As education innovation advances, so does the frustration of all parties involved in K-12 purchasing due to out-of-date processes, poor communication, and difficulties identifying new opportunities.

In “The K-12 Purchasing Renaissance,” presented by Nicole Neal, CEO, Noodle Markets, and hosted by Lisa Schmucki, founder and CEO, edWeb.net, Neal discussed not only why K-12 purchasing matters, but how the purchasing process must be improved.

K-12 purchasing is not just about the purchase of a product—it involves many interactions to get to that decision. “When I think about K-12 purchasing, I’m thinking about all of the things that happen before you get to a point where you award a vendor or select a product,” said Neal.

This could include:

  • Identifying what’s in the market
  • Finding the right vendors
  • Making sure the product works with the school’s tech stack
  • Being able to evaluate vendors
  • Getting to the best price (although the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best)
  • Selecting a product and getting it into the hands of teachers and students

Changing What’s Antiquated

Rules and Regs

Neal also shared important lessons she learned from observing the K-12 purchasing process. For example, many schools and districts are stuck using archaic practices that slow the purchasing process down and make it difficult to get products into the classroom.

“Many of the current state procurement rules and regulations have remained the same for more than two decades.  I am sure that the lawmakers of years past did not anticipate that we’d be in the midst of a digital revolution,” explained Neal. “So requirements like mailing 10 copies of a 100 page RFP remain unchanged.”

(Next page: Getting teacher and IT input for K-12 purchasing)

About the Author:

Meris Stansbury

Meris Stansbury is the Editorial Director for both eSchool News and eCampus News, and was formerly the Managing Editor of eCampus News. Before working at eSchool Media, Meris worked as an assistant editor for The World and I, an online curriculum publication. She graduated from Kenyon College in 2006 with a BA in English, and enjoys spending way too much time either reading or cooking.