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Great Seal of the State of Idaho

C.L. "BUTCH" OTTER
GOVERNOR

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 6, 2017
17:052

CONTACT: Jon Hanian
(208) 334-2100

 

 

 

STATE, SCHOOL DISTRICTS REACH SETTLEMENT WITH FCC OVER IDAHO EDUCATION NETWORK

(BOISE) – Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced today that the State of Idaho and 63 Idaho schools districts and education providers have agreed to settle all financial claims with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regarding the Idaho Education Network (IEN).

The agreement calls for the State to pay the FCC $3.5 million to resolve claims for reimbursement of E-Rate program payments to the State and school districts for IEN broadband internet connectivity from 2009-2012, as well as requests for reimbursements for 2013-2014.

The payment was issued Tuesday from money previously appropriated to the Legislative Legal Defense Fund.

“I appreciate the willingness of all parties involved to work toward a resolution of these issues so that we can move forward with a clean slate,” Governor Otter said.

The Governor, legislative leaders and lawyers for the school districts have been negotiating with the FCC since August 2016 to settle claims arising from the IEN contract declared void by the Idaho Supreme Court in March 2016.

“We appreciate Governor Otter’s leadership in negotiations with the FCC, which resulted in the settlement agreement,” Idaho House Speaker Scott Bedke said. “This gives us the opportunity to focus on delivering an important educational service to Idaho students rather than pending reimbursement claims.” 

“I believe the months of work that went into crafting this agreement resulted in a settlement that’s in the best interest of everyone involved,” Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill said. “The Legislature and local districts throughout Idaho are more than ready to move on.”

The FCC’s E-Rate program provides discounts to assist schools and libraries in obtaining affordable telecommunications and internet access. It is funded through a fee charged to companies that provide interstate or international telecommunications services.

In August 2016, the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) – which administers the E-Rate program for the FCC – informed the Idaho Department of Administration and 63 individual school districts and education providers of its intent to deny funding requests for 2013 and 2014, totaling approximately $13.8 million. Shortly after that denial, the FCC informed the State that Idaho would be required to pay back all E-Rate funds received from 2009-2012, totaling about $14.1 million.

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