Idaho’s broadband mess: what legislators are saying

A few quick quotes from legislators on the ongoing Idaho Education Network mess — and the $60 million school broadband contract, tossed out by District Judge Patrick Owen earlier this month:

  • House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, speaking to Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review: “We need to get a new contract as quickly as possible and keep the service up and going during the school year. You have school districts that are dependent on this service, they’re in the middle of a term, and … the less disruption the better here, on our way to a new contract that addresses the issues that have been raised.”
  • House Minority Leader John Rusche, D-Lewiston, also speaking to Russell: “I think that we sometimes have trouble identifying when the horse we’ve been beating is dead. … We have to follow the judge’s rules and get that contract rebid in some manner. And I think that’s the important thing, is to get the support for the telecommunications and broadband services the schools need.”
  • House Education Committee member Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, in a guest opinion circulating around Idaho newspapers this week: “Why did this occur? It is an example of crony capitalism, corruption, special favors for campaign donors, the governor’s staff moving to lobby and/or work for the very businesses receiving the contracts or from those companies to the governor’s staff. It is back-slapping, good old boy networks, winks and nods, cover ups, denying involvement, blaming others, attacking those asking questions or with the courage to say the Emperor has no clothes.”

Last week, I wrote about the state’s motion to ask Owen to clarify, or reconsider, his Nov. 10 ruling — a legal move that has drawn criticism from two senators who oversee the network. Here’s a link to that story from Thursday.

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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