About KPN: 10 key facts about us to get you started on the path to more efficient purchasing with cooperative contracts

The Keystone Purchasing Network (KPN) is a cooperative purchasing program. These 10 keys facts constitute the who, what, where, when and why about our program -- a short course about KPN and its many benefits to school districts and other public agencies.

1. We go to bid and solicit competitive, sealed-bid pricing, on behalf of our members.

Our sole purpose is to save school districts and other public agencies time and money by soliciting bids and leveraging demand. Cooperatively we can deliver better prices at a lower cost of acquisition. Occasionally, we issue requests for proposals (RFPs), but the overwhelming majority of our work centers on requests for bids, contract awards, and contract management.

2. We follow strict bidding procedures prescribed by law.

Since we are a public, education agency, we must follow bidding laws applicable to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

3. We get our authority from Pennsylvania State Law.

KPN is a program of the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit, No. 16. The CSIU is an educational agency established by a law passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1971. As a public agency, we derive our bidding authority from Pennsylvania state law, which extends that right and responsibility to local jurisdictions.

4. We have been around a long time.

We’re no Johnny-come-lately. KPN started its cooperative purchasing efforts in 1974, so we may be older than many buyers using our program. We use our experience to solicit better bids and award useful contracts.

5. We started under a different name.

Originally, we were the Pennsylvania Education Joint Purchasing Counsel, a regional purchasing cooperative started by the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit. We changed our name when our program became so popular that schools throughout Pennsylvania and the United States started using our contracts.

6. We serve agencies throughout the United States.

While we started locally nearly four decades ago, we now serve agencies in 43 states with KPN contracts. Each member agency exercises its right to use KNP contracts under the authority of their own respective state laws which contain language allowing them to cooperate with other agencies.

7. We invite any public agency to become a member for free.

While there are no fees to use our contracts, we require that you become a member by filling out a short membership form and accepting the terms and conditions.  Membership is free. Just to mention some types of eligible agencies, our membership is open to school districts, intermediate agencies, vocational and technical education agencies, charter schools, court schools, cities, counties, towns, villages, court systems, police departments, libraries, community colleges, universities, non-public schools, states, non-profits, and special districts.

8. We cooperate with AEPA.

We are a founding member of the Association of Educational Purchasing Agencies (AEPA) and cooperate with 26 other states on many requests for bids so that we can leverage national demand to achieve lower bid pricing.

9. We are located in the central heart of our state in Milton, Pennsylvania. Visit us or send us mail:

Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit

90 Lawton Lane

Milton, PA 17847

10. We work so you can buy immediately under a fully legal purchasing instrument.

After you become a member, you can buy immediately without having to go to bid yourself. We have written the specifications, advertised for bids, published the bid solicitation, accepted sealed bid submissions, evaluated the results, awarded to low bidders, and managed awarded vendors.

Successful purchasing cooperatives have unique information technology needs. Mark Carollo has specialized in an IT niche that requires a comprehensive understanding of technology, networking, ecommerce, database management, and social media.  He is the cooperative purchasing network and systems administrator for CSIU and has managed the infrastructure for cooperative purchasing for CSIU since 1997 after receiving his degree from Bucknell University. He has overseen major changes in technology and web design, while using his knowledge to consult on technology specifications, bidding, and contract management.

More Stories