The Chairman of the State Senate Education Committee and the Stevens Point School Superintendent are sparring over the amount of money it will take to convert student information software to an out of state vendor.
The state is forcing all of Wisconsin's school districts to convert their student information systems to a product from a Minnesota company, Infinite Campus, which won the recent single vendor competition. On the losing end was Skyward of Stevens Point, which is now threatening to leave the state. The decision also angered several school superintendents who use Skyward, including Attila Weininger of Stevens Point, who says it will cost $447,000 for his district to change. Republican state Senate Education Chair Luther Olsen thinks Weininger's estimate is grossly inflated: "Yeah, well, just think about that, $400,000. And what does a teacher make in a year? Let's say they average about $50,000. How many teachers doing that full time in a year? I'm not going to call him a liar, but it's like, okay, you better figure out how to be more efficient, because you don't have that kind of money to change over and it's not going to cost that kind of money to change over."
Superintendent Weininger is not only defending his initial estimate. He now says it will cost even more than $447,000. "You know, I don't know what Senator Olsen really knows about Stevens Point. It's probably in the vicinity of 550 to 600 people that we're going to have to train. And you can't take those people out during the school day. You have to take them either in the afternoons or evenings or on weekends or during the summer, and you have to pay those people."
The state went to a single vendor to make it easier to compare student achievement between districts. Skyward supporters want to allow individual districts to again choose their own software systems.