BOISE -- Teachers and state workers turned out in droves for a hearing to let Idahoans ask for changes to the state budget, but they weren't the only ones who came to weigh in.

Meridian School District director of information systems Jerry Reininger urged the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee Friday to continue backing the Idaho Education Network's broadband internet program for schools.

That's despite funding problems that have thrown its future into potential jeopardy.

The state could have to repay $13.3 million to the federal government and stands to lose another $14.5 million after allegations that the broadband contract wasn't legally struck.

Still, Reininger touted the program as indispensable for students in both rural and large school districts, saying two high schools in his district use the system's video conferencing feature daily.

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