By Melissa Delaney
Educators and industry analysts agree that purchasing consortia offer real value to their members. They suggest that schools and districts considering group purchasing do the following.
- If you're not a member of a consortium, call your state's procurement director and find out what types of discounts are available through state contracts. Almost all school districts can get cheaper prices if they take advantage of state purchasing programs because the states are bigger and able to secure better discounts, says John Kost, group vice president for Gartner Research.
- Start with one clear goal. The Greater Cincinnati Non-Public Consortium (GCNPC) formed around the singular task of getting discounts on tablets for the one-to-one programs in four schools. “You can have long-term dreams, but we went into this with one simple goal: to see if it would work,” says Keith Schaeper, educational technology director at Seton High School and co-founder of the GCNPC.
- Don't stop at purchasing. Take advantage of the programs, products and services available through consortia, advises Rick Everitt, program coordinator for technology support at the Panhandle Area Educational Consortium in Florida. Some groups even let non-members participate on some level.