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An ecxavating machine on a local elementary school renovation site, with the entrance doors in the background

New Competitive Bid Requirements Recommended by Senate Committee

The Wisconsin Senate Committee on Economic Development, Commerce and Local Government voted last week to recommend a bill (Senate Bill 236) that would subject school districts to statutory competitive-bidding rules for construction projects.  The bill, as proposed, would also increase the minimum threshold amount for all public construction projects – including school district and other local government projects – to require bids for construction projects with an estimated cost exceeding $50,000.  The proposed bill also sets forth specific notice and procedural requirements for public construction projects.

Under current law, school districts are not required to follow competitive-bidding procedures for public projects, except to the extent that a district may have elected to use such procedures through local policy or contract.  In the absence of any such policy and contract, school districts may use their discretion to determine which vendor or contractor will serve the best interests of the district, and are not required to select the lowest-cost offer.

Proponents of the bill argue that requiring public schools to be bound by competitive bidding rules for public projects will provide greater value to taxpayers.

The bill may now move forward to the full Senate for consideration.  A parallel bill is also pending in the State Assembly (Assembly Bill 307).

If you have any questions regarding the competitive bidding process or other issues related to public construction projects, please contact Kevin Pollard at or 262-364-0261 or your Buelow Vetter attorney.

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