IEN Unplugged: Audit Reveals Lax Usage of Idaho Education Network

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A rather stunning audit of the struggling Idaho Education Network reveals that more than half of Idaho schools surveyed haven't been using taxpayer-funded equipment geared for IEN.  Idaho Education News is reporting that contractors made visits to 30 of the state's 217 high schools that are signed up to use IEN, yet only 47 percent were using the necessary equipment, including video teleconferencing, TVs, projectors and HD cameras. 

Worse yet, Idaho EdNews reports that auditors discovered that approximately 6 percent of the purchased equipment can't be accounted for. IEN officials insisted on Jan. 15 that most of the equipment had been located but they were still searching for more items.

IEN spokeswoman Camille Wells told members of the Idaho Legislature's Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee that there were a "few inaccuracies" and a "few things that needed to be cleared up" in the audit, according to Idaho EdNews

In November 2014, a 4th District Court judge ruled that the Idaho Department of Administration had broken the state's procurement law when it inappropriately awarded the IEN broadband contract. Meanwhile, federal funds were cut off while the 2014 Idaho Legislature only agreed to fund IEN's operations through March of this year, pending a decision from this year's Legislature. In his State of the State message earlier this week, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said he was anxious to re-bid the $60 million IEN contract and maintain the statewide network.