Members of the Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee (JFAC) approved two pieces of legislation on Tuesday designed to ensure school districts have financial resources to contract for the broadband services necessary to finish out the remainder of this school year. Assuming the full House and Senate approve the measures, school districts can be assured they will be able to finish out this school year with functional broadband.
Under the plan, $5 million that was intended to be used to pay for the now defunct IEN contract will be removed from the Department of Administration’s FY 15 budget; and, up to $3.64 million of those funds will be shifted to the State Department of Education to be used to help local school districts maintain broadband services for the remainder of the school year.
School districts will be required to enter into a contract with a broadband service provider through June 30th, which is the end of the state’s fiscal year. The superintendent is required to distribute funds to school districts and provide legislators with a detailed monthly report on how the money is spent.
While these legislative proposals provide the “fix” for schools this year, the legislature must still determine what will be done to fund the system for FY 16.
School Boards Association Presents to Education Committees
Idaho School Board members from across the state spent Monday and Tuesday at the Capitol for the Idaho School Boards Association (ISBA) annual “Day on the Hill”. Members of the House and Senate Education Committees were briefed by ISBA leaders regarding their legislative priorities.
ISBA President Dr. Todd Wells from Castleford identified the ISBA’s legislative priorities, which include removing the sunset provisions on three pieces of teacher labor law, revising Idaho Code to provide additional funding for those districts that offer alternative school programs for 6th graders, and funding for the Idaho Education Network.