Trenton – In an effort to help school districts and county colleges procure the necessary PPE, the Senate Education Committee advanced legislation sponsored by the committee chair, Senator M. Teresa Ruiz which would maximize districts’ buying power and reduce costs.
“Administrators from around the state have expressed concerns about being able to get the PPE they need to bring students back into the classroom,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Not only are they battling shipping delays and supply shortages, but the increased demand is driving up prices. Pooling county colleges’ and districts’ purchasing power will allow the state to negotiate better deals, with quicker turnaround times, to ensure schools have the supplies they need when in person instruction resumes.”
The bill, S-2698, would require the state to enter into a contract for school districts’ and county colleges’ purchase of COVID-19 related goods and services. School districts would also be allowed to purchase goods and services made available through a State-approved cooperative purchasing system which the board of education is a member.
The goods and services would include medical supplies and devices, among other things. The contracts could be awarded to more than one vendor.
The bill was released from committee by a vote of 5-0.