Gov. Scott Walker and the Department of Administration announced Friday they are choosing Minnesota-based Infinite Campus Inc., rather than the Wisconsin-based Skyward Inc., and five other out-of-state companies for a $15 million Statewide Student Information System contract.
Infinite Campus Inc., based in Blaine, Minn., will be the sole provider of student information systems for Wisconsin’s more than 440 school districts, according to a DOA statement.
SSIS is the core software providing a statewide data warehouse. The system manages information such as student enrollment, attendance, transcripts and discipline, according to a Skyward Inc. statement.
Because Wisconsin has so many small school districts, the DOA uses this SSIS software to consolidate the multiple and diverse records into one accessible database, the statement said.
According to the statement, Skyward Inc. of Stevens Point is the current provider for 50 percent of K-12 school districts in the state. The company is currently reviewing the DOA’s decision and may formally protest.
In its statement, Skyward Inc. touted its 99 percent retention rate, Wisconsin’s confidence in its services and the 280 jobs it provides Wisconsin workers. The company chided the DOA’s decision and accused it of not having Wisconsin schools’ best interests in mind.
“At this point, we are still reviewing all of the information,” Ray Ackerlund, spokesperson of Skyward Inc., said. “Once that is finished, we will determine whether or not to formally protest the decision. If not, we will continue to move forward and grow across the nation and internationally, as we have in the past.”
While Ackerlund said he was disappointed with the DOA’s decision, he also said Skyward Inc. continues to support a competitive environment and making use of the most effective solutions.
Ackerlund said Wisconsin’s Skyward Inc. offers “local presence” — something out-of-state Infinite Campus Inc. does not. He said Skyward Inc. occupies three offices throughout Wisconsin.
In a statement, Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point, said she did not support DOA’s decision and spoke to the 280 jobs Skyward has created in Wisconsin, especially around its Stevens Point base.
“Skyward has indicated that they would add over a thousand new jobs in Wisconsin if they were awarded this contract,” Shankland said in a statement. “These are well-paying, family-supporting jobs, which Governor Walker and his administration apparently believe Wisconsin can afford to lose.”
Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, said ideally, when working with a state contract, the state should utilize in-state companies and labor. However, he said he did not wish to speak to the implications of the DOA’s decision, as they have not yet been thoroughly explored.
Neither Walker’s office nor the DOA could be reached for comment, but five other out-of-state companies were denied the $15 million state contract as well. The DOA insisted it made an unbiased decision based solely on objective analysis, according to the Associated Press.
Infinite Campus had the highest technical score and lowest cost, rendering it the highest scoring proposal, according to the Associated Press.
Skyward Inc. and the five other losing bidders have until Feb.15 to review the state’s decision and appeal if they feel it is warranted.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.