WI lawmakers express disappointment over statewide contract - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

WI lawmakers express disappointment over statewide contract


After a Stevens Point company was turned down for a statewide education contract, some Wisconsin lawmakers are trying to figure out the next step.

Several Assembly members gathered in Stevens Point to express their disappointment with the state. Both Democrats and Republicans are working together to find a solution.

Close to 200 people were at Skyward's headquarters in Stevens Point on Friday, and there was a lot of emotion in the room.

"I cannot say enough about the support that we received, not only from the people here locally, but across the state," said Skyward founder Jim King.

Skyward was one of several companies to bid on a multi-million dollar contract. That contract would provide software to schools across Wisconsin, but state education leaders went with a Minnesota company.

Skyward protested that decision, but that protest was rejected. Now, lawmakers in Wisconsin are fighting back. There is bi-partisan support for a bill that would create a multi-vendor system in Wisconsin.

"Right now we're just asking for a public hearing, so the bill has its day in Madison, so that people can come down and testify on the bill," said Democratic State Rep. Amy Sue Vruwink.

That may not be the only solution. Republican State Rep. Scott Krug has introduced a motion to de-fund the contract all together, eliminating the more than $13 million dollars allocated for it, from the budget.

"The state really needs to focus on going back to the beginning, and that's what my budget motion will do is take us back to the beginning of this debate," said Krug.

Krug says once that happens, the state can then can focus on creating a multi-vendor system.

"I think what we need to do is take care of the pending issue in front of us," Krug told Newsline 9.

Employees of Skyward and supporters say they will continue to stand behind the company. Skyward's founder says he just wants an open market place in Wisconsin.

He says the company is exploring legal options, and will leave the state if the contract is not awarded to them in the end.

Newsline 9 has tried multiple times to reach the Minnesota company that won the contract. Officials there have never returned our calls.        

Skyward leaders say they do plan to appeal the latest decision. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction has said the decision was fair and reasonable, and in the end, the Minnesota company was the best choice.

Officials with the department would not comment further because the matter is on-going. 

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