Today’s WiFi contract reading roundup

Here’s your daily update from the WiFi contract beat:

Bidder speaks out. Post Falls-based Ednetics Inc., is talking about its unsuccessful bid for the multiyear WiFi contract, issued last week. The company tells Maureen Dolan of the Coeur d’Alene Press that it structured its deal based on the notion that only some of the state’s high schools will sign on for the service.

“With half the schools participating, our contract would have been half the price of ENA’s,” company president and founder Shawn Swanby said.

ENA is Education Networks of America, the Nashville, Tenn., company that received the contract. The state will pay ENA $2.1 million a year for the contract; the state had budgeted $2.25 million for the project in 2013-14.

It’s still unclear how many schools will sign up for the WiFi service; the deadline is Thursday night.

Steve Smylie
Steve Smylie

More from Smylie. Former state Rep. Steve Smylie says he isn’t planning to run against Luna in 2014, eight years after narrowly losing to Luna in the GOP primary. Smylie even went onto the comments section of the Idaho Statesman’s website to clarify the point.

But that doesn’t mean Smylie is without some choice comments about the WiFi contract, and about Luna’s job performance. An excerpt from Smylie’s Wednesday guest opinion:

“As someone who spent a lifetime teaching children and who spent four terms in the Idaho Legislature, I am alarmed that a superintendent with absolutely no experience in either is backing such deals. Contracts like this one seem to be the result of a Department of Education that is dangerously disconnected from both the constitutionally mandated entity to oversee education (the Legislature), those who work every day with our children (our teachers) and the citizens of Idaho.

“While the superintendent may have not personally made the deal, the poor handling of the whole affair falls directly upon him.”

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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