Skyward appeals state decision, MN company responds - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Skyward appeals state decision, MN company responds

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW) - A Stevens Point company that was passed over for a multimillion dollar education contract says it was wronged by the state and has filed an appeal.

The Minnesota company that won the bid is also talking about the process.

Stevens Point-based Skyward was one of several companies competing for a statewide education contract. But Wisconsin awarded that contract to a Minnesota company, Infinite Campus.

Now, Skyward leaders are fighting back.

Skyward's founder says his company's offer was more affordable than the winner, and that's why he says an appeal was filed with the state.

"We have a number of issues that we're going to bring forward that will hopefully substantiate that they need to take another look at the process," Jim King, Skyward founder said.

But Gov. Scott Walker says the decision was up to an independent board.

"Regardless of those who applied for it, our part is just to uphold the law and the requirements," Walker told Newsline 9.

Meanwhile, officials at Infinite Campus have released a statement about the bid and the flurry of activity surrounding it.

"Infinite Campus supports any disappointed bidders right to continue in the procurement process. That process will run its course," said Eric Creighton, Infinite Campus chief operating officer. "Today's Skyward press release offers no substance or reason for the protest, and as such we are unable to comment on the merits of their protest."

King, Skyward's founder, said Wisconsin's selection of Infinite Campus was painful.

"It's changed my attitude toward Wisconsin, but I'm hoping the majority of the people in this state stand up and say 'no', we're not going to let this happen," King told Newsline 9.

The Governor told Newsline 9 that keeping jobs in Wisconsin is important, but it can't be the only issue.

"We can't have procurement of business to be the reason that people stay one way or the other," Walker said.

King says Skyward's proposal was actually lower than the competition. But state leaders say Infinite Campus cost less.

They say those exact numbers cannot be released until a final contract has been signed. Skyward leaders say that's where the disconnect lies.

"When you have that big of a spread, somebody is not being accurate," King said.

But officials at Skyward say they're not looking at being the only vendor. They say they are willing to work together, if the state allows.

"Who in the United States would want to create a monopolized environment? That's un-American," King said.

Skyward currently has more than 300 employees. The founder says 600 more are expected in the next ten years. But they say if the contract doesn't change, those jobs could be moving elsewhere.

"We're in Wisconsin because we want to be in Wisconsin, not because we have to be in Wisconsin and I do not want to leave this state, but I will," King said.

Skyward leaders say they are very confident in their protest.

All companies who did not win the bid have until February 15 to file an appeal.

More:  Legislators introduce bill to help Skyward

More: State superintendent speaks out about Skyward

More: Stevens Point tech company to challenge state's decision

More: Political leaders call on state to reconsider Skyward

More: Educators react to Skyward contract loss

More: Businesses, legislators get behind Skyward

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