The Fayette Tribune, Oak Hill, W.Va.

October 14, 2013

State board approves new cost savings resource


CHARLESTON — The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) approved an additional resource to help county school systems save money. Board members gave the thumbs up to a new cooperative agreement secured by state Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs). The new agreement is with the Texas Region 8 Education Service Center and is known as The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS).

This cooperative is part of the WVBE response to the Governor's reform agenda and enables districts to leverage buying power for better pricing on products and time savings.

“RESAs’ current cooperative purchasing agreements have a strong performance record in saving county school systems money,” said WVBE President Gayle Manchin. “Despite this success, the board is supportive any time we can find new avenues for economic efficiencies.”

The new agreement will allow RESAs to secure products not currently available under the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA) agreement. West Virginia RESAs have been part of the nationally recognized AEPA cooperative purchasing system since December 2011. During the last fiscal year, the AEPA agreement saved county systems approximately $1.7 million. In addition to AEPA, the state has paper, custodial supplies, food, milk, natural gas and petroleum based fuels cooperative agreements in place.

The purpose of TIPS is to:

-Provide school districts opportunities for greater efficiency in acquiring goods and services and more economical prices;

- Take advantage of state-of-the-art purchasing procedures to insure the most competitive contracts;

- Provide competitive price solicitation and bulk purchasing for multiple government entities that yields economic benefits unobtainable by individual entities;

- Provide quick and efficient delivery of goods and services by contracting with “high performance” vendors;

- Equalize purchasing power for smaller entities that are not able to command the best contracts for themselves;

- Maintain credibility and confidence in business procedures by maintaining open competition for purchases, and by complying with purchasing laws and ethical business practices; and

- Assist entities in maintaining the essential controls for budget and accounting purposes.

In addition to facilitating among county school systems cooperative purchasing, RESAs are charged with sharing specialized personnel, providing communication and technology tools, leading curriculum development and professional development, and operating specialized programs for exceptional children.

For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education Communication Office at 304-558-2699.