Gov. Butch Otter today signed the stopgap funding bill for Idaho school broadband service into law, allocating $3.64 million to the state Department of Education to hand out to school districts for the service, to replace services previously provided by the defunct Idaho Education Network, which is beset by legal and financial problems. The bill, HB 168, earlier passed both the House and Senate with just one “no” vote.
“With this bill, the Legislature is sending a strong message to the people of Idaho that we will not let the education of Idaho’s children or this dynamic tool for preparing them for the future be sidetracked – as well as the opportunities for enabling even the smallest of our rural communities to fully participate in Idaho’s economic growth,” Otter said in a statement. “A lot of work remains to be done to set this right, including a funding solution beyond the current school year. But I’m confident that we are working with a singular focus on the good of Idaho students – and that means a strong and reliable IEN.”