STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) - The war over a statewide student information software isn’t over, but the first battle might end Friday. That’s when state officials could rule on Stevens Point based Skyward’s protest of a statewide single vendor contract to Infinite Campus of Blaine, Minnesota.
One supporter of Skyward is Stevens Point Administrator Attila Wedinger, who told school board members Monday night that the state’s choice of Infinite Campus is not the most important thing. He believes the selection process has flaws. "I think the most important thing is what happened with the process. There are a number of pieces of the process that raise some very serious questions, some of them ethical, and some of them simply procedural, and I think those need to be followed up on because the process is what ultimately will determine the selection."
Wedinger mentioned that in the State of Maine, a similar thing happened, and school districts stood up to the state and forced them to take a multiple vendor approach.
The Superintendent believes one of the big flaws is how the cost of implementing a different system will cost local districts thousands of dollars. "If you are a district between 7,000 and 7,999 your allotment was roughly $3.92 (per student). That equates to $29,082 over five years. You cannot convert a student information system over five years, install it, train people, implement it, and do all of the fixes that are necessary on $29,000.”
Last week, Governor Scott Walker said he cannot interfere with the process, saying there are very specific guidelines in the state procurement process. Walker said questions about the selection should go to State Superintendent Tony Evers at the Department of Public Instruction.
Senator Julie Lassa (D- Stevens Point) disagrees, saying the single vendor system was created as part of Walker’s last budget, and he could make the changes to a multiple vendor system or defund it in his new budget next week.
Representative Katrina Shankland (D- Stevens Point) also disagrees, posting on Facebook, "The ONLY agency that can LEGALLY stop this contract from being signed is the Department of Administration. Walker is straight-up lying to the people of Wisconsin and is passing the blame on DPI. It is only DOA - which falls under Walker's authority - that can delay the implementation of the Infinite Campus contract and contract with another firm (like Skyward) under state statutes.”
Infinite Campus released a score sheet from the state showing how they performed better in 28 out of 31 categories. Skyward filed an appeal to the state last week.
About 50% of Wisconsin schools use the Skyward products, including Stevens Point. 10% of the state’s schools currently use Infinite Campus software, including Wausau and Madison.