WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAU) - A federal elected official has weighed in on the state’s conflict with a Stevens Point business. 3rd District Congressman Ron Kind has made it clear he is concerned about Wisconsin’s award of a single source student information software contract to Minnesota based Infinite Campus over Stevens Point based Skyward. "I've wanted to weigh in. I've had conversations with (State Superintendent) Tony Evers as well as DOA (Department of Administration) to make sure that as they go through this appeal process, that it's on the level, that it is factualy and objectively based, and that they also take into consideration something I think they may have missed in the first go-around, and that is the implementation cost of switching to a new outside vendor."
Skyward filed an official appeal and protest February 15th, claiming the scoring process did not evaluate the vendors properly.
Kind is one of the elected officials that questions why Wisconsin would choose a single vendor for such a costly and long term contract. "Why are we not exploring a multi-vendor situation in Wisconsin, and allow the school districts to make the determination? They're the ones that are facing spending cuts. They're the ones that have to stretch the dollars. They can make logical decisions working with the board and the community leaders to determine what is in their best interest.”
Wisconsin passed Act 32 two years ago which removed language allowing government procurement agents to give preference to Wisconsin-based suppliers. Kind believes it’s a mistake to not have the option of supporting state and local businesses when the cost difference is less than the damage to the Wisconsin economy. "When we're trying to think creatively of how we can attract and retain good businesses that can create jobs, and good paying jobs on top of that, there should be certain advantages for those companies that were either grown in Wisconsin or located in Wisconsin so that there's an incentive to bring even more business to our state.”
The state legislation urging Wisconsin to get away from single vendor contracts was authored by State Senator Julie Lassa, and has support from Republicans and Democrats.
The Department of Administration and the Department of Public Instruction have not yet ruled on Skyward’s appeal and protest.