STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) - A school software developer based in Stevens Point will challenge Friday’s announcement by Wisconsin’s Department of Administration to award a statewide software contract to a Minnesota company. Skyward said in a press release, CEO Cliff King said, “Throughout this process, all we wanted was a fair and impartial evaluation that was in the best interest of Wisconsin school districts. Based on what we know today, it is only prudent on behalf of our customers, employees and the taxpayers of Wisconsin that we contest this decision.”
Wisconsin’s Department of Administration announced Friday it would pursue a contract worth about 15 million dollars with Infinite Campus Inc. of Blaine Minnesota to have one system for every Wisconsin school district.
The state is continuing to get criticism after passing over the Stevens Point company in its search for a statewide school software program. State Senator Julie Lassa and Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson are two elected officials that are highly critical of the Department of Administration’s decision. Halverson said Friday, “Wisconsin to entrepreneurs: Work hard, create jobs, and after thirty years, we'll say in essence you can't do business in your home State" adding “This is a sad day for Wisconsin businesses.” Senator Lassa is calling on Governor Scott Walker and State Superintendent Tony Evers to delay implementation of a contract until a full investigation of the process can be completed. Lassa said in a Friday statement, “Hundreds of school districts will have to scrap perfectly good Skyward SIS systems and pay to replace them with one created out of state. The state has already committed over $12 million in tax dollars to offset some of the cost of the conversion. At a time of bone-deep cuts in funding to schools, this decision will add even more unnecessary additional costs that schools cannot afford.”
Stevens Point based Skyward already serves about 80 percent of Wisconsin’s districts, but would likely leave Wisconsin endangering about 280 jobs if the state takes away all in state clients.
Statement from Mayor Andrew Halverson regarding Skyward Posted to City of Stevens Point website 2/1/13
It is tremendously shortsighted of the State to think that spending $15,000,000 of our tax dollars on an outside company is good. This will not mean Wisconsin jobs, and it will not contribute to the economic vitality that we are trying so hard to create.The Department of Public Instruction is focused on a single vendor solution for Student Information when States across the Country are turning back, knowing this is not a sound policy decision.This is a slap in the face to Wisconsin businesses in all sectors, and I hope that we all rise up to stand for Wisconsin businesses first and foremost over anything else; as our own State needs that message loud and clear from the electorate.What a message this must be to Jim King who founded Skyward in his garage, and who built the company up to a presence in over 80% of all Wisconsin school districts. The Kings have always stood for Wisconsin and now Wisconsin is clearly not standing with them.Wisconsin to entrepreneurs: "work hard, create jobs, and after thirty years, we'll say in essence you can't do business in your home State".This is a sad day for Wisconsin businesses.
Statement by Senator Julie Lassa, released to the media 2/1/13:
“The decision by Governor Walker and Superintendent Evers to send the SIS contract out of state is tragic, not just for the good-paying jobs that may be lost, but for the chaos and expense that it will entail for thousands of Wisconsin schools that are already reeling from devastating budget cuts. It will also send millions of our taxpayer dollars to Minnesota to help build that state's economy.“Skyward already serves half of all Wisconsin public schools with their SIS software, and the educators I’ve spoken with are satisfied with the company's product and customer service. By contrast, the vendor selected by the administration is in only ten percent of Wisconsin schools. Hundreds of school districts will have to scrap perfectly good SIS systems and pay to replace them with one created out of state. The state has already committed over $12 million in tax dollars to offset some of the cost of the conversion. At a time of bone-deep cuts in funding to schools, this decision will add even more unnecessary additional costs that schools cannot afford.“I support Skyward’s stated intention to contest this foolhardy decision. I also take the charges that the state’s requirements were altered late in the game to favor the Minnesota company very seriously. A thorough, independent review of the procurement and evaluation process must be done immediately, including who chose the members of the evaluation committee. Until such a review is complete, I call on Governor Walker and Superintendent Evers to delay implementation of this decision."I encourage my constituents to contact Governor Walker and Superintendent Evers with their thoughts about this decision that will so negatively impact central Wisconsin and the entire state.”
Friday 2/1/13 Press Release from Skyward, posted on their website:
Statewide SIS Decision Presents Long-Term Consequences
Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction decision on statewide student information system will negatively impact 90 percent of schools and Wisconsin
February 2, 2013
STEVENS POINT, WI –Skyward, Inc., an industry leading K-12 school administration software provider serving 50 percent of Wisconsin school districts, intends to challenge the decision by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on its selection for the Statewide Student Information System provider. Given that the selected vendor is in use by only 10 percent of Wisconsin school districts, this decision will force the remaining 90 percent to migrate to the selected system, negatively impacting their already strained budgets.
We believe the evaluation process followed by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction was flawed. Eleventh-hour modifications to the evaluation process clearly favored the selected vendor and disadvantaged Skyward.
“Throughout this process, all we wanted was a fair and impartial evaluation that was in the best interest of Wisconsin school districts,” said Cliff King, CEO of Skyward. “Based on what we know today, it is only prudent on behalf of our customers, employees and the taxpayers of Wisconsin that we contest this decision.”
As the current provider for 50 percent of Wisconsin school districts, Skyward is proven to meet the needs of Wisconsin districts and maintains a greater than 99 percent retention rate, signifying the confidence Wisconsin school districts have in Skyward’s ability to provide them the strongest solution.
As the current provider for the two largest statewide deployments in the United States, Skyward has served Washington since 2001 and Texas since 2011. Texas, a state clearly open for business, included oversight by the federal government where the Texas Education Agency’s decision highlighted Skyward’s superior functionality and cost effectiveness. Their evaluation eliminated the vendor chosen for Wisconsin early in the process.
Currently, Skyward maintains more than 280 employees in three offices across Wisconsin. In spite of this decision, Skyward anticipates strong continued growth across the U.S. and internationally.
About SkywardSkyward is a leading provider of K-12 school administrative software that surpasses districts’ needs in state reporting, improves operational capabilities, and opens communication between schools and families. Today, the Skyward School Management System™ is used in more than 1,600 school districts worldwide, ranging from districts with as few as 50 students to statewide implementations supporting more than 1,000,000 students. Founded in 1980, Skyward serves school districts with its integrated student, finance, and human resources suite of products and is proudly made and supported in the United States. To learn more, visitwww.skyward.com.