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CdA schools to pass on statewide Wi-Fi contract

Tue., July 30, 2013, 3:31 p.m.

The Coeur d’Alene School District has announced that it’s selected Ednetics, a Post Falls firm, to provide Wi-Fi service districtwide, including all 17 schools, rather than sign onto a controversial statewide high school Wi-Fi contract signed last week by state Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna with a Nashville firm.

The $278,000 deal with Ednetics is up for final school board approval on Monday, but it’s been long in the works. It’s part of a bond issue voters approved last August.

Wendell Wardell, chief operating officer for the district, said Tuesday that the district wanted one platform for all its schools, not two; it wanted local support for the products; and it wanted a “sturdy system” that could be up and running as soon as possible. He said the Ednetics network will be higher-powered than what the state’s offering; it’ll cost much less; and it’ll be “online and running by Nov. 1.”

Plus, Wardell said, “We’ll own the equipment, as opposed to a vendor owning the equipment and having it reside in our buildings. We didn’t feel comfortable with that.”

When he compared costs between the state network and the Ednetics network for Coeur d’Alene’s three high schools, Wardell said, he found that service from Ednetics would cost less than $6,000 per high school, while the state contract’s costs could be around $23,000 per school.

School districts have until midnight Thursday to decide whether to opt into the statewide contract. “We’ve got a better system,” Wardell said. “We’ve got a better mousetrap, and we’re pretty excited about it.”


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