Skyward: State gave competitor unfair bidding edge for school IT system

Erin Richards:

In choosing a company to design a computer-based student-information system for all of Wisconsin’s public schools, the state put a local bidder at a disadvantage after it removed an evaluator and incorrectly calculated cost proposals, according to a protest filed Friday.
The challenge to the outcome of the Department of Administration’s procurement process for a statewide student-information system vendor comes from Stevens Point-based Skyward Inc., which provides school management software to 221 Wisconsin school districts covering 39% of the state’s students.
The company’s formal protest comes two weeks after the department announced it intended to negotiate a contract with rival bidder Infinite Campus, a school software company from Minnesota serving fewer districts in Wisconsin. The department said Infinite Campus earned the highest technical score and lowest cost bid.
The contract to build the system could be worth between $60 million and $90 million over the next decade, according to details provided by Skyward.
Department spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis defended the state’s procurement procedure, saying that it identified the best product for the best price in a transparent process free of outside influence.