Bidding Process Caveats for Board Members

Charles K. Trainor

School districts in the United States spend almost $500 billion each year. A majority is allocated to salaries, but a significant portion of the balance is spent on services, equipment, and supplies. Most states have bidding laws governing the purchasing process for school districts. These laws are designed to provide protection for districts so that quality materials can be purchased at competitive prices.

Unfortunately, sometimes the systems designed to protect the expenditure of taxpayers’ money can be manipulated or bypassed. Board members must be aware of how the bidding process can be undermined. Fraudulent schemes can range from vendors delivering substandard products, to insiders steering contracts, to companies owned by district employees themselves or their friends or relatives. 

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