Hewlett Packard now has an eight year 180 million dollar contract to get laptops into the hands of Idaho high school students and teachers. This meets part of the requirements outlined in the Students Come First education laws.
Tuesday's announcement comes two weeks before voters decide whether those laws will stay on the books. If Idahoans vote no on ballot Proposition 3 in November, the contract with HP will be voided.
In making Tuesday’s announcement Idaho Governor Butch Otter played up Hewlett Packard’s presence in Idaho.
Otter: “I can’t tell you how happy I was that we had an Idaho company that was the successful bidder.”
HP is not an Idaho company. It’s headquartered in California but the computer hardware maker says up to 3,500 of its 350 thousand employees still live in the Boise area.
That’s down as much as a 1000 in the last few years. Neither the state nor the company has said this contract will reduce the threat of more layoffs at HP’s Boise campus. But Otter did refer to the deal as growing the state’s partnership with the company.
The state insists the process remained competitive. And Otter criticized opponents of Students Come First, saying they had scared other companies away with the threat of repeal. HP Vice President and Boise General Manager Von Hansen says his company was not worried.
Hansen: “Guess I have faith in Idaho. I have faith that people will realize that technology is very important for our students. You know we have our own children here in school. This is very important for us.”
If the technology law is not repealed Idaho’s 6000 plus high school teachers should each get an HP laptop by early next semester. The first group of the state’s high school students would receive them the following fall.
Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio