October 1, 2014

Pridemore critical of DPI, Skyward decision

A Republican lawmaker running for Wisconsin’s top education post would prefer the state do away with its current policy that creates a single provider for school software systems. Democrats Katrina Shankland and Julie Lassa have authored legislation to do away with the single-source system.

State Superintendent Candidate Don Pridemore admits he hasn’t read the bills but he is interested, “If that’s exactly what the language says then it sounds like I would support it,” he said at a stop in Plover. 

For now, Assembly Bill 60 has been referred to the Committee on Government Operations and State Licensing while Senate Bill 54 has been referred to the Committee on Education.

Speaking to a crowd of 130 people, Pridemore emphasized the need for more local control of schools, elimination of mandates that burden districts, and accountability at the Department of Public Instruction.

His message of accountability hit home with a segment of the audience that works for Stevens Point-based Skyward, a firm challenging DPI’s choice of a single software vendor for student databases in schools. Pridemore is puzzled by the contract decision which went to Minnesota-based Infinite Campus and he said it could lead to the disappearance of jobs in Wisconsin. He is also calling for an audit of DPI and its programs.

He faces incumbent Dr. Tony Evers in the April 2 general election

Larry Lee-WSAU contributed to this report