Committee considering proposal on school district procurement

School districts would either be required or allowed to work with the Kansas Department of Administration in purchasing certain items and services under a proposal being considered by legislators.

The House Education Budget Committee is scheduled to take up the measure today. The committee is considering whether to propose bills based on the $2.6 million state government efficiency study by Alvarez & Marsal.

One option would make the collaborative procurement required while another would make it optional.

The procurement items would include maintenance, repair and operations; information technology equipment, services and software; food; electricity and fuel.

The A&M report recommended school districts join with the Department of Administration to try to leverage savings through volume purchases. A&M said the change could save $9 million to $23 million per year.

During Monday’s House Education Budget Committee meeting, state Rep. Barbara Bollier, R-Mission Hills, said she was a firm believer in local school board control and wanted to make it optional for districts to collaborate with the Department of Administration, but state Rep. Virgil Peck, R-Tyro, said they already could do that.

Chairwoman Amanda Grosserode, R-Lenexa, said she was concerned how a requirement would affect current contracts. She wanted the committee to work on the proposal some more.

The committee is also scheduled to have more discussion on another A&M proposal: encouraging school districts to form property and casualty insurance pools. The committee will continue discussion on a proposal that would require the 10 largest school districts to form a property/casualty insurance pool. The concept could be broadened to include smaller districts and multiple pools.

March 8, 2016