STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) - A group of local Republicans has unanimously backed a bill written by Democrats that is stuck in committee. Members of the Republican Party of Portage County recently voted in support of software developer Skyward from Stevens Point and the Assembly Bill 60 authored by Katrina Shankland and the companion Senate Bill 54 written by Senator Julie Lassa.
Patrick Testin is the chairman of the Republican Party of Portage County, and says his former Assembly race opponent’s bill should be passed. “The Republican Party of Portage County is proud to stand with Skyward and the many hard working men and women they employ right here in Stevens Point with good paying, family supporting jobs.” Testin adds, “We have to understand that this issue transcends party affiliation and political ideology. This is about saving Wisconsin jobs. I ask that state legislators of both parties take up the bipartisan bill, Assembly Bill 60, which would allow school districts the freedom to choose from multiple vendors for their SIS software.” Testin says local party members are also concerned about the high local cost of changing software systems.
State Superintendent Tony Evers chose Infinite Campus over Skyward in February. Skyward officials have filed an appeal of the award, citing discrepancies in the proposal scoring process. There is also concern about DPI staff member Kurt Kiefer’s prior work as an Infinite Campus representative through his affiliation with Cooperative Educational Service Agency #5. (CESA 5)
Neither bill is getting any traction in Madison. The Assembly sent it to the Committee on Government Operations and Licensing. The Senate has sent it to the Committee on Education. The chairs of those committees have not shown any interest in scheduling discussion or a vote to move the bills to the floor.
PORTAGE COUNTY REPUBLICAN PARTY RESOLUTION:
Whereas, Skyward employs around 280 people in Central Wisconsin with good paying, family supporting jobs
Whereas, Skyward currently provides SIS services to eighty percent of the school districts in the state of Wisconsin
Whereas, If Skyward is forced to leave the state the negative economic impact to the region and the 10 state could exceed $120 million
Whereas, The Republican Party of Portage County believes in free market competition and rejects the “one-size-fits-all” approach to school district information systems currently being imposed by State Superintendent Evers and the DPI
Whereas, The Republican Party of Portage County firmly believes that more choice in the marketplace 15 leads to better quality, more efficient and more cost effective services
Whereas, The Republican Party of Portage County supports local businesses and the positive economic impact they bring to their communities
Therefore be it resolved, The Republican Party of Portage County Stand in support of Skyward and all Wisconsin based businesses
Be it further resolved, The Republican Party of Portage County strongly disagrees with State Superintendent Evers and the Department of Public Instruction’s decision to switch from a multi-vendor system to a single vendor system for SIS
Be it further resolved, The Republican Party of Portage County encourages Wisconsin state legislators of both parties to take up Assembly Bill 60 or any other legislation that would allow and encourage school districts to maintain the freedom to choose from a multi-vendor system for their SIS needs
Be it finally resolved, that upon passage of this resolution by the Executive Board of the Republican Party of Portage County it be sent to local media and elected officials