Looking to buy a MUX box? How about several tubas for your music program or perhaps even a couple of buses in your fleet?
BuyBoard can help.
BuyBoard is a Web-based cooperative purchasing program developed and sponsored by NSBA and state school board associations.
Joe Villani, deputy executive director of NSBA, led T+L session attendees through the features of the online program for school districts. Advantages to joining the national purchasing cooperative, said Villani, include saving money through discounts and saving the time and efforts of district procurement staff. “You can redeploy your procurement staff to do other things,” he said.
Villani used an example from his days as an administrator at a large district. The district wanted schools to link in with a county optic fiber network. This could be done, he found out, but the district needed to purchase devices called MUX boxes to translate the fiber optic signal.
“It took us another four months to make those connections,” he said.”We had to learn about them, write the specs, evaluate the choices, and defend the bid. If I had had BuyBoard, I would have gone online, see what it costs, order it, and have it three days later.”
Districts that become members of the cooperative can buy products without having to put out the products for bid. The cooperative analyzes and makes award recommendations for products and services that have been submitted for competitive procurement. All awarded items or catalogs are posted on the secure BuyBoard website so that BuyBoard members can search for and select items and order.
BuyBoard has a request for quotes (RFQ) function, as well. Districts can ask for price quotes on certain products and vendors will respond in a set amount of time. School staff can compare prices and also see volume discounts for purchases. “You can award it to however you want, and all of these prices are legal,” said Villani. “All have been bid and awarded to the vendors in the cooperative already.”
Purchases can be made 24 hours a day and seven days a week it works like other e-commerce sites like Amazon.
It does not cost money join the cooperative, but districts must be members in good standard with their state school boards associations. School board members also should find out from their district lawyer if state law allows them to purchase in a cooperative.
For more information, go to www.nsba.org/buyboard.