2009.04.22 Dudley Spade: School bidding

Written by David Green.

This year, our schools have a chance to do even more to help support Michigan's economy and put our citizens back to work. Under a new law signed this January, they can choose to give a preference to our local, Michigan-based businesses over out-of-state competitors.

Over the last year, I worked with Lenawee Intermediate School District Superintendent Steve Krusich and other local education leaders to develop and pass HB 5639. This bill gives school boards the authority to establish a bidding preference policy for Michigan-based firms.  I would like to thank Mr. Krusich for his work throughout the process and for his ongoing communication with area superintendents on this legislation. I believe our local media has also done an excellent job drawing attention to this issue.

Shortly after HB 5639 became law, the LISD Board amended its policies to grant preference to Michigan-based firms. Mr. Krusich also distributed the revised LISD policy to superintendents throughout Lenawee County to assist their boards in making similar changes.

School boards that vote to put that preference in their policy manual can take advantage of the new law, but the choice is theirs and they must act to take advantage of this flexibility. Unfortunately, it appears that at least one local school board has failed to make the necessary policy changes and, by their inaction, has done a disservice to local bidders and their employees who live in our communities. Let me be very clear. State law no longer requires the selection of the lowest bidder provided schools respond to the new law by making the necessary policy changes.


Getting the lowest price for quality work is important, particularly when we are spending taxpayer's money, but there are other factors to consider. The multiplier effect makes every dollar we spend in Michigan of even greater benefit to the economy. The person who lives and works in Michigan spends most of their money locally and supports the jobs of other Michigan residents. Their money also goes to local schools, the same schools that are contracting for new construction work and keeping folks employed.  If we send local jobs down to Ohio or Indiana, saving a buck on the contract does not help much.

I believe that keeping work local and using Michigan-based contractors are important. Please join me in urging your local school boards to swiftly adopt a policy for this spring's contracting season.

– State Rep. Dudley Spade

 

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

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