November 1, 2014

Software firm to challenge loss of state bid

After being passed over for a statewide software contracting bid, a Stevens Point company plans on challenging the decision. The state Department of Administration announced Friday it would pursue a $15 million contract with Minnesota-based Infinite Campus Inc. to implement a school database for every Wisconsin school district.

Skyward Inc. – which provides information systems to 50 percent of Wisconsin school districts and 80 percent schools – is critical of the DOA decision. “Given that the selected vendor is in use by only 10 percent of Wisconsin school districts, this decision will force the remaining 90 percent to migrate to the selected system, negatively impacting their already strained budgets,” the company said in a statement.

In the statement, CEO Cliff King also criticized the evaluation process used by state officials. “Based on what we know today, it is only prudent on behalf of our customers, employees and the taxpayers of Wisconsin that we contest this decision.”

In announcing the decision, the DOA referenced an independent review that showed the process to be “fair, impartial and objective.” The report by Cari Anne Renlund of the DeWitt, Ross & Stevens Law Firm also stated in the evaluation Infinite Campus “received the highest technical score also proposed the lowest cost, and therefore received the highest cost score.”

The decision to go with an out-of-state firm has the mayor of Stevens Point sounding off: “This will not mean Wisconsin jobs, and it will not contribute to the economic vitality that we are trying so hard to create,” said Mayor Andrew Halverson on the city’s website.

State Senator Julie Lassa is calling on Governor Scott Walker and Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers to delay implementation of a contract until a full investigation of the process can be completed.

This is the second time the state put out bids for such as a system. The first bidding process was scrapped after it was learned that Skyward would get a tax break from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation if it won the contract. However, King told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel he does not believe last year’s controversy had anything to do with being snubbed for the statewide project now.

According to Infinite Campus’ website, it is the largest American-owned student information system (SIS) managing more than 5 million students in 43 states.