[post_thumbnail]Tom Luna, superintendent of public instruction, and the Republican Party have ties to two individuals employed by the company awarded a contract to install high-speed Internet in the state's school districts.
A contractor who last week received a contract from the Idaho Department of Education has past ties to the state agency’s head man and the Idaho Republican Party.
Two of Education Networks of America’s (ENA) top Idaho staffers worked for the Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna and the state party.
Last week, the Idaho Department of Education announced a $2.1 million contract with ENA to install high-speed Internet connections in Idaho high schools. To date, approximately 60 percent of the school districts in the state have indicated they will join the network constructed by ENA.
After the announcement of the contract, state lawmakers cried foul, complaining the agreement, which could stretch into a 15-year deal, went outside legislative intent.
Several news reports have detailed ENA’s closeness with Luna, but the company’s links to the superintendent go deeper than previously reported.
Garry Lough, ENA’s top official in Idaho, served as an aide to Luna from January 2007 through July 2007. Lough also worked as the communications director for the Idaho Education Network (IEN), the project that connects Idaho high schools with broadband. He left that post to take the job with ENA.
Another connection is Mike Vance, who ENA describes as an “account services manager” on its website. Vance, who didn’t return a message from IdahoReporter.com, served on Luna’s campaign staff in 2006, according to public records filed with the secretary of state’s office.
Luna’s October 2006 campaign disclosure document shows three separate salary payments made to Vance, each for $1,250. Similar payments to Vance are not on subsequent filings from Luna’s 2006 campaign. The documents do not detail what position Vance held with Luna’s campaign.
That is not Vance’s only connection to Idaho politics, though.