School Board Cooperative Purchasing Raised Again

At this week’s meeting of the Commission to Modernize State Procurement, stakeholders testified on the subject of cooperative purchasing in school construction, the topic of legislation this past Session.

The Maryland Associaton of Boards of Education (MABE) and other stakeholders testified this week before the Governor’s Commission to Modernize State Procurement, which is chaired by Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford.

MABE’s testimony stated,

MABE is confident that the current state laws and regulations governing local school system procurements are sufficient in scope and clarity to provide the appropriate degree of accountability and flexibility to not only ensure sound procurement practices but also optimize cost savings for taxpayers. Local school systems, and professional procurement staff, rely on a well-established understanding of the existing procurement law under the Education Article, State Finance and Procurement Article, and State regulations.

MABE respectfully requests that this Commission not pursue or adopt any recommendations regarding amendments to school system procurement law to redress the Building Materials Corp. case; or recommendations consistent with the legislation rejected in 2016 which could have impeded school system efforts to achieve the cost savings and efficiencies the General Assembly has consistently encouraged school systems to employ through cooperative purchasing.

SB 515, County Boards of Education – Procurements for Construction or Repair of School Projects, a bill introduced in the 2016 General Assembly Session treated the same subject, but ultimately did not survive the legislative process.

MACo watched the legislation and its effective on cooperative purchasing practices by school boards. Maryland counties provide roughly half of their budgets towards education, and provide the lion’s share of support for school construction and renovation in many districts.

For more information, see the bio information page for SB 515, see the Commission webpage, and read MABE’s testimony from this week in Annapolis.