Idaho Schools Get Another Round Of Bad Broadband Budget News

May 3, 2016

State superintendent Sherri Ybarra.
Credit Idaho Education News

The state has received another round of bad budget news stemming from the defunct Idaho Education Network project.

But it’s not immediately clear how big the problem is this time, and what it could mean for schools across the state.

Last week, school districts began receiving word that they will not receive federally administered “E-Rate” dollars to help cover their technology costs. When the word began to reach state superintendent Sherri Ybarra’s office, she fired off a letter to school administrators Monday.

The letter promised a “statewide response” to the latest funding setback. But in the letter, Ybarra suggested districts might want to consult with their legal counsel.

Her letter also offered no inkling about how much money is in limbo, or how many districts might be caught in a funding crunch.

At issue — once again — are e-Rate dollars. These dollars, collected through monthly landline and cell phone bills, have been applied to several purposes in Idaho.

The most prominent project was the Idaho Education Network, a statewide broadband system. E-Rate dollars initially paid about three-fourths of the costs of the network.

Read this entire story from Idaho Education News.