JACKSON, Mich. - Jackson Public Schools has adopted a policy of hiring local contractors for large jobs, as long as the local bids are within 5 percent or $10,000 of the lowest bid, according to The Jackson Citizen Patriot.

The Citizen Patriot reported that Mike Sharp, president of the Jackson Commercial Contractors Association, urged the school board to adopt the policy so that local contractors can help the district pass a $16.6 million bond issue in November. The money would be used for major building renovation and upgrades.

The district already gives local vendors preference in smaller purchases, but the new policy extends that preference to larger construction services and contractors, The Citizen Patriot reported.

The school board approved the policy in a 4-2 vote this week.

Board President David Halsey and member Kathryn Keersmaekers voted no, saying the district should not lock itself into paying extra.

"I am all for keeping it local," Keersmaekers said, according to The Citizen Patriot. "Giving away $10,000 just because it's local is a real concern. I don't think this school district or any other school district can afford $10,000."

The Jackson Citizen Patriot, "Jackson School Board approves rule favoring local contractors," Sept. 22, 2009

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "Competitive Contracting is the Taxpayer's Best Friend," Sept. 5, 1995