Schools consider giving advantage to local vendors

2012-10-23T20:30:00Z Schools consider giving advantage to local vendorsJoyce Russell joyce.russell@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2222 nwitimes.com

PORTAGE | The Portage Township School Board on Monday gave approval to the concept of giving Portage-based vendors a 5 percent advantage when bidding on school contracts.

Superintendent E. Ric Frataccia said the concept is not a done deal. He has directed the district's legal staff to look into the idea, particularly how a Portage-based business would be defined.

Frataccia said he has had discussions with people in local leadership roles on providing an advantage to local businesses.

"Those folks that are paying your bills, do they deserve an advantage?" said Frataccia, adding that the answer can be "yes."

State law requires contracts to go to the best and lowest bidder. However, the board can pass a resolution giving local businesses a financial advantage. The quality of two competing contracts/proposals would have to be equal, he said.

"If it is too legally cumbersome to do so, we will come back to the board and tell them so," said Frataccia, adding the concept is not new.

Neighboring Gary Community School Corp. offers advantages to local vendors.

In other business, Frataccia reported 32 students are set to be expelled Tuesday for not providing sufficient documentation of residency.

He said that number is down from about 150 just 10 days ago. Of that, 11 are in elementary schools and 21 in secondary schools.

Assistant Superintendent Tom Taylor said he anticipated parents to be "in line" in the morning in a last-minute effort to avoid having their child or children expelled over the matter.

Residency is required at registration. Parents are sent notification if they do not fulfill the requirements until the deadline date. Frataccia said letters this year were sent via regular mail instead of certified, saving the district some $30,000 in the notification process.

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