Among the questions from lawmakers about the Idaho Education Network at this morning’s budget hearing:
Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, said his local school district gets good broadband service outside the IEN. He questioned “why we need the statewide network model, when there are other models out there.”
Former Sen. John Goedde responded that Moscow, West Ada and Boise obviously have other good options for broadband. “There are other areas that do not,” he said.
Sen. Jim Guthrie, R-McCammon, asked why the state hasn’t been paying the bills from vendors. “What is the roadblock?” he asked.
Teresa Luna, state Department of Administration director, said, “There is a state statute that says that you may not pay against invalid contracts.” After a judge in November declared Idaho’s contract with the IEN vendors void, “We’ve been working to clarify that with the judge,” she said. “We are concerned about paying our vendors on an invalid contract. ... It’s been a Catch-22. The vendors are antsy, of course, we want to pay them, but we also have a concern about the statutes as written, as to whether those contracts are actually invalid today.”