Skyward Inc., a Wisconsin-based company, lost a contract to run a student information system in the state’s schools. It protested the awarding of the project to Minnesota’s Infinite Campus Friday. It said that the bidding process was unfair.
Skyward filed the protest with the state Department of Public Instruction. It said that it should be awarded the contract or have all the bids thrown out. The company said DPI and the committee of five unidentified people who evaluated the bids failed to provide a fair, transparent, and open bidding process.
Skyward threatened to leave the state if it lost the contract that’s worth $15 million initially but can grow as high as $80 million over the next ten years. The company has 270 employees in the state. It has been conducting a public relations battle for the past two weeks since the state gave the contract to Infinite Campus. It came out with full page ads in newspapers across the state urging people to contact Governor Scott Walker.
DPI has no deadline to review the protest filed by Skyward. It is in charge of supervising the implementation of the data system and has developed the request for proposals. If DPI rejects the protest, Skyward could go directly to the secretary of Walker’s Department of Administration.
According to Patrick Gasper, spokesman for DPI, the protest will undergo a fair and comprehensive review as quickly as possible. Stephanie Marquis, spokeswoman for DOA, said the main factors in awarding any contract are getting the best quality product at the best price and doing it in a transparent process without influence from outside forces. DOA supervised the evaluation and awarding of the bid.
A report released by Cari Anne Renlund, attorney for former Democratic Governor Jim Doyle who Walker’s administration employed to supervise the process, found no problems in the bidding process. The evaluators showed that Infinite Campus outperformed Skyward.