The loss of the state's student information software contract by the Skyward Company of Stevens Point has become an issue in the State School Superintendent race; candidate Don Pridemore has come out against the new, single vendor system.
The policy, passed by the Republican controlled legislature, will force all public school districts to buy the same software tracking system for student grades and achievement.
Department of Public Instruction spokesman Patrick Gasper notes the single vendor system was recommended by both incumbent Superintendent Tony Evers and Governor Scott Walker: "The single-vendor system was the preferred option, and the one that the state superintendent and Governor Walker have supported and recommended."
Now, Tony Evers' opponent in the upcoming April Second election, Assemblyman Don Pridemore, says that is the wrong approach. "Any time you create a single vendor, that tells me that the state doesn't know how to write a specification, because you don't want to monopolize the service. It will only cause the price to go up."
Pridemore has also come out against the awarding of the vendor contract to a Minnesota company, Infinite Campus, because more than half of the state's school districts would have to drop Wisconsin's own Skyward company. "Because about 10 percent of the state has Infinite Campus, and 50 percent has Skyward, now would be a very bad time to make a decision for school districts to change, and cost them a lot of money."
And Pridemore says the single vendor system flies against the Republican principles of the Walker administration. "It's certainly not, in my opinion, in tune with the current administration that the Governor controls. It just goes against the grain of basic Republican principles."
Skyward executives may move their company headquarters out of Wisconsin if the policy goes unchanged.