Broadband roundup: the 2.20.15 edition (w/video)


A few quick hits on the ever-evolving Idaho Education Network saga:


Senate vote Monday. The Senate will take up the short-term broadband bailout bill Monday morning.

House Bill 168 would earmark $3.6 million to reimburse school districts for short-term broadband contracts. The bill passed the House Thursday on a 68-1 vote.

Coeur d’Alene goes its own way. The Coeur d’Alene School District plans to switch off the Idaho Education Network grid Friday. The district will switch over to Ednetics, a North Idaho provider that already serves its elementary and middle schools.

“Only minimal interruptions in internet service are expected at the high schools Friday afternoon, and you shouldn’t notice any impact after that, as the added bandwidth will actually be more than was provided previously,” district technology director Seth Denison said in a Thursday email, posted by Dave Oliveria, a Spokane Spokesman-Review blogger.

Madison touts local control. The Madison School District secured its own broadband system before the Idaho Education Network was even established. And this week, district administrators crowed about their decision.

“When the (network) did come out, it was new and exciting to many area districts, but we decided against switching to it,” technology director Cory Peterson said in a district news release. “We didn’t know how reliable it would be and we didn’t want to put all of our eggs in their basket.”

Said district Superintendent Geoffrey Thomas, “In this, as in almost every issue facing our schools, local control works.”

Madison is part of a four-district consortium sharing courses over broadband. To look at the future of this consortium, click on our Thursday story on the schools’ broadband scramble.

“Idaho Reports” tonight. “Idaho Reports” will have an extensive segment on the history and the future of the Idaho Education Network. Tune into Idaho Public Television at 8 p.m. tonight.

Video. In this week’s “Making the Grade” segment, taped Wednesday, I discuss the broadband saga with Michelle Edmonds of KIVI/KNIN. We also provide a quick update on the tiered licensure/career ladder issue, which is still playing out behind the scenes at the Statehouse.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

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