New Twist to Proposed Competitive Bidding Mandate on Schools

An interesting wrinkle has developed on the competitive bidding front.   Last Thursday (July 13), one day after a public hearing was held on Assembly Bill 307, a bill mandating that schools use competitive sealed bidding for school construction projects, (see previous post), a “DOT Reform” bill draft (LRB 3884/1) was circulated by Sen. Chris Kapenga (R-Pewaukee) and Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin) and others.  Included in that “DOT reform” package,  is language authorizing cities, villages, towns, counties and technical colleges to use “alternative project delivery methods,” including: “Design-Build”; “Design-Build-Finance”; “Construction Manager-General Contractor” and “Fixed-price variable-scope” delivery methods.

Under current law, a school board may utilize such alternative project delivery methods if it wishes, so long as it has not voluntarily adopted a local board policy requiring competitive bidding.  However, if AB 307 becomes law and competitive bidding becomes mandatory for all school districts, specific authorization would be needed for schools to use these alternative project delivery methods.

If AB 307 advances out of committee with a strong vote in favor, which appears likely, the WASB may want to have a discussion with both our attorneys and with Rep. Rob Brooks (R-Saukville), the author of AB 307, about adding a provision allowing schools to utilize the alternative project delivery methods being offered to other local units of government under the proposed DOT Reform package (LRB-3884/1).  According to the co-signer memo being circulated by Sen. Kapenga and Rep. Sanfelippo for that reform bill, extending these added project delivery methods to counties, towns, villages, cities, and technical colleges is something these local units of government requested.