The House K-12 Education Budget Committee heard testimony on a bill that would require school districts to use strategic sourcing to acquire things like fuel and technology. The headline: “Kansas Bill Would Require State — Not School Boards — Buy Computers, Food and Fuel,” is misleading, because it suggests the state would make purchases should the bill become law.

Not exactly, Topeka Capital-Journal. The bill would allow the Kansas Department of Administration to negotiate the best prices and then districts would buy directly from vendors. School districts have the ability to use strategic sourcing now. The bill would make it a requirement.

The Beloit USD 273 Superintendent Jeff Travis called he bill a “one-size-fits-all approach” that doesn’t take into consideration variables that exist between districts. This is ironic, coming from school officials who fight to maintain a one-size-fits-all approach to education that doesn’t take into consideration the variables that exist between students.

The bill was drafted in response to an Alvarez and Marsal Efficiency study which estimated that the state’s seven largest districts would save more than $43 million over the next five years through strategic sourcing. There are 286 districts in Kansas.

Kansas Policy Institute President Dave Trabert told the committee school districts who choose to spend more money buying local make a a conscious decision not to put that money into classrooms, triggering unnecessary taxation.

Gov. Brownback’s budget estimates the state would save $7.2 million next year by centralizing procurement. Kansas Budget Director Shawn Sullivan said there would need to be changes made to the legislation to realize that amount of savings.

Those are savings that could be put into classrooms.

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