District Administration August 2018 - 17

FINANCE

Bulk purchasing power grows in K12
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.
Education funding has recovered
somewhat since the 2008 recession, yet
73 percent of superintendents surveyed
consider their district still "inadequately
funded," says Noelle Ellerson Ng, associate executive director of policy and advocacy at AASA and author of the report.
In response to budget constraints, 64
percent of districts reported joining bulk
purchasing groups or co-ops-up from
less than 11 percent five years ago, the
report found.
"If you can get economy of scale or
lower unit prices by collaborating with
another district through a co-op or regional service agency, that's smart and
fiscally prudent," Ng says.

By purchasing through one of these
agreements, districts can save 15 to 20
percent from the catalogue price of a
product, adds George Wilson, executive
director of the Association of Educational
Purchasing Agencies, a co-op that incentivizes vendors to provide lower prices for
large-group purchasing.
"It's become a more appealing option
as budgets tighten," Wilson says.
How it works
Small, geographically isolated or impoverished districts that lack resources to buy
new curriculum, PD or online course
access may benefit most from joining a
purchasing group, Ng says.
Purchasing group membership often
occurs on the state level, such as in Kentucky, which is a member of AEPA. Every district in the state belongs to one of
eight education co-ops that join together
in a contract with the purchasing group.

Membership and costs for each district are dependent upon which local
agency they are a part of, Wilson says.
AEPA's 36 vendor partners offer
schools joint pricing on everything from
school supplies to software to playground
equipment. A superintendent interested
in purchasing certain software, for example, can check the co-op's website to
see if the product is available through
their bid. If a product is not included, the
superintendent can ask their state agency
to lobby the co-op to offer that product.
A 2 percent administration fee is built
into the bid price of every Association
of Educational Purchasing Agencies
contract. This amount goes to the state
agency, and a portion of that goes back to
the purchasing group.
Non-member states can also join
already-established bids to get the same
savings, Wilson says.
-Alison DeNisco

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August 2018 17


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of District Administration August 2018

District Administration August 2018 - Cover1
District Administration August 2018 - Cover2
District Administration August 2018 - 1
District Administration August 2018 - 2
District Administration August 2018 - 3
District Administration August 2018 - 4
District Administration August 2018 - 5
District Administration August 2018 - 6
District Administration August 2018 - 7
District Administration August 2018 - 8
District Administration August 2018 - 9
District Administration August 2018 - 10
District Administration August 2018 - 11
District Administration August 2018 - 12
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District Administration August 2018 - 14
District Administration August 2018 - 15
District Administration August 2018 - 16
District Administration August 2018 - 17
District Administration August 2018 - 18
District Administration August 2018 - 19
District Administration August 2018 - 20
District Administration August 2018 - 21
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District Administration August 2018 - 44
District Administration August 2018 - Cover3
District Administration August 2018 - Cover4
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