The Winton Elementary School District board passed a resolution Monday that will give local businesses preference on future contracts there.
Passed by a unanimous board, the new board policy and administrative regulation will give preference to local vendors if their prices are within 5 percent of out-of-area retailers, superintendent Randall Heller said.
"If we can keep our taxes and dollars within our tax base, then everybody wins," Heller said. "When we meet with vendors from our local area, we want to make sure they have a decent shot at our business."
Heller said the district has purchasing agreements for some products, such as classroom supplies, with East Coast companies that placed bids that were simply less than local bids.
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The 5-percent preference will be good on all contracts worth up to $70,000. Coming within 5 percent of a major retailer’s price isn't a slam dunk for local businesses, but would allow the district to seriously consider buying with them.
Several other districts in Merced County have passed similar rules recently, including Merced Union High School District and Los Banos Unified School District.