At a regular meeting of the St. Charles School Board, members Dennis Naquin and Steve Crovetto said they think more can be done to attract companies to bid on school projects and drive down costs.
And one idea brought up by Superintendent Rodney Lafon is to advertise and extend bidding beyond the local arena.
“I’m just noticing a pattern that very few bidders are participating,” Naquin said. “I know it’s a tough market right now.”
Naquin believes that increased bidders would ultimately drive down prices, saving money and spreading the work out more evenly in support of local businesses and the local economy.
Crovetto said there is already more than one company that could meet the specs required by the school board for construction projects. He also said the lack of bidders is the fault of the school board for not doing enough homework on the issue.
Board member John Smith attempted to clarify what the board could do to encourage more bidders.
“When we say do more, I guess I’m trying to get a handle on specifically what it is that we can do,” Smith said.
“We already advertise for bids in the local newspaper.”
Superintendent Rodney Lafon believes it would be beneficial to extend the bids beyond local newspapers. “I definitely think we can widen the whole spectrum of how we advertise,” he said.
The issue is set to go back before the board at a later date.
To illustrate what is happening, consider this: Hahn Enterprises of New Orleans was chosen to work on “fitness stations” at elementary schools for $186,990.
The company was the only firm that bid on the job.
That’s in keeping with the trend of “little or no competition being found when it comes to bidding out school projects,” Naquin said.