What School Nutrition Directors Should Know About the Keystone Purchasing Network


School nutrition directors face numerous challenges when it comes to equipping their facilities with the necessary tools and resources. From balancing budgets to ensuring compliance with procurement regulations, the task can be daunting. One essential tool that can simplify this process is the Keystone Purchasing Network (KPN). Here’s everything you need to know about how KPN can streamline your purchasing process and benefit your school district.

The Challenge of Competitive Bidding

Traditionally, school districts must obtain three competitive bids when making equipment purchases. This process ensures fair pricing and compliance with legal standards but can be time-consuming and cumbersome. This is where KPN comes into play, offering a streamlined solution that bypasses the need for multiple bids while still adhering to legal requirements.

The Keystone Purchasing Network

KPN is a cooperative purchasing program that saves school districts time and money. By leveraging the collective purchasing power of its members, KPN can secure better prices and terms on a wide range of products, from foodservice equipment to furniture and playground equipment.

Serving agencies in 48 states, KPN offers widespread access to its contracts. Public agencies can become members for free by filling out a short form and accepting the terms and conditions. As a founding member of the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA), KPN collaborates with other states to leverage national demand for better pricing. Membership in KPN does not obligate districts to make purchases through the network, providing flexibility and choice. Once a member, agencies can make purchases immediately under fully legal purchasing instruments without soliciting their own bids.

Key Benefits of KPN:

1) Vetted Compliance: KPN conducts thorough vetting and competitive bidding on behalf of its members, ensuring compliance with procurement laws without the need for school districts to seek multiple bids themselves.

2) Exact Equipment: Directors can specify the exact equipment they want, confident that it meets their standards and requirements.

3) Broad Range of Products: Beyond foodservice equipment, KPN contracts cover various other needs, including furniture, playground equipment, and more.

4) No Cost Membership: There is no fee for school districts or government entities to join KPN. Membership is free, and the contracts are non-binding, allowing flexibility for schools to choose whether to purchase through the network.

5) Bid Flexibility: Even as KPN members, districts retain the option to issue their own bids if they prefer.

Alto-Hartley is an approved KPN vendor.

One of the advantages of KPN membership is the ability to work with approved vendors like Alto-Hartley, which is recognized as a KPN vendor. This makes it easier for school districts within the network to procure high-quality equipment efficiently. Many Washington, D.C.-area districts already benefit from this partnership, demonstrating the practical advantages of KPN membership.

By leveraging the Keystone Purchasing Network, school nutrition directors can simplify their procurement processes, ensuring compliance, securing better pricing, and obtaining the exact equipment they need without the administrative burden of multiple bids. By joining KPN, districts can focus more on their core mission of educating and nurturing students and less on the complexities of procurement.

All school districts can receive a discount in our Alexandria showroom!