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Unions: Avoid lowest bid on EHS projects

Union officials and others in the construction industry are urging officials from Elyria Schools to take advantage of recent changes in state law that allow school districts to have more control over which companies are awarded construction bids.

Calvin Jefferson of Ohio Construction Coalition, told Elyria school board members Tuesday that the state erased a handful of restrictive guidelines guideline this year - guidelines that previously required school districts to award construction contracts to the lowest bidder.

The result of awarding contracts to the lowest bidder - the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission`s practice from 1997 to 2007 on all school projects that it helped fund - was a deluge of school projects gone bad everywhere from Cleveland to Toledo to Ashtabula, Jefferson said.

In February, the Facilities Commission loosened its guidelines and enacted rules that allow school district to now choose the "lowest responsible bidder" and take into account guidelines such as the company`s safety and industry training, experience and past projects and a litany of other factors.

Elyria school officials are poised to award a $470,000 abatement contract for the demolition of homes and buildings in the area where the new high school will be expanded. The bid deadline for that portion of the new EHS project was last Friday, though school officials have yet to choose a company.

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