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Budget means Skyward expansion plans back on track


STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAU) --  The Governor’s signature on the budget was a giant boost for Stevens Point -based Skyward, which has been battling against a single-vendor mandate for the Department of Public Instruction’s student information software system. That signature with no line item veto changed the law, allowing the Wisconsin company to again compete in Wisconsin along with other vendors.

Scott Glinski is Skyward’s President. He says their appeal to the Department of Administration is still active, but he’s glad the Legislature and Governor made these law changes. “This has been turned around and it’s written into law that we’re back to a multi-vendor environment, and there was never a contract signed so that kind of went away” adding, “The appeal is still out there with the DOA. We’ve been told that they plan to respond, but we haven’t heard anything yet, and we’re just very relieved to be in the position that we’re in right now.”

For the last couple of years, Skyward’s plans to grow in Stevens Point have been on hold because of the uncertain future in this state. Scott Glinski says Skyward has focused their growth in other areas. “We were in an environment where we really couldn’t grow here in Stevens Point. It was an uncertain environment, so what we did is we started growing our business outside of Wisconsin. We have ten other satellite offices, and we started filling those up. Now that we know we can sell in the state of Wisconsin, we want to get going on this building and we want to start hiring and creating Wisconsin jobs.”

Glinski says their plans to build a new and larger building in Stevens Point are back on track. “We’re looking to hire more people here in central Wisconsin. We’ll probably add somewhere around 250 to 300 in the next five years, so we need to get the building going so that we have a place for these new employees, and we do want to continue to expand our business into other states. Currently, we’re in eighteen states and ten countries, but we want to expand that and start moving into other states as well.”

Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson is pleased with the state budget corrections favoring Skyward, but is concerned about how difficult it was to get Madison to correct the problem. “That, I think is wonderful, but also a little concerning that it had to get to this level. I think it also reflects on some of the concerns that folks can be disconnected at times in Madison from general business and home-grown successes, (and) sometimes don’t see the real impact.”

Halverson confirms that Skyward has expressed interest in acquiring property from the city in the past, and looks forward to helping them again. “Those conversations are ongoing, and hopefully, Skyward will be able to make some announcements of their own relating to their continued success.”

Glinski thanks schools and local officials that helped show the Joint Finance Committee the problems of the single-vendor system and the importance of keeping the market open.