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Articles: Purchasing

MAGIC SCHOOL BUS—The 71-passenger all-electric school bus has a range of 100 miles per charge and zero emissions.

Districts in Minnesota and California are participating in pilot programs that provide all-electric, zero-emissions buses that should cost much less to power and maintain.

Wealthy schools can raise eye-popping amounts from fundraising that add to the opportunities for well-off students, while the neediest schools struggle to keep up.

Nearly 4,000 K12 schools have been fitted with solar installations as of 2014, according to the “Brighter Futures” report for the U.S. Department of Energy, based on data from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

SEAT BELTS MAKE THEM SIT—New Hanover County Schools in North Carolina is adding seat belts to some buses as part of a state study. Ken Nance, transportation director, says just having students staying put in their seats reduces distractions to bus drivers, two of whom are pictured above.

More districts are adding seat belts to their bus fleets, following the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s 2015 recommendation that “every child on every school bus” needs a seat belt. 

Procurement is only the latest big step Amazon has taken into education. Earlier this year, it launched an online clearinghouse for open-education resources. (Photo: Thinkstock.com/Antomanio)

Administrators, teachers and other school personnel have been ordering supplies from Amazon.com for years, but the e-tailing colossus has now jumped formally into the education procurement market. And some in the procurement business see benefits.

Follett takes resource tracking to the next level with four new services

Juli Hubbard
Vice President, Purchasing
Follett

The education landscape has changed dramatically in recent years. The emergence of new standards, new evaluations and new technologies has placed more strain on school administrators than ever before. We have witnessed how our education partners now have less time to spend on core administrative tasks that once made up the majority of their workload.

There’s a new purchasing system in town, and it’s saving time, money and stress for folks at the Grinnell-Newburg Community School District in Iowa.

Click to enlarge: Five steps districts can take to save money on edtech purchases. (Source: Foundation for Excellence in Education)

As the lines between instructional and technology budgets blur, CIOs can improve their district’s procurement procedures to get what their classrooms need from an increasingly complex edtech market.

Bruce Hamilton

Bruce Hamilton,
Program Director – Destiny® Resource Manager™ 
Follett School Solutions

School staff sending out mail nowadays can save a lot of work with electronic mailcenters.

District mail rooms used to be hectic. Thousands of pieces of mail would cycle in and out every month, and all of it had to be processed by hand. But these days, life is much easier for office administrators who, still, must sort through the pieces of mail.

The move toward personalized learning and the ability to deliver resources via the cloud are transforming the way districts purchase digital content for math, reading and other parts of the curriculum. As this landscape changes, district also are spending more on digital resources.

While co-op contracts save significant staff time, districts must still select contracts and manage interaction with vendors. In rural district Boles ISD, Superintendent Graham Sweeney manages vendor selection and purchasing. But in larger districts, multiple levels of personnel get involved.

Steve Green, maintenance supervisor at the New Albany-Floyd Consolidated School Corporation in Indiana, reviews a Grainger catalog looking for products to purchase online.

When Boles ISD needed a new science building in 2011 for its rapidly growing high school in rural Quinlan, Texas, district leaders realized they couldn’t afford to build the lab they wanted. Although the district, 35 miles east of Dallas, received a $410,000 grant from the Texas Education Agency, it wasn’t enough to build the project according to architects’ plans.

Coming this fall, students at six of the nation’s largest urban districts will be served lunch on round plates made of biodegradable sugar cane.

Six of the nation’s biggest school districts have taken another bold step in changing the face of school lunches. The districts in the Urban School Food Alliance—New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami-Dade, Dallas, and Orlando—have banded together to purchase biodegradable trays made of sugar cane to cut down on both cost and waste.

Students at Valley Christian School in San Jose, Calif., buy healthy snacks like coconut water, unsalted nuts and fresh fruit, from a high-tech HUMAN Healthy Vending machine.

As school leaders shift to selling healthier products in their vending machines, they can also take the opportunity to change their business model and consider investing in high-tech machines for a range of benefits.

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