Four Jasper County schools have saved nearly $2 million on natural gas since 2000 by banding together with other schools in the state for volume purchasing.
The practice started when the Missouri School Boards’ Association formed a purchasing consortium to help districts stretch available funds. Since then, the Carthage, Joplin, Sarcoxie and Carl Junction school districts have saved a combined $1.88 million.
The Joplin School District, which joined the consortium in 2001, has saved $955,494. Carthage joined the group in 2000 as the first local district to get involved, and has saved $549,510. Sarcoxie has been involved since 2003 and reported savings of $191,180, and Carl Junction reported savings to $186,906 since the district joined in 2009.
The arrangement has been rewarding for the district and the taxpayers, said Carthage superintendent Blaine Henningsen.
“We are pleased to see the results of our participation in the MSBA’s consortium,” he said. “We believe it is important to look for as many ways as possible to save money and be good stewards of taxpayers’ money. Finding savings on these kinds of basic operational costs allows us to direct more funds on other priorities.”
Participation in the consortium started in 1999 with the enrollment of the Lee’s Summit School District. Since then, all member districts have been able to purchase their natural gas through the volume purchasing arrangement. The combined savings for the 263 school districts participating has been more than $60 million.
“We have found this program offers districts greater savings than they would obtain individually. In addition, it complements any energy management district the program may implement,” said Mike Parnell, associate executive director of member services for MSBA.
He said districts are saving as much as 32 percent of their normal expense for natural gas purchases.
MSBA, based in Columbia, is a private, not-for-profit organization that works to help school districts succeed. More than 390 school districts are involved in the group.