Policy Change for School Software Would Allow Multiple Vendors

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A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced legislation that would force the state to overturn a controversial policy on school software vendors. The bill might keep a Stevens Point company from leaving Wisconsin.

The policy requires all Wisconsin school districts to use the same student information software in order to make it easier to compare achievement levels statewide. There was a recent uproar when the state contract was awarded to a Minnesota company, Infinite Campus, and not to a Stevens Point company, Skyward, which currently serves more than half of Wisconsin’s districts. Stevens Point assemblywoman Katrina Shankland is cosponsoring a bill that would require at least two competing software vendors. She says if it’s passed, it could keep Skyward from moving and save 280 good jobs. “This is about saving hundreds of Wisconsin jobs, and also making sure we’re allowing our businesses to compete. Wisconsin isn’t strong-arming them into leaving the state by taking away their business and not allowing them to do business with Wisconsin school districts.”

Shankland says the bill wasn’t specifically written to save one company, but to foster competition, keep property taxes from going up to pay for new software, and give school districts local control.

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“School district administrators across the state approve of local control. They want to be able to make the best decisions for their school district, and those school district needs are different.”

Democrat Shankland’s bill is also supported by Republican Assemblymen John Spiros of Marshfield and Scott Krug of Nekoosa.

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