Freeport School District Overpays Thousands for Cleaning Supplies

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FREEPORT (WIFR) -- Documents obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request show the Freeport School District has been wasting taxpayer dollars by overpaying for custodial supplies, like hand sanitizer and gloves, for years.

Joe Cardoso owns Fresh and Clean, a company in Freeport that sells cleaning supplies. Back in 2009 Cardoso wanted to start selling his products to the Freeport school district.

He took part in the public bidding process and won for multiple items. He offered the cheapest price for things like hand sanitizer and rubber gloves.

But the district never placed an order with him.

"A vendor that is local and has lower pricing available to the school not being utilized. Why are they paying more money?" he asks.

After sorting through purchase orders Cardoso discovered the school district was only purchasing cleaning products from a single vendor, and they were overpaying.

"That should make anybody who is not only local but a taxpayer and a parent, question."

For example, during the 2009-2010 school year the Freeport school district spent almost $12 a case more on latex gloves. For the entire 2009-2010 school year the district paid $1,755.74 more for things they were supposed to buy from Fresh and Clean.

"Dr. Roberta Selleck is Freeport's new superintendent. She looked into Cardoso's allegations that another vendor was getting special treatment.

"Sure enough there were supplies that should have been awarded to Mr. Cardoso's firm, that were inadvertently not ordered from him," she explains.

Overpayment didn't happen on her watch but she's cleaning up the mess.

"I can certainly understand how that would be harmful and damaging to a small business owner so our response is to make sure that if we're going to do a bid process that we're going to follow the bids and our vendors need to receive what they've basically been promised."

Dr. Selleck reprimanded the employee responsible for signing off on the costly orders. Fresh and Clean finally received its first purchase order from the District on Tuesday.

It's unknown how many thousands of dollars have been overpaid over the years, but the employee in charge has worked at the district since 1975.

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