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News

For Immediate Release
June 16, 2005

Illinois State Board of Education launches Illinois School Purchasing Network
Program offers savings opportunity to school districts

Springfield, Ill. –The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has announced the launch of the Illinois School Purchasing Network. The network offers all school districts in Illinois access to high-quality products at some of the best available government prices. The network was developed in response to Governor Blagojevich’s call for the State Board to create savings opportunities that help Illinois school districts.

“We are grateful for the work that Governor Blagojevich has done to provide historic education funding increases over the last three years. But, even with those increases we know that schools continue to feel pressure to find additional efficiencies,” said Randy Dunn, Interim State Superintendent of Education. “At the Illinois State Board of Education we need to do our part to help local school districts save money in their day to day operations. By launching the Illinois School Purchasing Network we will help local districts leverage group buying power. This initiative gives school districts one more option in their purchasing decisions.”

Through the Illinois School Purchasing Network shared services initiative, ISBE will partner with U.S. Communities, a national, not-for-profit, governmental purchasing cooperative. U.S. Communities has a proven track record of saving money for school districts, which represent 34 percent of its client base.

School district contracts through the Illinois School Purchasing Network are free, voluntary and non-exclusive, with no spending minimums. Because all of the contracts in the network have been bid by another governmental entity, school districts will avoid the administrative burdens associated with the bidding process while accessing some of the best governmental pricing options available.

“At Plainfield, we’ve been working with Office Depot through U.S. Communities, and the savings we’ve realized have been a big help to our district,” said Eric Trimberger, Director of Finance, Plainfield District 202. “To put it in the simplest terms, by working with U.S. Communities we’ve saved enough money to fund a classroom teacher’s salary and benefits for a full school year.”

U.S. Communities charges no user fees, and combines more than $500 million in annual purchasing power through partnerships with 8,000 public agencies representing 87,000 local entities. Products available include school and office supplies and furniture; technology products; physical education and playground equipment; electrical, communications and data supplies; janitorial materials; carpeting and flooring; and office machines.

“We are very happy to join with ISBE in bringing another procurement option to Illinois schools,” stated Steve Hamill, Co-General Manager of U.S. Communities. “Schools have become the largest users of U.S. Communities over the past three years, which we believe is an indicator of the value and savings that the program brings to the K-12 arena.”

ISBE has developed online access to the Illinois School Purchasing Network at http://www.isbe.net/savings. The website offers an overview of the program, contact information and instructions on registering with US Communities; the network is active effective today and districts may sign up immediately. In the first two weeks following the program’s launch, over 50 Illinois school districts enrolled in the program.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777