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Bill introduced to stop single provider school software contract Wednesday

Skyward Software of Stevens Point
71st District Rep. Katrina Shankland (D) Stevens Point
State Senator Julie Lassa (D) Stevens Point, WI
Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink
Skyward Software of Stevens Point

MADISON, WI (WSAU) -  The decision by the state to select a single software vendor for every school in the state is now getting some bipartisan opposition in the Legislature.

Democratic Representatives Katrina Shankland of Stevens Point, Amy Sue Vruwink of Milladore along with Republicans Scott Krug of Nekoosa and John Spiros of Marshfield have introduced a bill in the Assembly that would require Wisconsin to use a multi-vendor system. Democratic Senator Julie Lassa from Stevens Point has introduced the companion bill in the Senate.

Shankland said this measure, “would restore local control by allowing school districts to make the most informed decision for their budgets and individualized needs.”

Spiros says school systems should be given options as to what programs will enhance their district, both cost and performance wise. He also believes it’s important to promote local companies and benefit from the services they provide to our state.

Lassa expressed concern about the conversion cost for individual schools, using the Stevens Point example where they would get just over $29,000 to cover a cost that’s estimated to top $447,000.

Senator Lassa says this bill would change state law to require the Department of Public Instruction to select multiple SIS vendors on a competitive basis. Under this multi-vendor SIS approach, DPI would be required to select two or more SIS vendors after going through an RFP (request for proposal) process. After those vendors were selected, school districts could then choose which vendor to contract with based their own needs and budgets.

States including Texas, Washington, Maine and South Dakota currently have multi-vendor SIS systems.