Today, Senate Bill 688
was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Saukville). This bill would require that school boards solicit bids and award a public works contract to the lowest bidder if the the estimated cost of a contract exceeds $150,000 and the contract is for the construction, repair, remodeling, or improvement of a public school building or for the furnishing of supplies or materials. The bill was circulated for co-sponsorship back in late-October, and since then several GOP legislators have signed on. After being formally introduced today, the bill was referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation and Local Government chaired by Sen. Cory Tomczyk who is signed onto the bill.
Strategically, the bill also increases the threshold that triggers competitive bidding requirements for other local governments which groups that represent counties, towns, cities and villages will support. We will be monitoring this bill and will let you know if/when it is scheduled for a public hearing. This bill has been proposed in previous sessions and the WASB and other public education groups have opposed the measure on local control grounds.
For the full bill text read below:
SB 688 — Relating to: local government competitive bidding thresholds and requiring school districts to utilize competitive bidding
Introduced by Senators Stroebel, Felzkowski and Tomczyk, cosponsored by Representatives Brooks, Behnke, Bodden, Brandtjen, Dittrich, Moses, O’Connor, Rozar, Sortwell and Zimmerman.
From a Legislative Reference Bureau analysis: “This bill increases to $50,000, with an exception for certain highway projects, the threshold governing sealed, competitive bids that is applicable to a local unit of government. Under current law, if the estimated cost of a public works project exceeds $25,000, the state or local unit of government must solicit bids and award the public works contract to the lowest responsible bidder.
The bill also requires a school board and the board of school directors of the Milwaukee Public Schools to comply with these bidding requirements if the estimated cost of a contract exceeds $150,000 and the contract is for the construction, repair, remodeling, or improvement of a public school building or for the furnishing of supplies or materials.
The bill provides an exception to the bidding requirements for improvements that are constructed by a person other than a town or county and donated to a town or county after the completion of construction. A similar exception for donated improvements currently exists for improvements donated to a city or village. The bill also provides an exception to the bidding requirements that apply to school boards and the MPS board of school directors if the school board or board of directors determines that damage or potential damage to a public school building endangers the public health or welfare.”