Did You Know? National Contracts

When a school district/municipal government purchases products and services, can it utilize national contracts or partner with another school district or town to get better pricing?

New York does not allow or authorize the use of out-of-state or national cooperative contracts by school districts or local government as a purchasing alternative.

According to state law, local governments must engage in competitive bidding, when a contract amount exceeds a certain pre-established threshold.  In the alternative, local governments may utilize state contracts to purchase materials, equipment or supplies (other than printed materials) over $500 through the New York State Office of General Services (OGS).  The ability to use OGS contracts is based on the premise that the state has pre-authorized the vendors on the list as qualifying and as being a good bargain.

New York State school districts may enter into cooperative purchasing agreements with each other, subject to the approval of the board of each school district and in accordance with the state laws relating to the competitive bidding process identified above.   Also, school districts may purchase materials, equipment or supplies or contracts for services (other than those specifically excepted by law), either through the county in which the district is located or an adjoining county (as long as the school district does not receive a lower bid from a vendor for the purchase on the same terms, conditions and specification).

[NOTE:  Transportation is a service that may be shared between school districts and/or BOCES through a joint agreement.  The Commissioner of Education was tasked in 2010 with conducting pilot programs to assist school districts in forming regional transportation systems but that report is not due to the legislature until November 2012.]

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About Mike Durant

Mike Durant was named New York State Director of NFIB in May 2011. Prior to joining NFIB as the Assistant State Director in May 2010, Durant began his career in the New York Senate working in the Office of Member Services. From there, he served in a number of positions during former New York Governor George E. Pataki’s administration. As a Research Specialist in the New York State Office of Demographic Policy, Mike was responsible for drafting a redistricting proposal for Governor Pataki. In addition, Mike served as a Research Specialist for the Empire State Development Corporation, as well as the Associate Commissioner of Human Resource Management with the New York Department of Labor. Durant also spent four years working at the Questar III BOCES as a specialist focusing on the complex formulas that drive aid to school districts across the state while also taking a lead role in the state legislative/budget process as it related to education policy. These past positions have given Mike a deep understanding of the complex political economics of the State of New York. Active in the community, Durant has served on a number of boards in both the village of Ballston Spa and Town of Milton. Durant received his bachelor’s degree from Siena College in Loudonville, New York and resides in Ballston Spa with his wife and two children.
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