About WLS

Introduction

The Washington Learning Source (WLS) is a statewide program developed by Washington’s nine regional Educational Service Districts. The WLS website was officially launched in January 2007. Our mission is to provide a place for districts to choose products and services that meet their needs and create economic efficiencies through ESD collaboration and a regionally supported delivery model. This website has been created to meet those needs.

Background

For over 30 years, Washington ESDs have been providing a vast array of services to school districts for the purpose of assuring equal educational opportunities for quality education and lifelong learning for all. ESDs currently provide school districts with access to resources through the regional Instructional Resources Cooperatives, regional Educational Technology Support Centers, and other ESD progams. The Washington Learning Source was an expansion of the Ed Tech Support Center purchasing program serving as a single source to access the variety of resources available in enhancing education and teaching in the state of Washington.
  • To provide a single source for the educational resources currently provided through the state’s ESDs ensuring that all school districts have equal access to available products and services
  • To provide products and services that create economic benefit for schools and lower pricing than a district could get on its own.
  • To provide access to high quality learning resources and services to enhance learning opportunities and provide greater variety of curriculum to students regardless of their location.


Operating Principles

  • The program is called the Washington Learning Source and is managed by Puget Sound ESD.
  • Puget Sound ESD serves as the fiscal agent.
  • The Washington Learning Source Advisory Team is responsible for determining content for the Washington Learning Source.

 How it Works

The Washington Learning Source is a cooperative project of the nine Educational Service Districts in Washington State. Educational Service Districts (ESDs) in the state of Washington are political subdivisions of the state that are organized and operate in accordance with state statutes. ESDs provide a range of services to or on behalf of school districts and educational organizations.

 

ESD enabling legislation is codified in chapter 28A.310 of the Revised Code of Washington. Among other things, Chapter 28A.310 authorizes ESDs to enter into contracts and to provide informational and cooperative services and programs. ESDs, in cooperation with school districts, have explicit authority to establish joint purchasing programs. RCW28A.310.180(3) and RCW28A.320.080(3).

Puget Sound ESD established the Washington Learning Source (WLS) cooperative purchasing program in 2006. WLS procures competitive bids for technology software and equipment in accordance with Washington laws and makes its competitive bid available to school districts and other educational or public agencies who want to purchase technology software and equipment for the price and terms set forth in the WLS contract.

WLS provides the opportunity for a school district or public agency to avoid the costs associated with procuring its own competitive bid if the district signs an interlocal agreement with an ESD. This is reflected in the Interlocal Cooperation Act, codified in RCW 39.34. According to RCW39.34.030(5)(b), a school district that has entered into an interlocal agreement with an ESD (or another public agency) is not obligated to comply with the notice requirements in RCW28A.335.190 for bid solicitations, as long as the ESD (or public agency it signed an interlocal agreement with) complied with the statutory requirements for procuring a competitive bid and posted the bid solicitation on a web site established and maintained by a public agency or purchasing cooperative. Similar provisions are found in other state’s intergovernmental cooperation statutes.

School districts, educational organizations and public agencies are encouraged to review their own board policies and regulations to ensure they are acting within their own legal authority when they purchase from a WLS contract.

WLS Process:

  • WLS issues an RFP for technology software or equipment based on
    recommendations
  • RFP is advertised for no less than two (2) weeks on Washington’s
    Electronic Business Solution (WEBS) portal page at http://www.ga.wa.gov/webs/
  • All sealed responses are recorded and publicly opened
  • Responses are tabulated and vendors evaluated
  • Contract is awarded to vendor(s)

Note: Some products have not been subject to the competitive bid process. Be sure to look at the bottom of each product page to see whether or not that product was chosen by competitive bid.

 Why a District Should Become a Member

Membership is free! With a membership, districts will be able to:

  • Take advantage of products that have been selected by the WLS through the competitive bid process and not have to create bids themselves
  • Purchase bundled services provided by the ESDs along with products
  • Receive ongoing regional support in ESDs areas of expertise
  • Find tools, resources, products, and services that improve teaching and learning
  • Purchase products at prices lower than a district could get on its own
  • Access information about events and projects that lead to improved student achievement
  • Read announcements and time-sensitive information.