vendors in their relationship with us. ... I don't want there to be any gray area."
Luna said, "We've already had a couple of situations that we had to deal with because we did not understand the do's and don't's. Many of us had a trip planned to Washington (state) that we had to basically cancel, because there was too many gray areas in what we would be doing while we were there, who we would be visiting with."
He noted that many representatives of vendors are in the audience this morning, and he cautioned them to listen, too. Hilderbrand told the committee, "Don't discuss this procurement with vendors. We want to make sure everybody has the same information. ... It could potentially stop the whole project if there is misinformation out there."