Today, the Department of Administration (DOA) issued a Notice of Intent to Award letter for the Statewide Student Information System (SSIS) project. DOA issued the letter to Infinite Campus, Inc., which was the highest scoring proposer in the SSIS competitive Request for Proposal process. The state will now move into contract negotiations with Infinite Campus for the company to establish and maintain DPI’s student information system for more than 440 school districts and non-district public charter schools in Wisconsin.
Cari Anne Renlund of the DeWitt, Ross & Stevens Law Firm conducted an extensive observation of the procurement, evaluation and selection process of the SSIS. Her report concluded:
1) The SSIS procurement, evaluation and selection process was open, fair, impartial and objective, and consistent with the RFP criteria;
2) The State and the Evaluation Team carefully followed the statutory and regulatory requirements applicable to the procurement process;
3) All proposing vendors were afforded an equal opportunity to compete for the contract award; and
4) The procurement, evaluation and selection process satisfied the goals and objectives of Wisconsin’s public contracting requirements.
Further, Renlund stated the Request for Proposal (RFP) “was drafted to identify the best possible vendor for the job at the best possible price.”
many notes and links on Madison’s challenges with Infinite Campus.
A few additional notes:
1. Wisconsin firm may challenge loss of statewide school data pact
A Stevens Point company providing school software to about half of Wisconsin’s districts has lost a bid to become the supplier of a new statewide student-information system, and now it’s moving to challenge the state’s decision to go with a different vendor.
The Wisconsin Department of Administration announced Friday that it intends to negotiate a contract with Minnesota’s Infinite Campus Inc. to create a centralized K-12 student data system. In response, Stevens Point-based Skyward Inc. called the evaluation process “flawed,” while some elected officials over the weekend urged the state to reconsider its decision.
The evaluation and selection process was already under heightened scrutiny after being paused and restarted in June, after it was discovered that Skyward had been offered tax breaks contingent on it winning the statewide contract.
Based in Blaine, Minn., Infinite Campus provides student data systems to about 10% of Wisconsin’s districts, including Milwaukee-area districts such as Greenfield, Whitnall, Elmbrook and New Berlin.
Financial details of the emerging contract have not been made public, but $15 million was initially appropriated to launch the project. The overall cost to implement and maintain the system will likely be millions more than that.
The blanket K-12 student-information system for Wisconsin is important because it would allow the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to better track student and teacher information in and between districts and schools.
Currently, each district and independent public charter school chooses its own system to track and manage student data. The robustness of these systems can vary from place to place, and none are obligated to “talk” to each other.
For the DPI, the goal is to raise the level of student performance by collecting and then synthesizing common data from all schools on everything from enrollment and student absences to discipline records and test-score results.
A common system also could assign teachers a unique identifier, allowing for richer data about their records of performance.
2. Many school districts have successfully implemented complete student systems where parents can follow a course syllabus, all assignments, attendance, notes and grades. Madison has spent millions of dollars for a system that is at best partially implemented. What a waste.
3. Kurt Kiefer was instrumental in Madison’s acquisition of Infinite Campus. Kurt is now with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction. I like Kurt and was privileged to serve on a parent committee that evaluated student information systems. That said, I felt strongly then that no money should be spent on such systems if their use is not mandatory throughout the organization.
I wonder what sort of implementation strategies are part of this acquisition?