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HSD Considers New Process for Purchasing Items Less Than $15,000

At its meeting Tuesday, the Hazelwood School District Board of Education also heard the quarterly update of its supplier diversity program.

Pending second reading and a approval nod, the may soon have a purchasing process for smaller monetary denominations it said is more efficient.

The policy, which was first heard at Tuesday's Hazelwood School District Board of Education meeting, would allow for contract amounts up to $15,000 to be approved by Dwight Lindhorst, the assistant superintendent of finance and facilities, without initial board of education approval.

"It's just for practical things, so we don't have to wait around until the next board meeting before we can start some work," Lindhorst said. "It's really just a temporary authorization until the board gives final approval."

Should Lindhorst approve contract the board does not agree with and give final approval, a clause in the the new purchasing policy would allow the district to end the contract and pay for supplies and services rendered.

"If the (HSD Board of Education) rejects something approved, then we'll have a clause at the bottom that says that if the board rejects it, we'll pay for whatever work they did, but the contract is void," he said. "We just find it very cumbersome to not be able to sign a contract in between board meetings."

Lindhorst said the two-to-four week span in between meetings slows down everyday work.

"It not very efficient for getting HSD business done," he said.

HSD Superintendent Steve Price said this process is not uncommon for school districts, especially those Hazelwood's size.

"The very next board meeting after entering into the contract, we would bring it to the board for approval, and this allows us to not slow down the process for the literally hundreds of contracts we have come in for that amount, or less," said HSD Superintendent Steve Price. "That's not unusual for an organization of our size to do that."

Kevin Cross, director of purchasing and supplier diversity for the Hazelwood School District also presented the quarterly supplier diversity program report.

Overall, the district is struggling to award more supplies, equipment and professional services bids to Women-Owned Business Enterprises (WBE), but is exceeding its 5-percent goal for awarding WBEs construction bids with a 42-percent rate in that category, Cross reported.

As is pertains to Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE), the district is exceeding its goals for awarding professional services and construction bids, but is struggling to award supplies and equipment bids, Cross reported.

Overall, HSD spent $11,033,699 in supplies/equipment, $537,019 in construction and $10,452,664 in professional services, according to Lindhorst. Below are the amouts spent with MBE and WBE businesses.

Supplier Diversity: 2010-11 Fiscal Year Bid Award Summary

Goal Attained Dollar Amount Services- MBE 25%
26.1% $2,725,740 Supplies/Equipment-MBE 15% 8.3% $915,920 Construction-MBE 23% 33% $175,717 Services- WBE 5% 3.4% $359,366 Construction-WBE 5% 42% $224,951 Supplies/Equipment-WBE 5% 3.2% $353,508

"One of the areas we are really working on is the supply area to find MBEs to reach that goal of 15 percent," Cross said. "Typically, we try to find local businesses, but we may have reach and go for a national scope and see if we can fill this gap."

Cross noted a National Minority Supplier Development Council's NMSDC Conference and Business Opportunity Fair he plans to attend in October to seek more minority suppliers.

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