Wisconsin company will suffer when state outsources product to Minnesota

CREATED Feb. 14, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - Stevens Point native Jim King founded Skyward, Inc. He employs nearly 300 full-time workers in Wisconsin, developing and managing records software for school districts across the country.

He claims he'll have to scale back, if the state forces hundreds of Wisconsin districts to take their business to an out-of-state company.

"It's going to be a devastating expense to the taxpayers of Wisconsin," King said.

King protested the state's decision to dump his business. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction moved to accept a bid from Minnesota based "Infinite Campus." The DPI made the decision in an attempt to place all school systems on one program.

"That means they'll have to replace [software in] 90 percent of the schools,” King said.

“Four-hundred schools will have to go through this very painful, difficult, and very expensive change."

Superintendent Tony Evers maintains the state followed the "procurement process," which bars the government from favoring Wisconsin companies. "Infinite Campus" had a better rating and a lower price tag.

"If I had a magic wand, every contract in the state of Wisconsin would go to a Wisconsin company," Evers admitted.

Governor Scott Walker tells me an auditor approved the decision--and his hands are tied.

"We're certainly going to go back after the process is completed and attempt to do what we can to keep them and the jobs related to their business here in Wisconsin," Walker said Friday.

Jim King wants to keep his business in his hometown, but he says he's running out of options.

"We just want to be able to compete, that's all we're asking for," he said.

Wednesday, state lawmakers introduced a bill that would allow school districts to choose which company they would use.

Hundreds of them already use Skyward’s programming. The company has appealed the state’s decision.