Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, moved to locate the new commission to oversee school broadband aid at the state Department of Education, and Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, seconded the motion; it passed unanimously. Rusche noted that that’s where the matter is handled now. “The issue isn’t technology, the issue is getting business right,” he said. “We’ve had lots and lots of technology projects that have been driven by technologists, and don’t meet the business needs.”
Sen. Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls, said, “If it’s going to be about education, in my mind, it should be within the Department of Education.” Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, said, “The way we’ve narrowed this down to primarily education and education-related topics, I feel comfortable with the Department of Education.”
Prior to that vote, lawmakers on the broadband access study committee asked for input from stakeholders in the room after their vote to create a new commission to oversee school broadband aid. Chris Campbell, chief technology officer for the state Department of Education, congratulated the panel and said the move fits in well with what his office at the SDE has been doing.
“As a practice within the state Department of Education over the last year, we actually bring in a committee of those stakeholders to actually assist in making those decisions,” he said. “So I thank you for your foresight to include that moving forward. Most of the things you have listed here are things we are currently doing within the state Department of Education.”
Ann Joslin, state librarian, also praised the move. “Thank you for this motion and the items on this list,” she said. “Certainly I have been supporting the inclusion of libraries in statewide planning for broadband for quite some time, and I think this is a very good start.”
Greg Zickau, chief technology officer for the state Department of Administration, said, “I think it’s a complicated endeavor. In my personal opinion, I’m not sure it rises to the level of a commission.”