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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session


Posted: July 2, 2018 02:02 PM
From: Representative Jesse Topper
To: All House members
Subject: Eliminate Cooperative Purchasing for School District Construction
The Commonwealth’s cooperative purchasing program serves Pennsylvania’s state and local government agencies well in many situations. It has served to streamline procurement in a variety of instances and allows agencies to effectively utilize economies of scale. There are situations in which cooperative purchasing arrangements do not make sense, because they end up costing taxpayers much more than contracts which have been competitively bid at the local level.

This is why I intend to introduce legislation proposing to end the use of cooperative purchasing for school district construction projects. This proposal will allow state agencies and most local agencies to continue to use cooperative purchasing as they currently do. Additionally, the bill will permit school districts to continue to utilize cooperative purchasing for the supplies and services in which it was originally intended.

School district construction projects are not one-size-fits-all purchases and, thus, are not suitable jobs for the type of contracting that cooperative purchasing facilitates. Contracts that are competitively bid are the preferred method of procurement in such situations because they allow all contract specifications to be designed precisely for the school district in question.

In 2017 the Schuylkill Technology Center located in Frackville, PA needed to replace a 90,000 square foot roof. They were offered a quote of $1.6 million ($17.77/square foot) under the cooperative purchasing program. The school board felt the co-op quote was very high, so they decided to competitively bid the project. They were provided with several bids less than $1.6 million and accepted the lowest competitive bid of $818,000 ($9.088/square foot) saving a total of $782,000.

School property taxpayers face a multitude of competing pressures for their tax dollars. I believe this legislation will ensure taxpayers’ dollars are used in a judicious and efficient manner.

Introduced as HB2614