September 20, 2014

Skyward challenges contract decision

A Stevens Point software company is filing an official challenge, after it was rejected for a contract to create a statewide database of Wisconsin public school students.

Skyward of Stevens Point said it should have been awarded the contract for the $15 million system instead of the winning bidder, Infinite Campus of Blaine Minnesota. Both companies already run student data software packages for schools in various regions of the state. However, Skyward says it serves more Wisconsin schools already.

Skyward filed its challenge with the Department of Administration after reviewing the bidding information earlier this week. The company says its bid was $2.6 million a year less than what the Minnesota firm offered.

Skyward also noted that the implementation costs identified by the Department of Public Instruction were not reflected in the comparison of the two offers. Officials say going with the Minnesota company means 90 percent of school districts in the state will have to pay to implement a new system.

Last year, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation said it would give Skyward $12 million in state tax breaks if it won the contract. Once that news got out, the Walker administration threw out all the bids. When they re-bid the project, an outside advisor watched over the process and rules there were no problems with how the decision was made. Walker’s administration has also said the Minnesota company scored higher than Skyward in cost and several technical areas.