The superintendent of the Stevens Point Area School District says that a state-mandated software conversion will cost more than $440,000. More than half the districts in Wisconsin will be forced to switch to software sourced from an out-of-state company.
Last week, the Wisconsin Department of Administration awarded software maker Infinite Campus, of Minnesota, with a contract to provide student information software for every public school in the state. The decision means that a Stevens Point company, Skyward, will lose its existing contracts with more than half of Wisconsin's 443 districts. Attila Weininger, superintendent of the Stevens Point Area District, says it will cost $447,000 for his schools to make the conversion, far more than the $29,000 estimate by Infinite Campus. "This district will have to find hundreds of thousands of dollars in which to make this conversion, because it's time intensive, it's personnel intensive, and it requires attention to detail."
Weininger says it's wrong for the state government to tell every school district what software they have to use. "If the state had decided to do a preferred vendor, as Texas did, as Maine did -- and Skyward is one of the two preferred vendors in Texas -- we wouldn't be sitting here talking."
Weininger worries that the Stevens Point district will suffer a hit to its tax base, because Skyward is threatening to move out of the state and eliminate more than 200 high-wage jobs. "The Governor's primary focus throughout his tenure has been jobs. We're not only taking current jobs away from Wisconsin, but we're taking future jobs away. And these are high paying, high tech jobs."
About ten percent of Wisconsin's school districts currently use the competing Infinite Campus software, including the Green Bay and Wausau districts. A call to Infinite Campus was not returned in time for this story.