Tuesday, June 19, 2012

SIS update; state still committed to project, but put on hold to "avoid even the appearance of impropriety"

From Thompson, Michael DPI 
Dear Colleagues: Below is a press release from the Department of Administration (DOA) regarding their recent decision to put the Statewide Student Information System (SSIS) on hold until later this Summer. The Governor is still committed to this project moving forward and we will work closely with DOA to determine how the schedule may have changed and ensure the SSIS is implemented as quickly as possible. We are committed to keeping this project on track and will continue to keep you informed as new information becomes available.

PRESS RELEASE FROM the Department of Administration (DOA)  on Wisconsin Statewide Student Information System (SSIS) Request for Proposal (RFP) Update 

Over the last several months, the Department of Administration (DOA) has been working with the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) on a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Statewide Student Information System (SSIS), which was included in the 2011-2013 Budget. The RFP was issued on May 2, 2012 with vendor responses due by June 19, 2012. DOA routinely assists smaller cabinet and non-cabinet agencies in conducting procurements to meet the State’s requirements for a fair, open, competitive and transparent process. 

Separately, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) makes certain tax credits available to businesses on a standardized basis. In order to maintain appropriate separation between WEDC and any procurements being conducted by the State, WEDC does not routinely discuss specific economic development packages being offered or considered with DOA personnel involved in the procurements. Recently, WEDC made a soft offer of economic development assistance to a Wisconsin-based company, Skyward, Inc., which would have provided certain tax credits to the company contingent on their successful award in the competitive RFP process for the SSIS. No DOA or DPI personnel involved in the RFP were aware of this potential tax credit soft offer. Directly linking a tax credit to the successful award of a state contract violates the spirit of a competitive RFP. 

Upon learning of the existence of the tax credit incentive and its potential impact on the SSIS RFP, DOA Secretary Mike Huebsch suspended the RFP on Friday, June 15. In addition, today, WEDC Secretary Paul Jadin rescinded the tax credit soft offer to Skyward, Inc. Any contract awards the State makes must result from an open, fair, competitive and transparent procurement process. While the appropriate separation between agencies was maintained in this case, these actions were taken to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. 

DOA and DPI will be communicating with all potential respondents to the SSIS RFP regarding a revised schedule for all related activities. The State is committed to taking appropriate action to maintain the highest level of integrity in the procurement process, while moving forward as quickly as possible in implementing the SSIS.

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