The hotline was set up to take tips on unsafe conditions at schools, including bullying. This would seem to be a district function rather than a state function, but the state remains involved, using personnel funded by the education department and the state Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. This costs far less than the hotline contract. It may or may not be as effective.
We expect public officials to justify all their spending. The education department made the right call in this instance.