Local Politics

Legislators grill Luna on IEN funding fracas

BOISE, Idaho -  The worst-case-scenario for Idaho's embattled school broadband program could involve the Idaho Education Network going dark and leaving the state on the hook for more than $13 million, lawmakers learned Monday.

Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna said a federal agency providing three-fourths of the network funding is still determining if the department's contract is illegal.

The federal government has withheld funding since March 2013 as a lawsuit pends, and could refuse to fund another Idaho program even if the contract is rebid.

The Department of Administration opted to renew provider Education Networks of America `s contract last year -- a year early -- without informing lawmakers.

Luna says Idaho could be eligible to get a waiver for the owed money, because the funds weren't lost through fraud or abuse.