CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Board of Education (WVBE) learned on Wednesday during its monthly meeting that Regional Education Service Agencies (RESAs) saved West Virginia county school systems more than $2.2 million in 2013. The cost saving were made possible through the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA) cooperative service agreement.
West Virginia’s eight RESAs have been part of the nationally recognized AEPA cooperative purchasing system since December 2011. AEPA allows counties to purchase items like instructional supplies and school related necessities like custodial supplies at a bulk rate. In 2012, the AEPA agreement saved county systems approximately $1.7 million. Ultimately, the savings can be reinvested in classrooms.
Meanwhile, the AEPA agreement also allowed counties to purchase more than $8.1 million dollars in items such as computers and technology related hardware and software, copiers, athletic flooring, modular buildings and athletic fields at a discounted rate.
“There is no doubt that the AEPA cooperative enables districts to leverage buying power for better pricing on products and time savings,” said Gayle Manchin, president of the WVBE. “RESAs should be applauded for their dedication to saving county school systems money, especially during tough economic times. Education dollars are shrinking so we all need to work together to best utilize education funding.”
Sales and savings have increased as an emphasis on cooperative purchasing has allowed AEPA to provide counties with a wider variety of discounted educational products.
In addition to AEPA, the state has paper, custodial supplies, food, milk, natural gas and petroleum based fuels cooperative agreements in place. In 2013, the WVBE approved a new cooperative agreement with the Texas Region 8 Education Service Center known as The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS). TIPS allows RESAs to secure products not currently available under the AEPA agreement.
In addition to facilitating among county school systems cooperative purchasing, RESAs are charged with sharing specialized personnel, providing communication and technology tools, leading curriculum development and professional development, computer repair and operating specialized programs for exceptional children.
For more information, contact Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Communication Office at 3040558-2699.