A Stevens Point software business at the center of a controversy about a school database contract is making plans grow and add jobs in Wisconsin.
Skyward founder Jim King is glad the battle against the single-vendor Statewide Student Information System (SSIS) is over, and that they and other providers can compete on the open market again. King says now, he can focus on growing the company again. “We’re just excited. We can’t wait to break ground on our new facility and start hiring people.”
Skyward had threatened to leave Wisconsin after the Department of Public Instruction awarded a contract for the SSIS to Minnesota-based Infinite Campus. The company challenged the decision, although that debate was largely made irrelevant after lawmakers added a provision to the new state budget that defunded the contract and allowed multiple vendors to supply the software for the system.
The company held an event Wednesday to announce its plan for the future, with Governor Scott Walker and several lawmakers on hand to help celebrate the expansion.
Skyward CEO Cliff King says the new world headquarters will be built across I-39 from their present location in the Portage County Business Park. “We’re going to initially build for about 600 employees, then we’ll have a phase-two that will go for another 400, but we expect within ten years we’ll be close to filling that building out.”
As far as the timing goes, King says they plan to make rapid progress. “We’ll probably make a decision on who we’re going to go with by the end of September. After we make that decision, it’s probably going to be a three or four month period before we have plans that we’ll have developed.”
The software developer is also looking to add about 50 employees in the next year, now that the company is again starting to see orders coming in from school districts.
Larry Lee, WSAU