With a vision of cooperating together to improve their procurement power on like products and services, the Educational Purchasing Cooperative of North Texas (EPCNT) became a reality in 2002 through the coordinated efforts of North Texas public school districts. EPCNT is comprised of public school districts, charter schools, and Region Service Centers located in the Region 10 and 11 Education Service Center areas.
EPCNT is a Purchasing Cooperative organized under Chapter 271.101 of the Texas Local Government Code and Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD is the fiscal agent for this cooperative. It is made up of equal members whose entities reside within the geographical boundaries of Regions 10 and Region 11 as defined by the Texas Education Agency, have executed the necessary Interlocal Agreement and are current with annual dues of $100.00 per entity. While EPCNT is a Purchasing Cooperative, there is no agency that functions as the administrator for this cooperative. Instead, EPCNT is a CONTRACT SHARING cooperative and not an administrative cooperative.
Each eligible contract used under the EPCNT umbrella is issued and awarded by one of its members. Inclusive language accepted and agreed to by each awarded vendor is what allows contracts to be shared within the legal bounds of this purchasing cooperative. Procurement law compliance is a component of each individual purchase contract and not with the EPCNT Purchasing Cooperative itself, since there is no administrative board, body or agency that operates the EPCNT. To obtain compliance documentation, it will be necessary to contact the awarding district.
BENEFITS & ADVANTAGES
- The participating entity avoids the cost and time of going through the competitive process.
- All contracts are awarded on an annual basis. For the term of each contract, entities may purchase goods and services from awarded vendors whenever the need arises.
- Most contracts are annually renewable for multiple year periods.
- Lower pricing on combined coop requirements for like commodities and services.
- More vendors to choose from when utilizing coop or member district bids.
- Local training from TASBO and other purchasing organizations.
- Increased network of public school purchasing entities.
- Low cost membership to districts, $100.00 annual fee.
- No cost to vendors so no mark up on pricing to districts.
- On-going email network from members to members.
- Vendors with EPCNT awarded contracts have agreed to provide the best pricing, terms and conditions available to similar customers.
- If a vendor is successful at competing for an EPCNT contract, the vendor can avoid the time and expense of going through the competitive process for each individual participating entity.
- EPCNT does not charge any membership fees to participating vendors, so no mark up on pricing to districts.
FEES AND EXPENSES
An annual fee of $100.00 shall be charged or assessed Members and other Participants for participation in this Agreement effective on September 1 of each year.
EPCNT is based on the authority contained in the Interlocal Cooperation Act, Texas Government Code Section 791 et seq. and in Subchapter F, of Chapter 271 of the Texas Local Government Code. the provisions of Chapter 791 of the Texas Government Code and the provisions of Subchapter F, of Chapter 271 of the Texas Local Government Code are incorporated in this Master Agreement and this Master Agreement shall be interpreted in accordance with those laws.
DUTIES OF THE MEMBERS
The members agree to undertake the following, from time to time, as may be appropriate:
- Coordinate and host multi-governmental entity solicitations for purchase of goods and services from third party vendors, as may be determined from time to time to be cost effective and provide efficiencies as consolidated purchases.
- Make available specifications, documents, software, procedures and related items in connection with bidding and purchasing processes.
- Actively participate in and provide support to meetings and other activities conducted by theEPCNT.
- Maintain as confidential, subject to the Texas Public Information Act, information supplied by Parties to the EPCNT and deemed by the EPCNT to be confidential.
- All district or cross-district contracts for the purchase of goods and services, regardless of whether formed as a result of EPCNT activity or interaction shall be directly between the Members or Participants or combinations of the Parties and Vendors providing goods and services to the associated governmental entities.
- The EPCNT in and of itself, shall not have any authority to make purchases of goods and services directly with vendors or contractually binds its Members or Participants to any third party agreements (except for the Interlocal Participation Agreement described above) for the purchase of products and services GOVERNING LAW.
- The Master Agreement and all actions taken pursuant to this Master Agreement shall be governed by the laws of the State of Texas respecting independent school districts. Members specifically elect to be governed by the laws regarding purchasing found in Chapter 44 of the Texas Education Code and Federal regulations found in 2 CFR 200 and Texas Department of Agriculture ARM Section 17 as amended as well as any other applicable statute or regulation. All action of this alliance shall be governed by the laws of the State of Texas and venue for any litigation regarding this Agreement or the Parties hereto shall be in Dallas County, Texas.
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