Schools can now use the county co-op

To help schools reign in costs, the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders has adopted two resolutions allowing Monmouth County school districts to enter into municipal assistance/shared services agreements and the Commodity Resale System.

School districts are also permitted to buy goods and services using the county’s Cooperative Purchasing Program rather than going out to bid on their own.

Municipalities in Monmouth County were granted permission to buy through the county co-op when that law was implemented several years ago.

“The county is offering local school districts an opportunity to cut costs by taking advantage of these county purchasing programs,” Freeholder Deputy Director John D’Amico said. “School districts can buy from our county co-op list or join other coops if they wish. The bottom line is that leveraging their needs for equipment and supplies through a co-op could result in some real savings.”

“This is another step in this whole movement toward cooperation,” Freeholder Robert D. Clifton said. “I think it is an excellent way to combine the purchasing power of the county with the municipalities and school districts in our jurisdiction.”

Under the county co-op, as long as the towns – and now schools – use the exact terms and conditions that the county has with a vendor, they can use it to purchase equipment and supplies.

Since the county has already gone out to bid, the schools or towns do not have to do so, as long as the vendor extends the county’s price to them, according to a press release.

Using the county’s Commodity Resale System will enable the schools and towns to purchase items directly from the county. For example, if the county has purchased a large quantity of road salt, the schools can now buy what they need from the county. The county will extend the county’s price to the schools and towns plus the cost of loading or transporting it for them, according to the press release.

“Chances are the county’s price will be better than if the districts go out on their own because the county is buying in larger quantities,” D’Amico said.

Finally, the schools can also participate in the county’s municipal assistance/shared services program. For example, the county currently allows towns to use equipment the county owns, or will send out a mechanic to diagnose an engine problem and repair it if requested.

“Schools can now take advantage of the county’s resources on that level, too,” D’Amico said. “Taken together, these programs can help cut the costs school districts typically incur for these kinds of items. Information about these programs has been sent to the office of the county superintendent of schools, and I urge every school district to participate.”