School District Renews Contract With Skyward
By Donnelly Clare
The Stevens Point Public School Board this month renewed a contract with Stevens Point- based Skyward for its student management system software, and they’re saving some money in the process.
District leaders say the software has been applied broadly in the district, allowing for parents and teachers to track grades, pay fees and view health records and graduation requirements for students.
Director of Business Services Tom Owens said renewing the contract not only makes sense for the district, which has had a long history of working with Skyward, but also saves money.
“We currently have a license fee of $68,054 this year,” Owens said. “They will freeze that price for the next three years and they calculate a savings of 8k.”
Owens said he feels the offer shows the strength of the relationship the district has with Skyward, which could likely have increased the cost of its services like any other vendor each year. The district also uses a financial management component offered by Skyward for district accounting, which brings the district’s total cost of the Skyward contract to about $150,000 annually, Owens said.
“Also, if we add a component to this, whatever component that is, the cost will remain the same as well,” Owens said. “So it behooves us to stay with them.”
Board Member Lisa Totten said she worried about one caveat within the new contract, which she said could make the district liable for a hefty fee if it decided to stop using Skyward mid- contract.
“So, if I understand this correctly, we will save 8,000 a year if we do this commitment,” Totten said, “but if this whole proposal comes back where the State of Wisconsin suddenly wants one system, and we have to switch to their select vendor, then we are putting ourselves in a position that we may have to pay?”
“Just the opposite,” Owens said. “We’re exempt from paying that if that should happen.”
Owens said the district would be liable to pay 50 percent of the contract’s balance only if the district itself opted to break its deal with Skyward. But if the state legislature reinstates funding for a single-vendor system and chooses a vendor other than Skyward for all Wisconsin school district to use, the district would owe Skyward nothing.
That was the case earlier in 2013, when districts around the state battled the legislature for a multi-vendor system after state leaders imposed one vendor- Minnesota’s Infinite Campus- on all Wisconsin school districts for student management software. That battle was won in July, when Governor Scott Walker signed the 2013-15 budget, which defunded a proposed single vendor system.
The School Board approved the contract renewal, which is effective from 2015-2017, unanimously.