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Cooperative Purchasing

Cooperative purchasing (formerly “piggybacking”) applies when one district purchases property using a contract that has been awarded to a vendor by another district. County Counsel opinion authorizes districts to utilize this type of purchasing provided that they comply with the following conditions:

  • Ensure that the originating district has complied with all of the competitive bidding requirements before the purchase is made. We recommend that you thoroughly inspect the originating district’s bidding process for compliance, or engage legal counsel to do so, in order to gain confidence in the legality of the originating district’s bid process.
  • The originating district’s bid documentation and approved contract must contain language such as “other school and community college districts located in [California or designated counties] may request to purchase identical items at the same prices and upon the same terms and conditions.” 
  • Upon receipt of the property, verify that it meets the specifications set forth in the original contract. 
  • When paying for the property, you may either draw a warrant in favor of the originating district or make the payment directly to the vendor depending on the arrangements made.

For additional information and minimum audit documentation required for cooperative purchasing please refer to the Accounts Payable Manual.


California Dept. of General Services (DGS)
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U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)
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Public Surplus
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EdBuy is a cooperative purchasing program operated by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA). EdBuy goes to bid on behalf of both County Offices of Education and districts. The organization uses the industry's proven practices to obtain best pricing on a wide range of commodities. EdBuy then provides several value-added services by asking users to fax their purchase orders (POs) to their clearinghouse for preview. For example, EdBuy checks for errors on the PO, and then records line-item data so users can be given periodic purchasing reports. Finally, EdBuy electronically forwards the PO to the proper vendor, while monitoring the vendor's compliance with the contract.