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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Ybarra’s chief deputy to stay on longer than planned

State schools Superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s chief deputy, former Nampa Superintendent Pete Koehler, has decided to stay on through the end of the calendar year, rather than leaving next month, Idaho Education News reports. Koehler told EdNews reporter Clark Corbin, “It was kind like being in hot landing zone and walking away and leaving others to finish the job.” You can read Corbin’s full report here.

Koehler, who came out of retirement to join Ybarra’s administration on an interim basis, said, “We really are trying to become a service-focused organization and be an absolute asset to both charters and school districts in the education of children, rather than an instrument simply of compliance or one-size-fits-all.” He pointed to the collapse of the Idaho Education Network school broadband service as a turning point for Ybarra’s state Department of Education.

“The broadband crisis either makes or breaks us,” Koehler said. “This one helped solidify very quickly where we were going to help and we demonstrated that to a number people, who I think had their doubts.” The Legislature wrested control over the program from the state Department of Administration, and handed it instead to Ybarra’s office, which oversaw a process in which individual school districts contracted with vendors of their choice; many ended up with significantly lower costs and higher bandwidth. “In the end, all of us grew in our experience from that,” Koehler said.

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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