The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee says school districts should be able to make their own decisions about what vendor they will use to track data about their students.
The budget panel on Wednesday approved a provision that would revoke funding for a contract awarded to Minnesota-based Infinite Campus and directs the Department of Public Instruction to set up a system that allows multiple vendors to be used instead. The move comes after Stevens Point-based Skyward Inc. threatened to leave the state because its bid was rejected, although State Representative Scott Krug (R-Nekoosa) says the change is not just about that company. He says “this is bigger than Skyward, it’s more about that they have the opportunity to compete.”
Skyward has also filed a challenge over the Request for Proposals process, which DPI maintains was done properly. The state has not yet signed a contract with the company because of that ongoing process.
State Senator Luther Olsen (R-Ripon) was one of two Republicans to vote against the measure. He argued that having a single system for student data collection makes more sense, so the information can be more easily shared between the state and school districts.
Olsen also pointed out that lawmakers should not reverse contract decisions because of political pressure, and warned that the move could damage the state’s credibility and make Wisconsin “just another banana republic.”
In a statement, Infinite Campus COO Eric Creighton called the decision “outrageous,” and warned that it could set a “dangerous precedent for all future state procurements” by telling bidders they can use the political process to get a different outcome if a decision doesn’t go their way. Creighton said companies should “not resort to strong-arm political tactics to get their way.”
The full Legislature and Governor Scott Walker will still have to sign off on the change.
AUDIO: Andrew Beckett reports (1:11)