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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: March 11, 2019 12:02 PM
From: Representative Jesse Topper
To: All House members
Subject: Cooperative Purchasing for School District Roofing Projects
The Commonwealth’s cooperative purchasing program serves Pennsylvania’s 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. However, 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.

Over the past several months, I have learned that school district roofing projects may not be a good fit for cooperative purchasing. 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 believed that the co-op quote was very high, so they decided to competitively bid the project. They were provided with several bids less of than $1.6 million and accepted the lowest competitive bid of $818,000 ($9.088/square foot) saving a total of $782,000.

Also, the Big Spring School District in Newville, PA originally received a bid for a middle school roof project from a co-op for $2.4 million. When the district bid the same project locally, the price tag was $1.4 million, according to testimony received by the House State Government Committee last session.

This is why I intend to introduce legislation proposing to end the use of cooperative purchasing for school district roofing projects. This proposal will allow 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 supplies, services and other types of construction.

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 HB1216