SP business may either expand or move out of town - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

SP business may either expand or move out of town


STEVENS POINT (WAOW) -- An effort to streamline school information across the state could end up costing hundreds of jobs. Skyward provides software for about half of Wisconsin's schools.

School districts using Skyward's student software program cover much of the state. In an open market, about 50% of Wisconsin's districts picked the Stevens Point-based company. Earlier this summer, leaders with the Department of Public Instruction decided to streamline their software, picking just one company to take care of all of the districts. According to a state school district survey, putting all the schools on one system could save more than $30 million a year.

"I look at dollars and cents when I make decisions for this company," said Skyward CEO Cliff King. "If you look at not having to convert over 50% of the schools in the state of Wisconsin, to me that would be a significant money-saving opportunity."

More than 250 employees work in Stevens Point to keep the business going. But in an all-or-nothing decision, Skyward leaders said if they can't sell here, they'll have to leave town.

"If it happens that we lose half of our opportunity to sell our product in the state of Wisconsin, we would look to move to another area where we would have an opportunity to sell our product," said King.

Newsline 9 wanted to ask state DPI leaders about the plan and what it could mean for Skyward. Our calls were not returned.

City leaders said this has become an extreme situation --  one that could really hurt the economy in Portage County and across the state.

"If Skyward isn't ultimately the single vendor solution for the state of Wisconsin, we lose 300 jobs," said Stevens Point mayor Andrew Halverson. "We really lose 800 because of the multiplier effect that we will no longer be able to experience."

Skyward leaders said they expect to hear back from the state later this month.

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