Questions surround school program - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Questions surround school program

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Questions surround school program Questions surround school program
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

Governor Otter's plans to improve education in his third term have hit a road block as years worth of legal battles have temporarily concluded.

A 60 million dollar contract that helped establish a statewide school broadband network has been found by a district judge to have been awarded improperly. A company, among others awarded the contract, felt it had been excluded and sued the state for breach of contract.

Through a series of legal battles, the district court ruled in favor of the company and now state officials are scrambling to figure out where to go from here. The ruling made earlier this week affects a 5-year-old bandwidth and video conferencing network known as the Idaho Education Network (IEN).

The program serves 219 High Schools and nearly 90 thousand students throughout the state. It allows students in rural areas to take courses otherwise not available to them by attending video courses through schools like Boise and Coeur d'Alene. IEN has enough funding through February of 2015, but state officials are currently unsure what will happen afterwords. The Legislature will look at the 2015 budget in January of that year. Right now, state officials are deciding on what the next course of action is with the recent decision made by the courts, settle the lawsuit, or appeal?

In a statement released by Governor Otter, the governor said "I don't want this recent decision to detract from the value of the IEN."

School officials like those in the Coeur d'Alene Public Schools District are keeping a close eye on their IEN services. But they feel if services are cancelled it would have a minimal affect on daily education.

"If for some reason we see services stopped, we can then transfer High School over to the same connection we use for our middle schools," says Seth Deniston, the Director of Technology with Coeur d'Alene Public Schools.

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