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Local lawmakers react to DPI decision on Skyward


STEVENS POINT, WI (WSAU) -  On Thursday, the Department of Public Instruction rejected Skyward’s appeal of the state student information system contract award.  Friday, a small group of legislators is pushing to change the law which requires a single vendor for the system.

Democratic State Representative Katrina Shankland already drafted Assembly Bill 60, which she says would allow the free market to prevail and allow schools to have local control. “What it does is, (DPI) is allowed to choose a vendor, but it must be at least two vendors. It can be many more than that, and these vendors are called preferred vendors. That means that the state recommends them but no school district is under any obligation to contract with them.”

Skyward plans to file the next level of appeal, which must go to the Department of Administration by next Thursday. Shankland encourages DOA to look closely at Skyward’s concerns. “I would urge the Department of Administration to address the situation with as much scrutiny as they possibly can. I would urge them to bring on many staff to look at the detailed concerns that Skyward has raised. I do believe that their objections are legitimate.”

Assembly Bill 60 is stalled in the Government Operations and Licensing Committee. Shankland is trying to convince Chairman Tyler August to move it forward. “He has the ability to make sure this bill gets a hearing, and I would say this bill not only deserves a public hearing for the people of central Wisconsin’s voices to be heard, it also deserves a vote.”

Another legislator that’s unhappy with the Department of Public Instruction’s ruling is Republican Representative Scott Krug of Rome. Krug has proposed removing the funding from Governor Scott Walker’s budget that’s earmarked to pay for the single-vendor system.

Krug wants to take the $13.9 million from the budget for the single-vendor system, and apply it towards child support enforcement and equalization of income maintenance funding. The Joint Finance Committee will have to consider this proposal. Krug is hopeful that making this a budget motion will get more legislators talking about it.

Krug was surprised and disappointed by the DPI’s ruling. He believes there is quiet support in the Assembly for a multi-vendor system.