PORTAGE | The Portage Township School Board has proposed a policy to strengthen requirements on any potential contractors bidding on school construction projects.
At its discussion meeting this week, the board held the first reading of a policy to establish responsible bidding practices and submission requirements for submitting bids to perform construction work.
The school's proposal comes just over a week after the Portage City Council adopted a similar responsible bidders ordinance.
School Board President Cheryl Oprisko said the board is expected to pass the new policy at its Sept. 23 meeting.
"We want to make sure we get quality tradesmen and women to do the work for the schools," Oprisko said.
The policy puts in place tighter requirements for a construction company to qualify as a "responsive and responsible" bidder, including apprenticeship training, meeting all licensing requirements, drug testing and providing any information on any violations the company may have been cited for previously.
Oprisko said the policy is in reaction to this year's repeal of the common wage law by the Indiana Legislature.
The aim, she said, is to prevent under-qualified contractors from outside the area to receive contracts on school construction projects.
"We want people who are invested in the community," Oprisko said.
Randy Palmateer, business manager of the Northwestern Indiana Building and Construction Trades Council, attended Wednesday's meeting to lend support for the policy.
Palmateer said Portage is the first school district in the region to support such a measure, but that he will be approaching other municipalities and school districts to adopt similar ordinances or policies. Crown Point and Highland previously adopted responsible bidding ordinances.
"We want our children walking into a structure that is sound and built by local contractors," said Palmateer, adding by supporting local contractors money is kept in the region.