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.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.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
  • Front.chat
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in 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.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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