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Articles: Purchasing

Here are the prices that Texas-based School Purchasing Alliance members pay for a case of food versus what they would pay if they were not part of the co-op. 

Here are the prices that Texas-based School Purchasing Alliance members pay for a case of food versus what they would pay if they were not part of the co-op. 

Learn how charter schools in New Orleans launched a food co-op.

MEAL DEAL—This student at Dickinson ISD near Houston enjoys a lunch on which his district saved money by joining a new food co-op.

How school districts in different regions of the country can save money and prioritize healthy eating through cooperative purchasing.

Furnishing a multiage classroom focuses on flexibility, variety and comfort.

Many districts have bus fleets that are over 10 years old. Why is this a growing problem?

Many school districts are having overall budgeting challenges and it’s difficult to come up with a large amount of capital for fleet replacements, which can range from $85,000 to $150,000 for a single bus. As a result, replacements get deferred for years, especially by districts that have great mechanics keeping these older buses running.

The alarming rate of school shootings in recent years has led to the creation of emergency notification systems that can send various types of messages to multiple devices, giving administrators more control.

A1,100-student school district in Minnesota had been purchasing food supplies through a buying group of five other school systems—but it wasn’t efficient. “We would have to meet quite often,” says Director of Food Service Sandie Rentz of Wadena-Deer Creek Public Schools. “We wrote our own bids and market basket. Then we would go out for bidding and tabulate the results ourselves.”

The reach of K12 bulk purchasing and co-op agreements has expanded substantially as more districts join to save substantial amounts on everything from software to playground equipment, according to a recent AASA report.

Where should schools start when it comes to implementing technology?

GET YOUR MOTOR RUNNIN’—A typical class at  Tahoma High involves students working on separate machines, including a tire balancer. Instructor Luke Thompson also provides writing assignments. Documenting work, he says, is an industry standard for tasks such as repair orders.

Schools have started fine-tuning their automotive tech programs to make them ideal vehicles for STEM instruction.

Districts must start crunching the numbers based on their state regulations to meet the ESSA mandate. (Gettyimages.com: alex_doubovitsky).

In light of a looming ESSA mandate to increase transparency around education spending, district leaders have been struggling to calculate per-pupil spending by school in accordance with state and federal requirements.

LEANER & GREENER—An MIT supercomputer remapped bus routes for Boston Public Schools (above). The district trimmed its fleet by 50 vehicles, saved about $4 million and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

The techniques for streamlining bus transportation range from a variety of off-the shelf routing programs to relying more on an administrator’s experience with local conditions.

PROOF OF PURCHASE—Educators at Dysart USD must justify the learning value of all technology purchases, such as the laptop (above) being used by a student at Sonoran Heights Elementary School.

Administrators now strive to align strong technology plans with district strategic goals.

Source: Compiled by USCCR from U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Common Core of Data “National Public Education Financial Survey” fiscal year 2014, and NCES, “Revenues and Expenditures for Public Elementary and Secondary Education School Year 2013-14” p.5 Table 1. The graph is derived from one published by USCCR p.28, http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/2018-01-10-Education-Inequity.pdf.

The federal government must take “bold action” to make education funding more equitable, says a recent report from the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. 

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